hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

May 24, 2012

Hillie Huddle: Two MVC champs, two Coaches of the Year, two Players of the Year

Tom O'Brien
Hillie Huddle

Perfection!

The boys volleyball team wrapped up the first perfect regular season in program history, defeating Andover Monday night to finish with an 18-0 record. It was the closest match of the year for the Hillies as they edged the Warriors 3-2. The Hillies claimed their second straight Merrimack Valley Conference title and Head Coach Bill Kaste was tabbed MVC Coach of the Year for a second straight season, while senior Zach Sindoni was named MVC Player of the Year.

Haverhill is currently ranked No. 1 in the state and will be one of the top seeds heading into the MIAA State Tournament, which is slated to start later this week. The Hillies fell 3-2 in the state finals last year and finished with a 21-2 record.

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The volleyball team is not the only Haverhill High MVC champ. The boys lacrosse team also claimed the 2012 MVC regular season title. First-year coach Andrew Kirkaldy has led the Hillies to a 12-5 record with one game to play. He was also tabbed MVC Coach of the Year and senior Nathaniel Vazquez was named MVC Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year. The girls lacrosse team is also heading to the MIAA playoffs, after clinching a second place finish in the league.

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The baseball team punched its ticket to the MIAA tournament with three straight wins last week. The Hillies went 4-1 over their final five league games, including winning their last two against Tewksbury and Dracut to claim second place in the league. They went on to defeat Everett 3-0 on Monday to secure their first trip to the playoffs since 2009.

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The girls tennis team is yet another Hillie program heading to the playoffs this spring. Haverhill clinched the post-season berth with a 3-2 win at Notre Dame on Saturday. The Hillies are now 8-5 with two matches to play. The boy tennis team is still in the hunt for post-season play. With a 7-8 record, the Hillies will have to win two of their last three matches and they are in.

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The Hillie track programs will be well-represented in MIAA post-season competition as well. The Hillies have 10 girl individuals and three girl relays that have qualified for the Eastern Mass Division 1 Championships on Sunday in Fall River. A total of 16 girls will compete in the meet. On the boy's side, five individuals and two relays qualified and a total of 10 boys will compete.

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All of the MIAA Tournament seedings and brackets will be announced over the next week and can be accessed through www.miaa.net. For all current Haverhill High schedules and information on Hillie athletics, please visit www.hillies.org and click on "Athletics.''

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Tom O'Brien is the athletic director at Haverhill High School. He contributes this regular column.