Zach Hichs pins his Exeter opponent in thirty seconds.
The Blue Devils’ wrestling team spent Saturday at Merrimack where they and 15 other teams participated in the Merrimack Invitational Tournament. Four of Coach Todd Oljey’s underclassmen came away with medals. Lisbon, Maine was able to capture first place on the day, but the Salem kids came in fifth place, which is a pretty nice showing. Freshman 103-pound Ryan Bolduc continues to get better and better with each meet he gets into, and Bolduc took second place and lost a tough match in the finals. The next Blue Devils wonder is freshman Zach Hicks, and this 112-pound ball of fire grabbed a third place medal. Sophomore Cam Yergeau picked up a third place medal in the 130-pound division, and senior Steve Comtois added a third place showing in the 171-pound bracket.
Last Wednesday night at the Davis Gymnasium in Salem, the Blue Devils hosted the Exeter Blue Hawks, and Coach Oljey decided to start the meet off at 140 pounds, hoping that a couple of his heavier weight guys could steal a match or two and be in good shape for when his young kids got their chances in the lower weights. It almost worked out to perfection! Herrick got pinned at 140 pounds, but Tyler Dietrich was embroiled in a great match at 145 pounds. Herrick was tied at 3-3 after one period and tied again at 6-6 going into the third period, but Dietrich came out on the short end of a 10-7 decision. Exeter came up with two pins at 152 and 160 pounds before Steve Comtois put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard with a 7-3 win at 171 pounds, but Salem trailed 21-3. Exeter picked up two pins at 189 and 215 pounds before Salem forfeited the 275-pound match, and this put them behind 39-3 going into the last six bouts of the night, which meant the Blue Devils would have to get six pins to force a tie at 39-39. They almost did it!
Freshman 103-pound Ryan Bolduc was up 5-2 in his bout before he pinned this guy 30 seconds into the third quarter to make it 39-9. Zach Hicks followed Bolduc’s lead with a pin in just 33 seconds in the 112-pound bracket. Exeter forfeited their 119-pound match against Salem sophomore Devin Deardon, to make it a 39-21 contest. Alex Lira came ever-so-close to pinning his 125-pound foe, but he won 13-3 for a major decision that cut the lead to 39-25. Cam Yergeau came through with a pin at 130-pounds with only 10 seconds left in the second period, to make it a 39-31 match, and Brett Pittera did everything but pin his 135-pound foe, as Pittera took a 13-2 major decision that gave Exeter the 39-35 victory.
As Coach Todd Oljey told us all back around Christmas time, “I don’t get too excited over dual meet records during the year. I just want to see our young kids wrestling well and improving when we start getting near the Class L Meet and the Meet of Champions. That’s more important to me and my coaches.”
After a halftime chat with his team and trailing 39-30, Coach E. J. Perry watched his team buckle up defensively, and then sat back and watched senior sharpshooter Josh Jones take over the game by himself. Entering the third quarter down 39-30 at Spaulding last Friday night, Jones went on to sink five straight 3-pointers which put Salem up 45-39 after three minutes. The Blue Devils turned the pressure up on defense and only allowed the Red Raiders five points in that third quarter, and they entered the final frame with a 55-44 lead. Senior Mike Kimball and junior playmaker Alex Larosa were also instrumental in this big comeback win which saw the Blue Devils enjoying a happy bus ride back to Salem with a 71-60 victory. Jones led all scorers with 23 points, Larosa pumped in 17 points, and Kimball sunk 14 points, but Coach E. J. Perry said there were several other players who helped out in a big way. Perry said, “I think we’re getting closer and closer to where I think we should be and Josh got us going in that third quarter. I’ve said before that he is perhaps the best pure shooter in New Hampshire and he proved it in Rochester. Kimball and Larosa also came up big for us, but Sean Bergeron had a real nice game with nine points, Mark Adamson and Joe Gallant also had four points, and those three did a real nice job defensively. Kyle Henrick came in and set some super picks, and Marcus Baldwin played very well. We’re going to need this kind of effort from our top nine to ten kids and especially this Friday night when the Winnacunnet Warriors come to Salem for a 7 p.m. game. I just hope we can get another real big crowd out at that game because it really gives our kids a special lift when they see the place packed.”
