Patriot Community Sports

Salem Blue Devils Swim Team Earn a Split Against Nashua North and Pelham

by Tommy Gates

Jackie Mayo swimming for Salem and winning the back stroke.

The Salem swim team faced the Nashua North Titans last week and were narrowly defeated, but they came right back the next morning and won both the girls and boys meets to put the girls record at 2-1 and the boys record at 1-2.  Nashua North had the girls state champion winner last year so coach Missy Rowell’s Blue Devil girls were all fired up for this meet, but the Titans were able to hold onto a 94-76 victory.  Salem sophomores Jackie Mayo and Caitlin Shea not only led the Blue Devil girls with two victories apiece, but both of them helped two Salem relay teams get a first and a second in two other events.  Mayo took off and won the 200 Yard Freestyle in 2:08.73, and then returned to capture first place in the 100 Yard Freestyle in 58.28 seconds.  Shea was victorious in the 200 Yard Intermediate in a time of 2:18.26, and also touched home first in the 100 Yard Butterfly in a time of 1:05.44.  These two girls got together with freshman Angela Bleeker and senior Zoe Nikitas to take first place in the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay when they stopped the clock in 4:02.51, and then just missed winning the 200 Yard Medley Relay with Bleeker and senior Danielle Dickie when Nashua North beat them by eleven hundredths of a second.  Bleeker did win the 100 Yard Backstroke in 1:09.67 and took a third in the 50 Yard Freestyle in 28.94, to just edge out teammate Zoe Nikitas who finished in 29.93 seconds.  Danielle Dickie had a third in the 100 Yard Breaststroke in 1:22.90 and a third in the 200 Yard Intermediate in 2:34.28.  Freshman Michaela Duffy grabbed a nice third place finish in the 100 Yard Freestyle in 1:09.72.

The Salem boys put up a good fight against the Titans before losing 101 to 69, but that didn’t stop senior Mark Bacigalupo from making a few trips to the winner’s circle.  Mark had to come up with his best effort of the year to win the 100 Yard Freestyle when his time of 54.16 seconds was just enough to beat North’s Sebastien Piatraville’s 54.39 seconds.  A little while later Bacigalupo had another tough event when his time of 1:00.56 in the 100 Yard Backstroke was just enough to beat North’s Alex Hennessey’s time of 1:00.77.  Bacigalupo then hooked up with teammates Chris Foote, Matt Gaudet, and Dylan Endyke to take first place in the 200 Yard Medley Relay in 1:54.75.  Sean O’Brien joined forces with Blue Devils Gaudet, Endyke, and Bacigalupo to take second place in the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay in a time of 3:54.  Senior Chris Foote took a second in the 100 Yard Breaststoke in 1:12.35 and a third in the 200 Yard intermediate in 2:31.59.  Senior Matt Gaudet took a second in the 50 Yard Freestyle in 26.35 seconds, and a third in the 100 Yard Butterfly in 1:07.21.  Senior Sean Merkle finished second in the 200 Yard Freestyle in a time of 2:13.03 and a third in the 100 Yard Breaststroke in 1:15.10.  Dylan Endyke just missed winning the 200 Yard Intermediate in 2:22.24, Stephan Chau finished third in the 100 Yard Freestyle in 1:04.36, and Sean O’Brien earned a third in the 50 Yard Freestyle in 27.14 seconds.

The next morning the Salem kids all had to be back at the Salem Boys & Girls Club for a meet against first-year Pelham.  The Salem girls moved their record to 2-1 with a 128 to 24 win over Pelham.  And the Blue Devils boys beat the Pythons 108 to 13 for their first win of the season at 1-2.  Senior Zoe Nikitas stared Salem sweep in the 50 Yard Freestyle when she won in a time of 29.97 seconds with sophomore Melanie Forster second and sophomore Courtney Burns taking third.  Salem took second, third, and fourth place from three freshmen in the 100 Yard Breaststroke behind Pelham winner Kelly Maglio as Michaela Duffy, Marcela Trocha, and Briana Mullins swam very nicely in this race.  The Salem boys got great efforts in the 500 Yard Freestyle from Sean Merkle and Ben Forster as they finished 1-2, Sean O’Brien, Stephan Chau, and Dean Goodale gave Salem a sweep in the 100 Yard Freestyle, and sophomore Dan Givens had a big day also for the Blue Devils.

