Lauren Mazzoleni in from the bench to play goal
The Salem girls soccer team suffered their first loss of the season last week when the 5-1 Manchester Central Little Green beat them 5 - 0, but they bounced right back three days later when Sara Snyder and the Blue Devil defense tossed a shutout at West, in Manchester, and Bridgette Klecan picked a great afternoon to rifle in her first goal of the season. Manchester Central has a very talented and well-balanced team, and although the Salem defense did play well in the first half of last week’s game, the Little Green were able to place two perfect goals over the head of Sara Snyder to take a 2 - 0 lead at halftime. Oddly enough, it was the blue Devils who had the better of the scoring chances in that opening half, as Cassie Chase, Sarah Raye, Amanda Vuadreuil, and Courtney Russell had close-in scoring chances that were made possible because of their hustle and hard work.
At the beginning of the second half, Central made it 3 - 0 about 11 minutes in and then they got their sloppiest goal of the game to make it 4 - 0. A short time later they made it 5 – 0, and Salem coach Kendrick Whittle inserted sophomore Lauren Mazzoleni in goal. Mazzoleni played the final 20 minutes and made eight saves while not allowing a goal.
This hustling bunch of girls don’t get down for long though, as they showed Friday when they boarded their bus for the Queen City and a big battle against the Manchester West Blue Knights. Snyder came back to pitch a shutout, and Salem only needed Bridgette Klecan’s first goal of the year to raise their Class L record to 4-1-1. These Salem girls should be 5-1-1 in the middle of this week after they visit Nashua North, and then they’ll take on 4-1 Pinkerton this Saturday, September 27, beginning at noon at the Astros Homecoming Weekend.
Amanda Saab spikes one back
Dan Young’s Salem girls volleyball team got a stiff test last Wednesday night when the Winnacunnet Warriors rolled into town, but his team answered the call when they had to. The Blue Devil girls got a 3 - 0 sweep, winning 25 - 22, 25 - 22, and 25 - 23. The Salem girls then rolled over Concord by scores of 25 - 20, 25 - 12, and 25 - 9, then made quick work of Bishop Guertin Monday night by clipping the Cardinals in three straight 25 - 13, 25 - 10, and 25 - 9. Those three wins put Salem atop of the Division I standings with a 6 - 0 record as we approach the halfway mark of the regular season.
Senior Amanda Saab is still a problem for opposing teams as a middle hitter, but she also kills the opposition with her jump serves that other teams have trouble returning. The Warriors looked as if they they might steal the first game as they led 17 - 12 going into the later stages, but Saab (14 kills), Becca Weiss, some big serves by Casey Peters 18 service points and nine aces) and a bundle of assists by Sarah Scott (24) brought Salem back to take a 22 - 20 lead and win 25 - 22. The next game also was a seesaw battle with Salem coming through just before the buzzer and the third game followed the same path before the girls signaled “lights out” for Winnacunnet.
The Blue Devils didn’t have much of a problem in Concord Friday night. Saab led with 13 kills and nine blocks, while junior Nicole Boucher helped out with seven kills. Erica Tilton was all over the floor, coming through with 17 digs, Scott added 21 assists, and Kim Wilbur-Kamien served for 12 points on the evening. The Salem girls raised their record to 6 - 0 Monday night when the 4 - 1 Bishop Guertin Cardinals came to Davis Gymnasium. Saab showed everyone she is a multi-dimensional player as she had seven kills up on the front lines, had another five blocks, and served for a dozen points with five of them aces. In short, Saab did everything but serve popcorn at halftime. Weiss had another great night with five kills and 17 service points (with five being aces), and she also had 14 digs. Melissa Ouellet chipped in with six blocks at the net, as coach Young gave his bench plenty of playing time. Salem was scheduled to host Nashua South earlier this week before meeting the Pinkerton Astros at 9 a.m. Saturday, September 27. Those two matches should be good tests for the Blue Devils before they play at Hollis/Brookline Monday night.
Chelsie Muldowney defendes the 18-yard box.
At the midway point of he regular season in Class L field hockey, some coaches are stunned that the only unbeaten team in the division is the defending three-time champion, Salem Blue Devils. Salem has a 6 - 0 - 1 record and has some real tough games coming down the stretch, but none will be tougher than this Saturday’s meeting in Derry at 9 a.m. with the Pinkerton Astros.
