Girls volleyball preview: Newton North will be challenged to repeat as Div. 1 champions

After piecing together a 24-1 Div. 1 state title-winning season, Newton North will look to overcome strong opposition and defend its crown.

The Tigers retain two Bay State Conference All-Stars in outside hitter Chloe Lee and libero Alexa Marucci. Kaitlin Simmons will step back in as the setter, with Jojo Wang and Briana Milliken blocking from the middle.

In the Dual County League, All-Stars Emma Agne and Joyce Li are back for semifinalist Lincoln-Sudbury. Abby Venis is a middle hitter, while Maddie Gulko slots in as a libero. Newton South will feature All-Stars Anna Julia Silva and Stephanie Saloum.

Needham will lean on two-time All-Scholastic outside hitter Samatha Tam (257 kills in 2022). Bay State Conference All-Star Izzy Streeper is back as the libero, and Lizzie Tam will do the setting.

Molly Fredo and Molly Gleason are the outside hitters for Barnstable, while fellow Cape and Islands League All-Stars Logan Hurwitz and Sadie Wellbeloved take up the libero and setter positions.

All-Scholastic outside hitter Taylor Lacerda led Franklin in kills (195), digs (198) and aces (43) a season ago. Hockomock All-Star Makayla Kuykendall rejoins her on the outside, and Sasha Tracy is the setter.

Sadie Whitmarsh and Julia Mondello will shoulder the defensive duties for Attleboro, while Julia Leonardo and Addie Shelton hit from the outside.

Andover will be captained by Adrie Waldinger and Erin Workman. Jessie Wang will partner with Waldinger on the outside.

Merrimack Valley All-Star middle hitter Sydney Chalupa retakes the court for Methuen. Ashley Bowden will also play in the middle, while Ava Duffy and Elizabeth Descheneaux will hit from the outside.

Middlesex League All-Stars Gabi Williams (middle hitter) and Margo Kaduson (libero) are back for Winchester. Kaavya Kumaran and sisters Grace and Helen Zhou are outside hitters, and Bridget Martin will hit from the right side.

Shea Mellman, Kate O’Neil and Ryann O’Sullivan are the senior captains for Div. 2 runner-up King Philip.

Outside hitter Sarah Hilliard and libero Rachel Fleischman will lead the way for Oliver Ames. Claire O’Rourke will play as an outside hitter and defensive specialist, with Addyson Smock in the middle.

Middlesex League All-Star Sadie Jaggers (outside hitter), Grace Gentile (libero) and Leah Fowke (setter) will be the captains for state semifinalist Melrose.

Haley Jenkins and Adeline Ablett are the middle hitters for Dartmouth. Brooke Davis will cover the outside, with Olivia Arruda as a defensive specialist and Gaby Velasquez at libero.

North Quincy and Duxbury will be tough teams to beat in the Patriot League. Middle hitter Ava Bryan and setter Elle Blahut lead the Raiders. All-Star Schuyler Cerow is back for the Dragons.

Hannah Layden and Katherine Sanel hit from the middle for Westwood, and Ainsley Buscone and Raha Favakeh are defensive specialists/liberos.

Div. 3 champion Tewksbury returns eight players, including All-Star libero Ava Fernandes.

All-Stars Ellen Swanson (outside hitter) and Vivian Castano (setter) are back for Dennis-Yarmouth. Meghan Burlingame, Mariah Eaton, Ryann Johnson and Irelynn Shenk also return.

Old Rochester maintains a multitude of players. Aubrie Letourneau and Rylee Kouta will do the setting.

Seniors Audrey Loughran and Marla Olsen are expected to make noise for Newburyport.

Norton will be captained by Faith Holloway, Helen Russell and Gabby Graham. Amanda Calhoun will fill the middle, with Molly Carter as the setter.

Tess O’Flynn, Ella Stein and Sophie DeGrappo are the captains for Div. 4 champion Ipswich. Middle hitter Addison Pillis and outside hitter Claire Butzleta are the other key returners.

Lynnfield is anticipating a big year from junior outside hitters Chase Carangelo and Erika Pasquale. Middle hitters Grace D’Augusta and Livia Tare return to the floor as well.

All-Scholastic outside hitter Hannah Storm will set the tone for Case. Third-year starter Ava Silva is in the middle, with Jayna Surrell taking over the setter role for the Cardinals.

Setter Katya Marchant and libero Jessica Shen are the Weston seniors from its Final Four roster.

Ursuline has three players to watch in Ekene Okoye, Carly Tarantola and Bridgette Afonso.

Nantucket has Cape and Islands MVP Chloe Marrero, All-Star Vicki Todorova and seven others returning.

In the Div. 5 field, West Bridgewater will be led by setter duo Brooke Robichaud and Ava Harkins. Jenella Jacobs is back as a middle hitter.

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