Liz Edgerton, No. 2, heads a ball in Salem's 2 - 1 win over Pinkerton.
I can’t remember a time at Salem High School in the last 20 years where expectations were so high for girls soccer. Coach Kendrick Whittle’s Blue Devils mucked out a big 2 - 1 win in overtime last Saturday over the 6 - 2 Pinkerton Astros and then came back with another stellar performance Tuesday when co-captain Caitlin Peters picked this game to score her first varsity goal and it would stand up for a huge 1 - 0 win over the Londonderry Lancers. Evidently team leadership is big for this team, as it was Salem’s other co-captain, Courtney Russell, who gave the Blue Devils an early 1 - 0 lead Saturday in the mud at Pinkerton. The Astros tied the score at 1 - 1 about three minutes later when they converted off a corner kick and the two teams would go at it tooth and nail for the remainder off the first half and the entire second half without scoring. Liz Edgerton, Bridgette Klecan, Sarah Raye, Russell, and Cassie Chase came very close several times and Sarah Snyder came up with four big saves down the stretch, but the two teams went to overtime. About five minutes into the extra session, Chase blasted home the game winner for the rain-soaked Blue Devils as they swam over to the bus for a short, but very joyful ride down Route 28 to return to Salem.
These girls had to head to Londonderry on Tuesday afternoon and Sarah Snyder had to make three first-half saves off testing shots to keep this game scoreless after one half of play. Whittle has switched a few girls around in certain situations this year and one of them has been Peters, who sometimes moves up to center midfielder from her defensive post. Three minutes into the second half, Peters drilled home her most memorable goal ever as it gave Salem a 1 - 0 lead that it would never relinquish.
Co-captain Sean Stewart on the serve in Salem’s 3 - 0 win over Pinkerton
The four-time defending state champion Salem boys volleyball team made Pinkerton its 84th victim in a row last Saturday afternoon at the Astros’ Homecoming Weekend, as Jason Kinney, Dan Tiner and company rolled to a 3 - 0 victory. This is a junior-laden team that lost seven seniors to graduation after securing their fourth consecutive state title in the four years that boys volleyball has existed in New Hampshire. When Salem coach E. J. Perry sits quietly on the end of the Salem bench for the first two games before even opening his mouth, then you know he’s got a good feeling about what his kids are doing. Perry watched his young Blue Devil team go to Derry and spoil the Pinkerton boys homecoming match, as they opened up with a 25 - 14 victory before rolling 25 - 8 in the second game and then playing a lot of different kids in the third game before winning that one 27 - 25. The 10 - 0 Blue Devils got bangup jobs on the front line from juniors Dan Tiner and Jason Kinney to lead the way. Tiner had 17 kills against the Astros, and Kinney chipped in with 13 kills and eight blocks. Chris Barnes was terrific, handing out 30 assists, and Salem also got glowing performances from Sean Stewart, Jared Scali, sophomore Joe Gallant and C. J. Demarco.
The Blue Devils started off their week in Keene where they beat the Blackbirds 3 - 1 Thursday night to up their season record to 9 - 0. The Blue Devils took the first game 25 - 16, but Keene looked like it would make it a long night by winning the second game 25 - 23. Kinney, Tiner and the Blue Devils boys didn’t take too kindly to that slight loss and they won the last two games by identical scores of 25 - 16 and 25 - 16. Tiner finished with 16 kills and Jared Scali swatted away 10 kills while Tiner also served for nine points and Justin O’Brien came up came up with nine digs. The Salem spikers will be looking to up that unbeaten streak to 86 when they host Coe-Brown and then head to Oyster River.
Becca Weiss gets reeady to bump the ball.
Anyone who came to the Hackler Field House at Pinkerton Academy last Saturday morning got treated to a phenomenal two-hour show of top-notch high school volleyball. Undefeated Salem came to meet undefeated Pinkerton, being two of the top girls volleyball teams in the division. Salem took the first two games by scores of 25 - 22 and 25 - 17 and were leading 23 - 19 in the third game when Pinkerton coach Roger Konstant decided to take a last chance time out. He inserted middle blocker Kacie Connal back into the line-up and she was a difference the rest of the way. The Blue Devils had a couple of chances to end it, but Connal and the Astros hung tough and took game three 28 - 26. Game four went back and forth but Connal came up big again down the stretch and Pinkerton evened the match at 2 - 2 when it took a 25 - 20 win to force the fifth and deciding game. Salem senior Amanda Saab was a double weapon for the Blue Devils, at the net where she blistered 25 kills on the front line, and some super jump-serves that the Astros had a tough time returning. Both teams were knotted at 12 - 12 before the Pinkerton girls took advantage of two rare Salem miscues, and won it 15 - 12. Pinkerton raised its record to 8 - 0, while Salem dropped to 7 - 1. Salem coach Dan Young was very matter-of-fact about the five great games that these two teams played. Young said, “We had 52 kills on the day and 25 of them came from Amanda Saab and another 13 came from Becca Weiss. That meant that the other 14 kills came from our other girls and we’re going to be something about balancing that out a bit. Pinkerton is a very good team, and Spaulding and Nashua North will all be there at the end, so I think we just have to make a few adjustments like we did last year at this time.”