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Salem Hockey Is Edged 2-1 by Top Seed Concord, Coach McGinn Sees the Work Ethic Improving on His 4-4 Team

by Tommy Gates

Joel Vastl scored the only Salem goal in a 2-1 loss to number one Concord

Salem hockey coach Mark McGinn is never happy after a loss in which his team could have won, but after Salem’s tough 2-1 defeat to powerful Concord last Saturday night, coach McGinn had to admit that the effort was there from his Blue Devils.  McGinn offered, “ We only had 18 shots on them and only about four or five were quality shots, but while they outshot us 35-18, I would say that only eight or nine of them were quality shots.  Once again, Robbie Liberatore was outstanding between the pipes, but they scored on a couple of rebounds and we couldn’t see a rebound down the other end.  It was a case of us with blown coverage on their goals, and especially on their last goal.  I think our kids played hard; we only had four penalties, and the one thing that we could have done better is put more shots on the Concord goalie.”

Both teams skated very well in the scoreless first period, but Concord outshot the Blue Devils 13-5 but didn’t score on the lone power play they had in that opening period.  Salem defensemen Marc Baroni, Nick Barreira, Cory Lavallee, and Kenny Frazier were doing nice jobs of clearing the puck out of their own end for the most part, and the forwards were just missing with their passes after moving into the opposing end, or having the puck hit a skate or two.  Early in the second period, Salem senior forward Joel Vastl gave his Blue Devil team an early lead when he sizzled a shot over Andrew Proulx’ glove just a minute into the second period for a 1-0 Salem lead that wouldn’t last for long.  Just a minute and a half later, Concord went in and had a great scoring chance denied by Liberatore, but the rebound came out to Concord’s Jack Mullen coming behind the net to the left of the Salem goal and he stuffed it home to knot the game up at 1-1.  The Blue Devils did get a power play for the only time in this game in the second period, but they failed to get a shot on net.  Robbie Liberatore doesn’t surprise any Division 1 player or coach with his superb instincts between the pipes, and Concord coach Duncan Walsh said after the game, “Liberatore is one of the best goalies in the state, and he usually always keeps his team in the game.”

Three minutes into the third period, the Crimson Tide would collect what would be the eventual game winner, as Concord’s Erik Moore stole the puck and fed teammate Cam Hayden who beat Liberatore for the go ahead goal.  Salem had three or four scoring chances in the last four minutes after they killed off another Concord power play, and the Salem crowd was really loud with just over two minutes to play when Salem senior Joel Vastl was pulled down about 15 feet out in front of the Concord net with a penalty call.  The 2-1 loss to Concord gives coach McGinn’s Blue Devils a 4-4 record in Division 1 play.  The coach sees his team coming together and improving each game.  McGinn said, “Well, we are only thinking about getting ready for Londonderry right now.  They started slow, but are playing much better hockey right now, and we did beat them 8-0 in the first round of the Christmas Tournament, so we know that they will be pumped up.  We have lost four games this year and all four of them have been by one goal.  We lost 3-2 up in Manchester to West when they jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the game, and then we lost a tough 1-0 game to Pinkerton at the Ice Den after beating them 4-3 in the Christmas Tournament championship game.  We lost a tough 4-3 game to Berlin in overtime last week, after giving up a power play goal with two minutes to go for Berlin to tie it up, and now we lose this 2-1 game to Concord.  I’ve told our kids we have shown we can compete with the best, but now we have to go out and defeat the best, and the two ways to do that is by sticking by our system and to not take any unnecessary penalties.”

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Gymnasts Take Home Trophies

Phantom Gymnastics competed in back-to-back weekends in two Invitational Meets.  The first was on January 10 and 11 at the Winter Carnival Meet in Stratham where they took first place in Levels 4, 6 and Prep Op and second place in Levels 5 and 7. At Winter Carnival, in the Prep Op Advanced level, Samantha O’Connell of Salem placed forth with a score of 34.50.  In the Intermediate level, Nicole Faber of Salem placed first with a score of 35.5.  Anna Fallisi of Salem tied for forth with a score of 34.75, and Shealyn Redmond of Salem placed sixth with a score of 34.475.

The following weekend the team traveled to Attleboro, MA where they competed in the Snowflake Invitational.  The team took first place in Level 4, 5, 6, 7 and Prep Op I, as well as second place in Prep Novice.  In Level 5, Jessica Shatford of Pelham took first place in her division with a 35.5.

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Salem Girls Gymnasts Defeat Pelham

by Tommy Gates

Taylor Buatti on the uneven bars

Salem senior co-captain Leeann Vadala looked like she had it all going for her last Friday night where coach Ginnie Lavallo’s Salem gymnasts ran their 2008-09 record to 10-0 with a win over the Pelham Pythons.  Salem wracked up 130 points with co-captain Jamie Maffeo still out of the line-up, but as coach Lavallo put it, “Everybody else keeps coming through with the big efforts, and that includes our freshmen.”