Salem coach Carol Merchant saw her Blue Devil stickers win two games when they went to Stellos Stadium in Nashua on Thursday and beat the Nashua South Panthers 10 - 3, and then clipped the Keene Blackbirds 4 - 1 Friday afternoon in Salem. While other coaches might have been happy winning two games by a combined score of 14 - 4, Merchant couldn’t be seen doing cartwheels on her way to the bus. It certainly appears that the Blue Devils’ front line of Nicole Rozumek, Taylor Healey, Chelsie Muldowney and Jenn Azarian, (along with Ashlynn Moerloos), is getting better acquainted with playing with each other and knowing where their teammates are going to be.
Thursday in Nashua, the Salem girls took a couple of minutes to get settled before senior forward Jenn Azarian tucked one in from the far left post to give her team a 1 - 0 lead. Two minutes later it was Muldowney’s turn to stuff one past the Panther goalie, and two minutes after that it was Azarian again lighting the lamp for a 3 - 0 lead that only saw the ball over into the Blue Devil end of the field one time! Senior forward Rozumek took over for the next six minutes and she fired in two goals to give her team a 5 - 0 cushion with five and a half minutes to go in the first half, but somebody must have fallen asleep for a minute, because that’s all Nashua South needed to score two long breakaway goals. After the second Nashua goal, Merchant walked onto the field and asked the official for a time out, and she did not look the least bit happy. Needless to say the Blue Devil defense picked up from there and played pretty well for the rest of the game. Salem would add five more goals in the second half, even though Merchant had emptied her bench and had played all the girls. Muldowney added three more goals in the second half, Azarian scored her third goal of the game, and midfielder Erica DePinto picked up her first goal of the season, as Salem routed Nashua South 10 - 3. Salem junior goalie Jamie Klufts, only had to make two saves in the game, while midfielders DePinto, Leeann Vadala, Melissa Higgins, Carly Federico, and Lauren Meissner all played well.
The Keene Blackbirds next came to Salem and Azarian gave them the same special treatment that she gave Nashua South, scoring right off the bat to give the Blue Devils a 1 - 0 edge. Ashlynn Moerloos followed that up with a goal of her own, and the Blue Devils led 2 - 0. Keene scored to make it 2 - 1, but Rozumek made up for that with a quick second half goal, and Moerloos added her second goal of the game to give the Blue Devils the 4 - 1 decision. Salem was scheduled to play at Merrimack earlier this week, before battling Pinkerton on Saturday at 9 a.m. in what could be a pre-playoff look at the Class L finals in a month.
It took 37 long years to come around, but last Friday night coach Jack Gati’s Blue Devil football team broke a long-standing school record for points scored in a game when Chris Hale recovered a Memorial fumble in the end zone, with no time remaining, to give Salem a 65 - 20 victory over the Manchester Memorial Crusaders. Salem had a very serious week of practice, because coach Gati didn’t want to see his young group fumble the ball away on four occasions like they did the previous week in Londonderry. The Blue Devils also had a little test trying to stop Crusader quarterback Chris Hines and the Memorial offense early, as they took the opening kickoff and pranced 70 yards in 12 plays and scored when Hines hit paydirt from seven yards out. Following a missed extra point, the Crusaders led 6 - 0, but Salem came right back down the field and scored nine plays later when quarterback Matt Cannone pitched out to sophomore back Max Jacques, and he darted 27 yards for the tying touchdown with 1:51 left in the opening quarter, as Salem missed their extra point to knot it all up at 6 - 6. It looked like Memorial would come right back down the field and score, but Salem’s defense stuffed them on a fourth down at their own 33-yard line. Jacques, Chris Najem, and Kyle Kinney all broke off long runs to the Crusader 30-yard line, before Najem zipped into the end zone to put Salem ahead for good with 8:54 left in the first half. Cannone ran in the two-point conversion and Salem led 14-6. Salem got the ball right back deep in Memorial territory when Kinney recovered a fumble on the kickoff return at Memorial’s 19-yard line. Four plays later, Kinney busted into the end zone from a yard out, and Matt Cannon hit Darren Brown with a two-point pass to up their lead to 22 - 6 with 7:15 left in the half. With 4:13 left in the first half, Cannon fired his first touchdown pass of the night to Cory Lavallee and it went for 51 yards, and when Max Jacques ran in the two-point conversion, the Blue Devils had stretched their lead to 30 - 6. The Crusaders cut the lead to 30 - 14 with a minute left in the first half, when a bad snap from center sailed over the punters head and was recovered by the Crusaders and they got the two-point pass for a 30 - 14 Salem lead. Matt Cannon wasn’t done yet as Salem took the ball to the Crusader 40-yard line following a 15-yard run by Jacques, and Cannone then hooked up with Lavallee on a 40-yard scoring aerial with three seconds left on the clock. Salem took their 36 - 14 lead into the locker room and didn’t miss a beat starting off the third quarter, as they marched right down the field and Najem scored from eight yards out, and Cannone hit Brown again for the two-point pass that gave the Blue Devils a 44 - 14 lead with just under 10 minutes left in the third period.
