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Salem's Olivia Burke drives the ball against Merrimack during NHIAA Division I Vollyball Semifinals at Pinkerton Academy Tuesday in Derry. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

Semifinals

Salem, Dover power into state volleyball final


DERRY — The Salem High girls put themselves in good position to defend their state Division I volleyball title.

Salem, the No. 3 seed in this year’s tournament, beat No. 2 seed Merrimack 3-1 in a semifinal on Tuesday night at Pinkerton Academy. The Blue Devils will meet Dover, which beat Alvirne of Hudson 3-1 in the other semi, in Saturday’s title match (7 p.m.) at Pinkerton.

Salem won Tuesday night’s match by scores of 25-17, 23-25, 25-14 and 27-25. Amanda Bickford notched 15 kills for the Blue Devils. Jen Coffey led the Tomahawks with 25 kills.

The games were alternately one-sided and close. Salem went on a 20-6 run to win the first game. In the second game, neither team led by more than one point until the last point.

Salem cruised in Game 3, then squeaked by in the final game.

Salem coach John Roemer said some people didn’t expect his team to go deep in the tourney, so the girls don’t worry about the score and just play their game.

“We don’t worry about playing behind,” said Roemer. “We practice like we’re behind. These girls don’t sweat it.”

Said Merrimack coach Tammy Lambrou: “I think it was nerves. When Salem would get close we couldn’t settle down enough.

Salem stars were plentiful: Bickford had 21 digs to go with her 15 kills. She also had seven aces.

Alyssa Kolbert added eight kills, and Ashley Matthews notched five aces and 18 digs. Rachel Towler had 38 assists. Olivia Burke added 11 kills.

For Merrimack, Jen Coffey had 25 kills, and Jo Coffey had 29 assists and 12 digs. Elise Jolly had four blocks.

Dover 3, Alvirne 1

The Green Wave (21-0) showed why they are the top seeds in the tourney with a 28-30, 25-14, 25-17, 25-18 victory in the late semifinal. Six-footer Molly Wotten had 32 kills for Dover. Lisa Bean added 18, and Megan Priester had 12. Mackenzie Geppert had a whopping 55 assists.

Alvirne was led by Marisa Coronis, who had 27 kills. Evelyn Susko had 33 assists.

“We gave them everything we had tonight,” said Alvirne coach Joe Walz.

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