T.J. Hajjar, third-year coach of the Merrimack volleyball team, announced Thursday that four players had committed to the Class of 2017.
Among them is Jennifer Cain, who played four years at Melrose. The 5-foot-8-inch outside hitter was named Most Improved Player her freshman and junior years. She was also the team's Unsung Hero her sophomore year.
Cain helped anchor Melrose to a magnificent 26-1 record in her senior season, which the Red Raiders capped by winning the Division 2 state title -- the school's first in more than 40 years.
"Jen Cain comes to Merrimack with the understanding of what it takes to win," said Hajjar. "Jen has to be one of the most athletic kids I have seen in the sport. We are extremely excited to have a player who can do so many things on the court."
The other three girls headed to Merrimack are Juliette McCall (California), Jocelyn McLain (Colorado), and Tara Stuhr (California).
"I truly feel our 2012 season was a successful one as we doubled our wins from the previous year," said Hajjar. "With 10 returners and what looks to be one of the strongest recruiting classes the program has ever seen, I believe 2013 will be a great year for Merrimack to make some noise in the NE-10."
In volleyball, if a team finds your weak link, you’re in trouble, said Westboro coach Roger Anderson.
In the end, Westboro found that weak link.
No. 20 Westboro had its biggest win of the season, upsetting previously undefeated host No. 5 Melrose, 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-13, 15-11).
It marked the third undefeated team Westboro had faced this season.
Melrose (16-1) took sets one and three, but Westboro powered through three sets to execute the win. The victory came after two hits from senior outside hitter Juliette Lloyd, 15-11, in the fifth set.
“We went to our seniors when it mattered most,” said Anderson.
Lloyd and senior setter Stephanie Melvin had service runs that changed the game play for Westboro, but it was a full team effort, with 54 kills.
“We were just trying to take away [Melrose’s] strengths and did the best we could to slow down their middle hitters. It took everything we had,” said Anderson.
Anderson attributed the win to a better transition and first ball control.
“We were thrilled. You have to celebrate when you have big accomplishments like that,” said Anderson.
Melrose junior Andy Scocca almost had a perfect game Friday when he retired the first 14 batters he faced against Lexington.
The 15th batter bested him for Lexington's only hit of the day.
"He had a very good game," coach Bill Hirschfeld said. "He had good control."
Combined with what Hirschfield called "timely hits by the offense," Scocca kept his performance going, finishing out the game for a 3-0 win.
What makes this even more noteworthy is that this is Scocca's first outting of the year. He just came back from a foot injury sustained during basketball season and had not been able to join the team until now. Last season, he went 3-1 on the mound for Melrose.
Melrose improved to 4-5 on the season with the win today.
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