SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 4, 2012

Salem News 2012 Volleyball All-Star Team


The Salem News

---- — PLAYER OF THE YEAR

KATE LIPKA

Bishop Fenwick Junior

Middle Hitter

Talented, hardworking and possessing a great attitude.

Those are the three attributes Bishop Fenwick volleyball coach Adam DeBaggis uses to best describe Kate Lipka. The Salem News Player of the Year was the spark that led the Crusaders to a 9-1 mark in league play and 17-5 overall record this fall.

Known for playing her best in the Crusaders’ biggest games, Lipka came up big time and time again for her team. On 16 occasions, the Peabody native had double-digits kills in a match, including 17 against both Catholic Central and Cardinal Spellman, and averaged 3.7 kills per set.

A two-time Salem News all-star, the 5-foot-8 Lipka was ranked 10th in the state in all offensive categories this season. She finished with 254 attack kills, 73 total blocks (including a season-high 13 vs. league powerhouse Arlington Catholic) and 35 digs to go along with 16 service aces.

”She never had a bad game, ever,” DeBaggis said. “I’m just amazed at how consistent Kate was. She’s the kind of player who makes her teammates better and gives them confidence. She’s one of our best practice players, too.”

Owner of a 3.2 grade-point average, Lipka — who hopes to play basketball at Stonehill College — is forever thankful to her family for their constant support and motivation for helping her reach her full potential.

GINA ASIPENKO

Swampscott Sophomore

Outside Hitter

Big Blue captain finished with 82 kills and a kill percentage of 30 percent ... Northeastern Conference all-star ... The 5-foot-10 standout felt she played her best against the best teams Swampscott faced, such as Peabody, Beverly and Salem ... Weighted average in the classroom is around 100.1 ... Her father, who has coached Gina, has been her biggest influence ... Hopes to continue playing in college.

KATIE BALL

Beverly Senior

Middle Hitter

Coaches Award winner as a junior ... Was a big reason why the Panthers had their best-ever regular season mark, with 14 wins in 16 matches ... An excellent defender who specialized in receiving serves ... Has a 3.51 grade-point average ... Wants to major in business management and minor in journalism in college.

RACHEL GERSHLAK

Hamilton-Wenham Senior

Outside Hitter

Was named Generals’ Most Valuable Player ... Team captain from Peabody was also a member of the Cape Ann League’s All-League team ... Had her best performance in a home match vs. Peabody ... Parents’ influence of playing hard in athletics but also having fun has resonated with her ... Carries 4.08 grade-point average ... Would like to study physical therapy in college.

KARLIE MARRS

Beverly Senior

Setter

Captain was Panthers’ most consistent server ... Used focus and a positive attitude to help her own game and rally her teammates ... Guided Panthers to best-ever 14-3 mark and No. 3 seed in state tournament ... Member of NEC’s All-Conference team ... Favorite match was a big win over Salem, the first one in years ... Would like to graduate college with nurse’s license ... Brothers have been her biggest influence.

HANNAH MULLARKEY

Salem Junior

Libero

Member of the NEC’s All-Conference team for the second straight year ... Team captain led the Witches in digs, setting a new school record with over 250 on the season ... Had 35 digs in match vs. archrival Beverly ... Salem’s top server led the club in aces (80) and service points (176) ... Team’s offensive MVP as both a freshman and a sophomore ... Starter at libero since her freshman season ... Ranked 23rd in her class with 3.87 grade-point average ... Wants to study nursing.

GRACE McNALLY

North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie Senior

Middle Hitter

Captain from Lynnfield led the Bulldogs to a fine 12-7 mark this fall ... Named her league’s Most Valuable Player ... Team MVP as a junior, when she was runner-up for league MVP ... Participated in Title 9 Women In Sports Day in Boston in October ... Carries 3.39 grade-point average ... Had 18 straight serves in one match ... Plans on majoring in marine biology in college ... Says her lacrosse coach, Mrs. Lalli, has been her biggest influence athletically.

GIANNA PIZZANO

Bishop Fenwick Junior

Outside Hitter

League all-star was a force for the Crusaders ... Captain finished the year with 261 digs, 170 attack kills and 19 serving aces ... Had 23 digs against Lynnfield and 20 more vs. Arlington Catholic ... Says despite her team’s setback against Melrose, she was pleased that it made her play her best ... Carries a 3.85 grade-point average ... Saugus native says her brother Dario has been her biggest influence.

ABIGAIL ROSE

Masconomet Senior

Setter

Led the Chieftains in assists the last two seasons ... Also had the highest assist average on the team ... Topsfield resident was named Cape Ann League all-star ... Was able to come back and play remarkably well after having ankle surgery in May ... Plans on studying industrial engineering in college ... Holds 4.423 grade-point average ... Marathoner Mom is her biggest influence.

CAROLYN SCACCHI

Peabody Junior

Middle Hitter

A dominating presence at the net at 6 feet 2 inches, Carolyn used her athleticism and on-court smarts to great success ... Named Most Valuable Player of the NEC ... Guided the Tanners to a 15-0 mark and the conference championship in their first year of NEC play ... Finished season with 234 digs, 185 attack kills, 27 blocks and 21 service aces ... NEC All-League selection ... Fan of Bruins right winger Shawn Thornton.

LEXI SIMMONS

Masconomet Senior

Outside Hitter

Boxford resident was unanimously named Cape Ann League Player of the Year ... Had most kills, service points, service aces and highest pass, kill and serve percentage for the Chieftains ... Four-year varsity standout ... All-leaguer hopes to keep playing volleyball in college ... Ranked 55th in her senior class with a 4.4680 GPA on a 5.3 scale ... Says head coach Alyssa Schatzel’s encouragement, passion for the game and positive energy pushed her to be her best.

KIM SOUSA

Peabody Senior

Outside Hitter

Captain was a leader in every sense of the word for NEC champions ... Had 53 attack kills, including a dozen in one match vs. Revere ... Had 153 digs along with 22 service aces ... Said Tanners head coach Lisa Keene’s constant encouragement after each match was a huge influence on her ... Looking to study baking and pastry arts in college, as well as food management.

SAMANTHA TORTO

Pingree Senior

Middle Hitter

Two-time captain for the Highlanders ... Had 22 kills in one match vs. Milton Academy ... Two-time All-League performer in the Eastern Independent League ... Had a monster game in the EIL championship game vs. Dana Hall with several kills and blocks against the team’s top squad ... Averages an 88 out of 100 in the classroom ... The 5-foot-9 Melrose resident would like to play club volleyball in college.

HONORABLE MENTION

Beverly: Hayley Finik, Jr. opposite; Alex Kelleher, Sophomore middle/outside hitter; Kristen Abbondanza, Jr. middle hitter.

Bishop Fenwick: Jessica Ywuc, Sr. right side hitter; Tessa McLaughlin, Jr. setter; Jen Crovo, Jr. outside hitter.

Hamilton-Wenham: Nikki Leonard, Sr. libero.

Masconomet: Maddie Kelly, Jr. middle hitter.

North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie: Zoe Barnes, Sr. middle hitter.

Peabody: Olivia Summit, Jr. outside hitter.

Pingree: Bridget Healey, Sr. setter.

Salem: Kylie Thesz, Sr. middle hitter.

Swampscott: Josie Gray, Sr. libero.