Astro Spikers’ Title Hunt Ended by Salem in Semifinals

Nobody can question the fact that coach Colin Walker and his Pinkerton Academy boys’ volleyball team had a noteworthy 2014 season.

But the Astros’ promising hunt for a state championship ended up falling just a bit short of that goal when Walker’s charges were knocked out of the tournament last week by a Salem High juggernaut aiming at a 10th consecutive title.

The end of the 2014 trail came Thursday night, June 12, when the academy spikers wound up on the down side of a 3-0 shutout to the Salem squad in semifinal-round play at Nashua High School North.

Walker and his boys had legitimate hopes that they could duplicate the headline-making 3-0 victory they collected against the Blue Devils in Derry on May 27 as the regular season wound down. But it simply wasn’t to be in the even more important rematch in the tourney last week.

“We had difficulty getting on the same page offensively, and we couldn’t close the block on defense,” lamented Walker. “We were playing catch-up all night, and that is tough to do against any team, never mind the nine-time defending state champions.”

The fourth-seeded Pinkerton crew battled hard in all three sets, dropping decisions of 25-18, 25-22, and 25-23. But despite the fact that the Astros were able to hang tough against the top-seeded, battle-tested opponent, it just never felt as though the Astros would be able to manage a set win – let alone a match win – against the defending champs on that evening.

“It just wasn’t our night. It was the first time we ever lost to Salem in three straight sets,” said Walker. “Next year we will continue with the rebuilding process and look to go deeper in the tournament.”

The academy side received 20 assists from Kyle Heidler, 12 kills from Andrew Lechner, 13 digs from German Terrero, and five service points from Connor Holland.

The academy crew had reached the semifinals by disposing of the fifth-ranked Dover High Green Wave in quarterfinal-round tourney play in Derry on Tuesday, June 10.

The Astros bagged the big match win by a 3-1 tally, dropping set one decisively (25-11) but then winning sets two through four (25-22, 25-6, 25-17) to end the evening of volleyball.

Heidler led the charge with 26 assists and six kills, Terrero was good for 15 service points and 12 digs, Lechner labeled 11 kills and four blocks, Holland had nine service points and two blocks, Cooper Williams claimed eight kills, and Cobi Moore was good for 14 digs.

The Salem Blue Devils went on to beat Timberlane in the finals by a 3-1 margin to take their 10th championship in 10 years.