Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of profiles of local athletes.
After a historic year in which the Haverhill boys volleyball team reached the state championship game, they come into this season looking to reach that final game — and win it this time.
With five starters and three reserves returning, this season has the potential to be even more special.
After Eagle-Tribune MVP Brett Pettis graduated last year, the Hillies will lean on Drew Caruso for production and leadership. The 6 foot-2 inch senior was a captain as a junior and was named an All-Merrimack Valley conference player the last two years. He had 141 kills and 56 blocks, leading the Hillies in blocks in their victory in the Division 1 North Championship game against Lawrence.
The Haverhill Gazette sat down with Caruso to talk about life on and off the court.
What are your goals this year as a team?
First, I want to have a good record and overall have a good season. I want to try to make it back to the Division 1 North Finals, win that and then get back to the Division 1 State Finals. But we have to take it one step at a time.
What about your goals individually?
I set my goals pretty high. I want to be the best I can be. My goal would be to get MVP and I want to be an All-Scholastic again.
How does this team compare to the team you had last year?
We lost two key players in Brett Pettis and Andrew Alves. We still have a strong team, but it will be different. We have Kevin Hirschfeld taking (Pettis') place and we aren't sure about our right side yet to replace Alves. We will take it one step at a time and I think we will have a good year.
What is your favorite aspect of volleyball?
The whole team aspect and the chemistry that comes with it. You can't win by yourself. A team can't have one really good player and win every single game. Everybody has to be in it to win it and everyone needs to be striving for that one goal by working together.
What is the best moment of your volleyball career?
A: Winning the Division 1 North Finals. Our club has never made it past that point. It was a goal for us and a huge accomplishment. The other moment is making it all the way to the state finals. I'd say those two are pretty even.
What do you like most about your coach, Bill Kaste?
He always criticizes us. It doesn't sound good at first, but in the end it is. He pushes us at first to do things better and he makes us work .... If he gives us a compliment, it's a rare thing.
What other sports do you play?
A: I used to play soccer and I played that from freshman through junior years, but I decided to work during the fall this year instead.
What did you do for work?
I worked at Cedardale as a lifeguard.
What are your college plans?
I am going to Lasell College to study athletic training. I will also be playing volleyball for them.
Let's do some favorites. Who is your favorite athlete?
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker
New England Patriots
I can't really think of a specific artist as my favorite, but I mostly listen to rock music like Nickelback.
"Indestructible" by Disturbed
Not Your Average Joe's
I hang out with my friends outside of school. I like to go down to Rhode Island and Connecticut during the summer and play beach volleyball. I also work about 30-40 days during the summer.
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