Earlier in the week a 5 - 1 Nashua South team came to take on the Blue Devils at Davis Gymnasium and the Salem girls swept all three games 25 - 18, 25 - 18 and 25 - 23. Saab piled up another 23 kills and sophomore Melissa Ouellet had a super showing with five blocks along the front line. Sophomore Sarah Scott continues to impress as she came up with 29 assists, and Young also got tremendous games from co-captain Weiss, junior Nicole Boucher, and freshman Kerry White who sees more time as the season moves on. Young finished up by saying, “We have four new girls on this team that play a lot this year. We have Ouellet and Kerry White playing up front, Sarah Scott just transferred here from Wisconsin, and Nicole Boucher is new to our team so we’re still getting used to each other. I don’t get really worried about a loss in the middle of the season, because I’m more interested in getting our girls to play their best ball when the playoffs come around, exactly like last year.”
With her 48 kills in her two games last year, senior co-captain Saab now has 483 kills for her 2 1/2 years on the volleyball team. Saab could get her 500th kill against Londonderry on Wednesday this week and that would be quite a feat seeing that she didn’t play volleyball her freshman year. Saab had 131 kills her sophomore year, 222 her junior year, and already has 124 kills this season and she could have as many as 12 games left to play.
Ethan Carr makes a save at Pinkerton.
Coach Tony Karibian’s Salem Blue Devil boys soccer team split their two matches last week when they beat Nashua North soundly on Wednesday 5 - 2, but they played unbeaten in the rain on Saturday in Derry and came out on the short end of a 5 - 1 score. The split leaves Salem’s team staring at a 5 - 3 record at the midway point of the regular season and that just happens to be four games better than they were last year at this time. The team was 1 - 7 at this time last year and they really started putting it together at the Timberlane game, as they finished the 2007 season with a 3 - 11 - 2 record, but these kids are a year older and a year wiser this fall. Last week the Blue Devils got two goals apiece from junior forward Brett Miller and midfielder Marcus Baldwin as they raced out to a 3 - 0 halftime lead over the Nashua North Titans and never looked back. Salem also got a goal from Aaron Mackey and eventually won this game 5 - 3 to up their record to 5 - 2, as goalie Ethan Carr made the necessary saves.
Last Saturday the Blue Devils had to face 7 - 0 Pinkerton in Derry on a muggy field and the Blue Devils were in good shape when Tyler Rutledge gave them an early 1 - 0 lead at the midway point of the first half with the assist coming from Miller. Pinkerton tied it at 1 - 1 two minutes later and would take the lead at 2 - 1 with five minutes left to go in the first half, but they scored just three minutes into the second half, and trailing 3 - 1, Karibian had to put added pressure up on the front end. Pinkerton took this game 5 - 1, but Karibian is more concerned about getting his group ready to host Londonderry early this week, and then get ready to win a game in Manchester against Memorial Friday night. Even a split here would put the Blue Devils in a great spot in the playoffs.
Chris Nagen breaks out for a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter at Pinlerton as Colby Verge of Pinkerton tries to make a tackle.
Salem’s young and inexperienced football team is getting better and better with every game and it took three long scampers by Pinkerton junior back Eric Guito to do in the Blue Devils last Saturday afternoon on a rain-drenched field at Pinkerton Academy. Guinto took a punt four minutes into the game and cut down the right sidelines 65 yards for the first score of the game. The Blue Devils would tie the game at 7 - 7 with just over two minutes left in the first period, when bruising fullback Chris Najem used a second, third, and fourth effort to barrel into the end zone from 13 yards out. The score remained tied until with 7:40 left in the first half, Pinkerton’s junior quarterback, Ryan Simpson hit Colton Desmarais with a perfect 40-yard touchdown pass. With just over two minutes to go in the first half, Guinto coasted to a 56-yard touchdown run that saw him head to the far sideline, get hemmed in, and then reverse field and sprint past everybody down the left sideline for a score that gave the Astros a 21 - 7 lead at the half.