Leeann Vadala wooed the judges with her near-perfect routine in Floor Exercise that got her first place with a 9.15 mark, but she had great support from junior teammates Shireen Kirata and Taylor Buatti.  Kirata nailed down second place with a dandy 8.9 score, while Buatti grabbed third place with an 8.7 score from the judges.  Salem freshman Giana Contrada drew a super 8.5 score for fourth place and the Theriault girls Jess and Christy also performed very well.

Vadala rang up a 9.0 score to win the Uneven Bars and Pelham’s Chelsea I’Anson took second place with a 7.9 mark.  Shireen Kirata got third place with her 7.7 mark, freshman Jaime Maffeo just missed placing with a 7.6 score and Taylor Buatti and Giana Contrada enjoyed 7.2 showings there.  I’Anson took first place in the Vault for Pelham with an 8.55 score, and Leeann Vadala was just a shade behind her in second place with an 8.5 score, with Shireen Kirata earning the bronze medal for her 8.4 mark.  Salem’s Brittany Fetzner had her best outing of the season with an 8.1 score, while Jess and Christy Theriault scored identical 7.9 scores.

Pelham’s Chelsea I’Anson took the top spot in the Balance Beam with a meet-winning 8.7 score, but three Salem girls were bunched in right behind her.  Vadala took second with an 8.4 mark, Giana Contrada and Taylor Buatti tied for third place with scores of 7.5, and coach Lavallo was very happy with back-slaps and high-fives to all her Salem Blue Devil girls gymnasts that had now run their unbeaten record to 10-0.

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Girls Basketball Rebound from Warrior Loss with Comeback Win over Bishop Guertin

by Tommy Gates

Salem’s 3-5 Blue Devil girls hosted the Bishop Guertin Cardinals Tuesday night, and the visitors helped themselves to an 11-8 first period lead that they stretched to 29-20 by halftime.  The Cardinals were obviously a joyous bunch as they walked to their halftime meeting room, but they forgot the old adage that high school basketball in Class L is played for four quarters and not just two.  Coach Liz Briggs reminded her Salem girls at the break.  Guertin got off to a 9-2 first quarter lead before Amanda Vaudrieul, Olivia Connors, and Kerry White all hit buckets in the final 1:43 to cut the lead to 11-8 entering the second stanza.  The Blue Devils were outscored 18-12 in the second period and trailed 29-20 at the break.  Coach Briggs saw that her club wasn’t having much success from the perimeter so they started going down low and getting the ball in the hands of Kelsi Record, Kerry White, and Jen Bujnowski, and they cut the Cardinals lead to 36-35 heading into the fourth quarter.  Caitlin Peters and Gina Righini were taking turns getting the ball whipped around to the open girl, and after only having two points in the first half, Nora Galvin caught fire down the stretch and poured in eight points.  Righini showed why this sophomore is clutch from the foul line by pumping in four straight free throws in the final 30 seconds to nail down the victory for her team.  Galvin finished with 10 points, sophomore center Jen Bujnowski had a career-high eight points and many crucial rebounds, senior Kelsi Record had seven with five coming in the second half comeback, Sarah Raye had seven with two 3-pointers, and freshman forward Kerry White had six biggies for the 4-5 Blue Devils at the halfway mark of their Class L schedule.

The Blue Devils girls basketball team didn’t enjoy your average day at the beach last Friday down at Winnacunnet.  Coach Liz Briggs Salem girls are fighting through health issues right now and playing the defending Class L champion wasn’t the best of remedies.  Salem went down to Hampton with junior forward Olivia Connors still out of action with a twisted ankle and injured senior forward Kelsi Record decided to give it a go for the first time in a couple of games but she only could play sparingly and still dropped in four points.  Ed Beattie’s Warrior team is for real and they ran out to a 39-12 lead by halftime.  Coach Liz Briggs was able to give most of her Salem girls a lot of playing time in this game.  Senior guard Caitlin Peters was Salem’s top scorer in the first half with four points.  Kelsi Record and sophomores Gina Righini and Jen Bujnowski each had a bucket, while Kerry White and Melissa Oullett added a foul shot apiece.  Things didn’t get any better in the second half either, but Salem’s highlight of the night came late in the game when junior forward Leonie von Schwerdtner let go a 22-foot, 3-pointer from the baseline that found nothing but net.  It was Leonie’s first varsity basket as she is an exchange student over here from Germany this year.  Amanda Vaidrieul and Gina Righini also hit three-pointers in the second half, but Salem dropped this game 80-34 and their Class L record sunk to 3-5.  Caitlin Peters led Salem scorers with six points, Gina Righini had five points, Jen Bujnowski and Kelsi Record had four points apiece, Nora Galvin and Kerry White had three points, while Sarah Raye and Melissa Oullett had two points each.