That win came three days after the Blue Devils had suffered their second loss in New Hampshire. Manchester Memorial came to town and let everyone know that they are for real this season as they took a 32-25 halftime lead and then blew it wide open in the third quarter when they outscored Salem 17-8 to ride a 49-33 advantage into the last period. It was one of those games that you might see once every 10 years because every Salem shooter suffered a cold shooting night on the night. Mike Kimball finally got hot late in the third period when the game was almost out of reach. Memorial went on to win this game 72-55 and raised their Class L record to 3-1, while the Blue Devils enter this week with a 3-2 record. Coach Perry ended the day by saying, “We’ve really got to buckle down here because this year you play the first two playoff games at the higher seed and only play the semis and finals at UNH. We’d like to get one of those top four seeds so that we could host our first two games, and I can see us going in that direction. If we can get the all-out play from guys like Sean Bergeron, Joe Gallant, and Kyle Henrick under the basket, and then get some big plays off the bench from Marcus Baldwin, Sammy Shields, and others, we’re going to be getting better and better, and that’s the way we did it last year, so I don’t see any reason not to think that these kids can do it again this season!”
The Blue Devils girls’ basketball team rebounded off that 50-37 loss to Manchester Memorial, but unfortunately had to do it without the services of starting forwards, Kelsi Record and Olivia Conners last Friday night. The Spaulding Red Raiders were in town to face the 2-4 Blue Devils and junior guard Nora Galvin would stay red hot as she was in Manchester last Tuesday night, as Galvin scored 14 points, with eight of those coming in the crucial fourth quarter, as Salem held off the Red Raiders 49-39 to raise their Class L record to 3-4. With Record and Conners out for this game, sophomore forward, Jen Bujnowski saw extended time and she came up big with six points and seven rebounds. Coach Liz Briggs still had senior co-captain Caitlin Peters running her offense and digging in on defense. Salem ran out to a 15-3 first quarter lead as freshman forward Kerry White was also making her presence known on the boards. Another girl that has been coming in and scoring and rebounding is junior Amanda Vaudreiul, and she’d toss in eight big points in this game. Vaudreiul had six of those eight points in the second quarter, as Salem left the court at halftime enjoying a 25-16 advantage. Junior guards Sarah Raye and Amanda Smigliani, combined with sophomore guard Gina Righini to press the Spaulding guards and make it very tough to get the ball down low, but The Red Raiders were able to cut the lead to 39-33 with just under five minutes to go in the game. It was here that Galvin put her team on her shoulders and proceeded to swish two 3-pointers and another lay-up to give Salem a 47-33 cushion with two minutes left. The Blue Devils took this game 49-39 with Galvin leading the charge with 14 points, Caitlin Peters sunk 11 points, Amanda Vaudreiul had eight biggies, Jen Bujnowski had six key points, and Kerry White had four. Coach Briggs expects that Kelsi Record and Olivia Conners will be back by Friday night when they’ll have to head to the beach to meet defending Class L champion, Winnacunnet.
Chris Smerdon scores the first goal against Berlin.
After just about one third of the regular season being played, coach Mark McGinn’s Salem Blue Devil hockey team sits at 4-3 after winning two close games last week. The Blue Devils came from behind Saturday in Concord to beat Bishop Brady 3-2, and last week the Salem kids moved out to a 4-1 first period lead over Manchester Memorial before defeating the Crusaders 4-3. McGinn and his hungry team is hoping that they can start getting the big crowds back out at their games at the Icenter, and this Saturday night would be a great game to start packing the place, because the Blue Devils will be hosting the 5-1 Concord Crimson Tide starting at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday in Concord, the Blue Devils took on the Bishop Brady Green Giants and fell behind 2-0 after one period. Salem had a rocket-like goal by Marc Baroni disallowed, because the puck went in and out of the goal so quick, nobody saw it. Right after that, Bishop Brady fed it out and cashed in on a goal down the other end about six or seven seconds later. The Blue Devils straightened things out in between periods, and Chris Smerdon cut the lead to 2-1 with a nice goal just 15 seconds into the second period, and Mike Frahm tied things up at 2-2 several minutes later. Senior forward Aaron Mackey continues to impress, as he’d collect the game winner in the third period with the assists going to Mike Rocheleau and Cory Lavallee. Coach McGinn was very happy with his teams’ play in the second and third period, and he also loved the fact that the Blue Devils only had two minor penalties in the entire game. McGinn said, “Our goalie only had to make six saves in the last two periods and I like that.”