Despite having the ball longer than Pinkerton, and out-gaining it on the ground, coach Jack Gati gathered his troops past the south end of the end zone at halftime and they made some adjustments that got them back into the game in the second half. Senior Najem and sophomore Max Jacques combined for 180 yards on the ground for Salem as they picked up 23 first downs, and sophomore quarterback, Matt Cannone did a nice job of completing 11 of his 25 passes for 123 yards, with five of them going to tight end Tom Tarallo for 70 yards. Gati was happy with the way his offense pounded out the yardage and didn’t turn the ball over for the second game in a row. Junior halfback Darren Brown busted in from two yards out to begin the fourth period, and when Corey Lavalle added his second extra point of the game, Salem only trailed 21 - 14 with 10 minutes left in the game. On two other occasions the Blue Devils offense went on long drives down the field only to come up short on fourth down, and Guinto put the game out of reach with 7:30 left to play when he went on a 36-yard scoring romp. Guinto finished the game with 105 yards on just nine carries plus the 65-yard punt return for a touchdown, and he came real close on another long return too, but Salem sophomore Dalton Carney saves a touchdown when he caught Guinto from behind.
Senior end Tom Tarallo had a big game with five catches for 70 yards, but he also made some big tackles on defense. Jharid Pratt, Vinny Manfrate, and Chris Jacques all played well on the line, and the Blue Devils have already set their sights on having a real good week of practice to be in good shape when the 3 - 1 Manchester Central Little Green come to Grant Field on Friday, October 3, for a 7 p.m. game. Gati liked the effort that his young team gave him last Saturday, but warned that it would take another big effort Friday to knock off Manchester Central. Gati said, “Central’s a tough team and we have to take care of the ball. They’ve got a real good back in Zocco, so we had better be prepared for him. We’ve got to get another big effort from our line, and our backs have to run tough again. Max Jacques is coming along nicely and Najem has been running tough, so we’ll just have to see how we execute Friday night!”
After losing 11 of their top 12 girls to graduation or transferring, somehow coach Carol Merchant has taken the Salem field hockey team out to a 7 - 1 - 1 start so far this fall. The Blue Devil stickers traveled to Merrimack this week and were scoreless at halftime, but senior Erica DePinto, (the only returning Blue Devil starter from last years 16 - 0 - 1 Class L champion team), scored off a pass from Taylor Healey off a penalty corner 10 minutes into the second half, and that goal stood up. Junior goaltender Jamie Klufts only had to make five saves, but three of them were critical because all came in the last six minutes of the contest. Merchant likes that her team is the only unbeaten one in Class L, but a makeup game against Pinkerton has been rescheduled until sometime later in the week. Leeann Vadala, DePinto, Melissa Higgins, Lauren Meissner, Carly Federico, and Katie Foyle did a great job at keeping the ball deep in the Tomahawk end for much of the game, as this team is trying to buckle down on defense as it comes into a tough stretch of its schedule.
The Blue Devils had to make up a game with 6 - 1 - 1 Pinkerton this week in Derry, then play 5 - 3 Manchester Central on the road Friday and then host 7 - 1 Londonderry in Salem Wednesday, October 8, at 4 p.m. After beating Merrimack last Thursday, the Salem girls were rained out of practice Friday, rained out of their game Saturday, and rained out of practices on Sunday and Monday, meaning no practices before a makeup game Tuesday afternoon with Pinkerton would be the first time this group had been together in five days. The Astros took advantage of this Tuesday and opened a 2 - 0 lead by halftime on goals by Jordyn Hamilton and Shealyn Testa. Astros goalie Julie Medeiros would only have to make two saves and only junior Chelsie Muldowney would beat Medeiros with a goal midway through the second half to cut the lead to 2 - 1. Pinkerton’s Devon Shea got the Astros two-goal lead back two minutes later to make it a 3 - 1 game and Salem’s offense couldn’t get on track this day.
Stephanie Bike, formerly the director of corporate operations for the Manchester Wolves and the team’s acting general manager, has been named general manager, the team announced today.
Peter Morris, the general manager last season, will remain as one of the eight partners in the franchise’s ownership group.
Bike, who enters her fourth season with the Wolves, has a clear vision for the future of the franchise.
“With the support we received from Manchester and the surrounding communities this past season, and with Danton (Barto) coming back as our head coach, I envision the 2009 season as another huge success,” she said. “The team’s ability to make it all the way to the American Conference championship this past season leads me to believe that the coming season will bring another year of exciting football for our team and our fans.”
Bike, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and Manchester Central High School, oversaw the advertising, marketing, sales, and sponsorship assignments for the Wolves in her role as the corporate operations director over the past few seasons. As acting general manager, she was responsible for all aspects of team management through the Wolves thrilling playoff run to the American Conference title game in 2008.
Bike started and operated a personal assistant business — “Those Girls” — in 2002 in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Before that, she worked for Maxim and Stuff magazines in New York City in the editorial, advertising, and marketing departments.
Bike lives in Merrimack with her husband Keith and their son and daughter.
The Wolves have also promoted Dave Hamilton from account representative to ticket director, and Dave Best joins Kim Laurendi as an account representative.