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Boys Hoop Want To Make Sure Class L Teams Know, “Don’t Forget About Us!”

by Tommy Gates

LaRosa dives and passes the ball to a teammate against Winnacunnet

Tuesday night in Nashua, the Salem Blue Devil boys basketball team was staring at a 21-11 first quarter deficit up at Bishop Guertin.  Josh Jones, Alex LaRosa, and Mark Adamson would start to heat up in the second period and that left the Cardinals barely holding onto a 35-34 lead at intermission.  Salem’s Mike Kimball also started sizzling the nets and Salem had the game knotted at 62-62 at the end of regulation, but their stingy defense wore out Bishop Guertin in overtime, and coach E. J. Perry’s Blue Devils were able to board their bus for a merry ride back to Salem with a 72-67 victory.  The win upped Salem’s record to 5-2 as Josh Jones led the way with 22 points, Alex LaRosa and Mark Adamson tossed in 16 points apiece, and Mike Kimball added 12 points.  Sophomore forward Joe Gallant only had four points on the night, but he came up with crucial rebounds in the second half.

Last Friday night, the Blue Devils welcomed a 3-2 Winnacunnet team to Davis Gymnasium, and the result would never be in doubt from the opening tap-off.  Josh Jones seemed to be picking it up just where he left off earlier in the week in Salem’s great second half comeback at Spaulding, as Jones would pump in four 3-pointers and would finish with a game high 20 points.  The Blue Devils tight defense was intact against the Warriors as they led 19-10 after one quarter and doubled that lead by halftime, enjoying a 40-20 cushion.  Junior playmaker Alex LaRosa just seems to get better with each game he plays, but he still had time to toss in five three-pointers and end up with 17 points on the evening.  Mike Kimball, who many say is the heart and soul of this team, stole passes, pulled down rebounds, dished out assists, but still sunk a dozen points, as coach Perry emptied his bench with a 58-27 lead after three quarters.  Mark Adamson, Sean Bergeron, and Joe Gallant all performed well underneath the Blue Devils hoop, as Gallant had a career high 12 points, Bergeron added six points, and Adamson had five points and did a nice job redirecting several Winnacunnet shots.

This Friday night, the Blue Devils will take their show on the road to meet the 3-3 Londonderry Lancers with that game beginning at 7 p.m., and then they’ll be heading to Merrimack on Tuesday, February 3 for a 6:30 p.m. game against the Tomahawks in hopes of raising their Class L record to 6-2.

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Salem Boys Gymnasts Enjoy First Home Meet of Season with Sweep of Andover and Lowell, Now at 3-0

by Tommy Gates

Nick Miles wins pommel and all around

Salem coach Ginnie Lavallo is doing double duty this winter as the girls’ gymnastics coach and the boys’ gymnastics coach, and she and assistant Steve Needham got some terrific efforts out of their Salem boy tumblers last Thursday night.  In their first home meet of the season, the Blue Devils were able to edge past Andover 138.1 to 137.65, and Lowell compiled 128.6 points for third place.  The double victory now gives this team a 3-0 record after they opened up with a huge win down at Newton North two weeks ago.  Salem’s junior sensation Nick Miles took the All-Around for the evening by amassing 49.3 points for the six events, to beat Chris Chu of Andover by a whopping 12 points.  Salem was at a slight disadvantage on this night as their No. 2 All-Around performer Sean Fallon was out of the line-up, but Miles started off his assault in the Vault where he wooed the judges with a meet-winning score of 9.1.  Miles took his show over to the Parallel Bars where his top-notch routine won with an 8.4 mark, and his buddy and teammate Dan Raymond picked up second place with a 6.3 mark.  Nick Miles had an 8.0 score to take the top spot on the High Bar and he picked up his fourth win of the night when he whirled around the Pommel Horse to the tune of 8.4 score.  Miles triumphed in the Floor Exercise with another 8.4 mark, and Salem’s Dan Raymond picked up his second silver medal there for receiving a 7.5 score.  Miles completed the sweep with a 7.0 effort on the Rings, and Raymond got his third second place showing with a 6.0 score there.  Raymond finished the evening with a super total of 36.8 in the All-Around, which was good for third place, as he just missed passing Andover’s Steve Chu by eight-tenths of a point.