Earlier in the week the Blue Devils hosted the Manchester Memorial Crusaders, and McGinn gave sophomore goalie, Chad Livingston, his second career start between the pipes. Chris Smerdon once again got things rolling for the Blue Devils by scoring the first two goals in the first five minutes of the game to give his team a quick 2-0 lead. The Crusaders got a goal back, but Corey Lavallee made it a 3-1 game a few minutes later, and Timmy Kingdon‘s goal gave the Blue Devils a 4-1 advantage at the end of the first period. There wasn’t any scoring in the second period, and Memorial did make a game of it by scoring two goals in the third period, but Livingston stopped 24 Crusader shots to come away with his second career win, 4-3.
Two time defending state champion, Salem went up against a couple of the best gymnasts in the state last Thursday night, but were still able to come out of it with a sweep. Coach Ginnie Lavallo’s Blue Devils put up 128.4 points, (which is their lowest outing this year), but it was more than enough to beat Spaulding with 123.6 points, Dover with 119.5 points and Souhegan who had 11 points. The 9-0 Salem girls had four different girls hit the scorebook for them, led by senior co-captain, Leeann Vadala, who finished second in the All-Around to Spaulding’s Kaitlyn O’Brien, who had 35.3 points to Vadala’s total of 34.2 points. Salem junior Shireen Kirata took third in the All-Around with 32.85 points. Following the meet coach Lavallo said, “Well, it wasn’t one of our prettiest wins, but it was a win, so I guess we’ll take it.”
Vadala took the top spot on the Bars when she whirled her way to a meet-winning 8.4 score, with O’Brien getting second for Spaulding with an 8.35 mark, and Salem freshman Jamie Maffeo earning the third spot with a 7.7 mark. O’Brien had the top score in the Vault at 8.7 and Dover’s Desirae Freeman was second at 8.55, with Vadala getting the silver medal for third at 8.4. O’Brien came back to place first in the Balance Beam with a super 9.15 mark, and Vadala’s 8.5 score was good for second place, and another Salem freshman, Giana Contrada took third place with an 8.35 performance. Kaitlyn O’Brien whipped up another 9.1 score from the judges in the Floor Exercise to win that event, while Vadala was right behind her in second with an 8.95 score, and Shireen Kirata’s 8.8 score grabbed third place there. This Friday night, January 23rd, the Blue Devils will host coach Amanda Iwanicki’s Pelham Python team beginning at 7 p.m.
Saints Squirt teams held their own against higher division opponents and had a 2-1-2 record for the week.
The Squirt 1 team played a complete game against a tough Winchester team. Nick Sturgess had another tremendous game in net, getting the shutout. The scoring was led by Justin Lamb, getting his first goal of the year, with Dylan Salvo getting the other goal, and assists coming from Jake Sylvester and Nick Storniolo.
On Sunday, the Saints Squirt 1 team played a hard-fought game, but lost to a one-loss Methuen team 6-0. The Squirt 1 team is now in second place in their division.
Squirt 2 defeated Chelmsford 5-2, with Michael Borrelli having his best game of the season with a hat trick and several strong defensive plays. Matt Bergeron and Steve Birch added third period goals, with Shea Kingsley getting two assists. Paddy Capsalis played a strong game on defense, helping to seal the win. They then tied Woburn Squirt 4 at 1-1 on Saturday, with Kevin Bolio getting the only goal, and Charlie Beneze and Steve Birch getting the assists. It was a well-played game by both teams and fine goaltending by Ryan Letourneau. Rounding out a busy week for the Saint Squirt 2 team was a 4-4 tie against Andover.
Kevin Bolio, Stephen Birch, Ryan Letourneau