The Crusaders and Hines wouldn’t give up though as he took the field down the field and tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to Domingo Cruz to make it a 44 - 20 game. Najem ran wild in the third quarter and he put this one out of rack when he scored his third touchdown of the game from four yards and ran in the two points for a 52 - 20 lead with six minutes left in the third frame. Junior back Rob Mairs scored his first varsity touchdown from two yards out, and Cory Lavallee kicked the extra point with no time left in the third period to make it a 59 - 20 game, and junior Chris Hale recovered a fumble in the end zone with no time left on the clock for the 65 - 20 final.
Coach Jack Gati was happy for his Salem kids after the game, saying, “We challenged our backs to step up and they did. We were killing ourselves with fumbles and we took care of business today. We’ll hopefully have another good week of practice this week, because we play Pinkerton in Derry next Saturday and they have all their injured players back, so we had better be sharp. Our blocking up front was much better, and the kids were all working hard to improve each week.”
Coach Craig Robinson’s Salem girls cross-country team split with four teams last week at Derryfield Park in Manchester as Pinkerton won the multi-team meet with 23 points as they had seven girls finish in the top 10. Manchester Memorial came in second with 66 points as it had the fourth- and ninth-place finishers, but Salem came in third with 83 points and mostly on the strength of Stephanie Cabral’s eye-opening performance.
Cabral took off at the starting line of the 3.1-mile race and disappeared into the woods all by herself. Cabral won this race in 20:26 with nobody even close to push her. Pinkerton’s Cayla Pellagrini came in second in 21:07, a whole 43 seconds behind Cabral. Cabral just decided to take up cross country in the fall to stay in shape for softball season, where she pitches and plays third base for the Blue Devil softball team. Merrimack finished in fourth place in this meet with 90 points and the Timberlane Owls were last with 113 points. This team will run in the Manchester Invitational Saturday, September 27, starting at 10 a.m. and the Blue Devils only home meet of the season will take place Tuesday, October 14, beginning at 4 p.m.
Billy Smart is congratulated by his teamates after scoring the only goal against Manchester West.
Salem boys soccer coach Tony Karibian has had to make many gutsy calls over the past eight years, but the one he made last Friday afternoon might have been his best one yet. The Blue Devils had just lost a 2 - 1 heartbreaker to Manchester Central in Manchester two days before and entered Friday afternoon’s contest with Manchester West, with a 3 - 2 record. Salem was playing a terrific two-way game, but they were either just missing a foot wide of the net, or just a foot high on another couple of occasions. Brett Miller, Mike Abi-Aad, and Peter Ventrone were getting their scoring chances as they usually do, but Karibian decided to ask JV coach Dennis Hajjar if he could use sophomore forward Billy Smart for his game. Smart was easy to find, as he was the only Salem player with red shoes, but with only six minutes left to play in a scoreless game, Brett Miller found an open Smart and he drilled into the back of the Blue Knight goal for the only score of the game. It was only two minutes earlier that Superintendent of Schools Mike Delahanty (who was standing next to me), murmured, “We’ve got to get a goal here, this game would be a big one for us.” Following the two teams exchanging hand shakes at the end of the game, Karibian could be seen smiling like a Cheshire cat as his kids swarmed Smart and had a joyful stroll back to the Blue Devil locker room.
Salem had played an equally gutsy game in Manchester where Central’s Mirsa Salihovic scored a goal with seven minutes left to go before halftime, to give the Little Green a slight 1 - 0 lead that they would hold onto until Salem’s Miller tied it up at 1 - 1, 12 minutes into the second half when he converted a super pass from Abi-Aad. Salem received some humongous saves from Ethan Carr in this match, as he ended the night with 13 saves, but they got tremendous efforts from Marcus Baldwin, Josh Richard, Aaron Mackey, and Nick LaRochelle as the two teams headed into overtime. Central’s Yannick Kabala won it for the Little Green when he scored six minutes into the extra period, with the assist going to Brian Martinez. The Blue Devils were scheduled to host Nashua North in the middle of the week and then get ready to take on a 6 - 0 Pinkerton team in Derry Saturday, September 27, at noon.