Coach Lavallo was pretty happy with the two wins and 138 points, seeing that a healthy Sean Fallon in the line-up would probably have put them over the 150-point mark, but she gave a lot of credit to several other Salem gymnasts.  Besides Dan Raymonds’ three second place finishes, the Blue Devils got gutsy efforts from Dan Jeffrey and Joe Travato in Floor Exercise, Travato and D. J. Myers on the Pommel Horse, and Chris Barnes on the High Bar.

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All Girls, All Sports Day Event

On Saturday, February 21, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Sport Management Club is sponsoring an “All Girls, All Sports Day” event on campus for girls grades three through eight.  Join us for sport clinics, games and activities in the SNHU Fieldhouse on the Manchester Campus, which will be run by members of the SNHU Sport Management Club and SNHU Student-Athletes. 

Following the camp there will be lunch and a visit from Max, the Manchester Monarchs’ mascot with the chance to take pictures and get autographs.  Following the sport clinic and lunch, participants and their families are encouraged to cheer on the SNHU Lady Penmen at a Women’s Basketball Game.  Tickets will be provided to participants and their families and event participants will receive special recognition during the game. 

The event is open to individuals, groups and teams.  Participants should wear sneakers and athletic type clothing for this event.  For ticket information or to register for this event contact Corri Wilson at or Kimberly Bogle at or call 668-2211, ext. 3348.  Space is limited so do not delay.

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Several Winter Track Athletes Are Warming Up for the State Meet with Great Efforts at UNH

by Tommy Gates

Mike Marshall in the long jump

This past Sunday night, the Blue Devils had a multi-meet against Londonderry, Pinkerton, Bishop Guertin, Merrimack, Nashua North, and Nashua South, and they had many Salem girls and boys who excelled at this meet.  One of the finest efforts was that of Salem’s 4 x 400 relay team of Max Jacques, Corey Fitzgerald, Craig Fitzgerald, and Jared Garfield, as they won this event in a lightning quick time of 3:44.7.  Salem senior Mike Marshall was a double winner on the evening as he won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.7 seconds and then soared over the bar at 6-feet-4-inches to win the high jump.  Salem sophomore Malissa Higgins is the defending champion in the 300-meter dash and she won in 43 seconds, but she’ll be putting her title on the line again this Sunday afternoon up at University of New Hampshire (UNH).  Robyn Ciriello took the shot put with a winning toss of 35-feet, 10 3/4-inches, and when I asked her where her 40-footer was, she said, “I’m saving that for the State Meet.”  The Salem girls got two other glittering performances over in the high jump, where freshman Victoria Rozumek went up and over the bar at 5-feet, 0-inches, and just barely nicked the bar at 5-feet, 2-inches, to finish in fourth place, and senior Sarah Miller went out at 4-feet, 10-inches, but she’ll probably go up and over the 5-feet, 2-inchs height along with Rozumek this Sunday.

Salem coaches Ben Adams, Todd Seastedt, and Craig Robinson are certainly getting real good workouts during the weekends, as they try and get around to each event going on up at UNH at the indoor track.  The Blue Devil athletes are getting some spectacular workouts too, and that has many of them qualifying for the big State meet that is coming up in a couple of weeks.  Last week the Blue Devils made two trips to UNH for two different meets.  Monday the Blue Devil boys and girls squared off against Londonderry, Pinkerton, Concord, and Goffstown, and there were several outstanding efforts from some Salem girls and boys.  The Salem boys tied for third place with Concord in this meet with 57 points.  Salem senior Mike Marshall was once again a triple threat on the day as he vaulted 20-feet, 5-inches in the long jump, ran the 55-meter hurdles in 7.7 seconds, and only went over the bar at 6-feet, 2-inches in the high jump.  Sophomore Max Jacques buzzed the field in the running of the 55-meter dash when he broke the tape in 6.7 seconds, and Max came back to win the 300-meter dash when he stopped the clock in 39.1 seconds.  The Salem girls received two stellar performances, too, as sophomore speedster Melissa Higgins won the 300-meter dash in 42.9 seconds and senior Robyn Ciriello ran away and hid with first place in the shot put when she unleashed a throw of 37-feet, 9 1/2-inches.

Victoria Rozumek clears the bar at five feet

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22-0 Blue Devils Win State Title over Trinity - 2008 Class L Boys Basketball Champions

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