Pioneer volleyball has four CAL All-Stars

Dec 4, 2019 by

Morelli named Player of the Year; Ashley Coach of the Year

Published December 4, 2019

ELLA GIZMUNT

By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI

LYNNFIELD — The Cape Ann League champion Lynnfield High volleyball team had four players on its league all-star teams this season. Three Pioneers players made the first-team while one made the second team.

Head coach Brent Ashley was also named the CAL Coach of the Year.

Melissa Morelli led the way as the senior right-side hitter was named the Player of The Year along with being on the first team. She also made the MGVCA Div. 2 All-Star team and the AVCA All-Region team.

She had 279 kills, 351 assists to lead the team and was second in digs with 136.

MELISSA MORELLI

Seniors Samantha Lebruska and Sophia Wilkinson were the other two first-team All-Stars. Lebruska is an outside hitter while Wilkinson is a setter.

Lebruska had a team-high 82 service aces and 164 digs. She was third in kills with 120. Wilkinson had 76 aces, 304 assists and 81 digs.

“Melissa got the spotlight most of the time but this year Sophia finally got the recognition she deserved,” said Ashley. “Samantha continued to come through like she did last year.”

SAM LEBRUSKA

Morelli was a three-time CAL First-team All-Star the last three years and was a second-team All-Star as a freshman. Lebruska was a two-time first-team All-Star while Wilkinson was a second-team All-Star last fall.

Freshman Ella Gizmunt made the CAL Second-Team All-Stars. She is an outside hitter.

“She really should have made the first team in my mind,” said Ashley, who just completed his second year. “Being a freshman hurt her in making it.”

Gizmunt had 73 aces, 160 kills and had the team’s highest hitting percentage.

The Pioneers lone defeat came in the Div. 2 North Finals as they fell 3-0 to Danvers at Tewksbury High on Nov. 9. With that loss, the Pioneers ended up at 23-1. They only lost five sets all season, three to Danvers and two to Tewksbury in the quarterfinal round.

Lynnfield finished at 16-0 in the league.

SOPHIA WILKINSON

“We had a tight-knit group and the team reached my expectations,” said Ashley. “We were exhausted by the time we faced Danvers.”

Along with Morelli, Lebruska and Wilkinson, the Pioneers will also lose Sofia Ciriello, Ashley Pagliuca and Mac Schena to graduation.

Morelli and Schena were the two captains.

“The seniors are irreplaceable,” stated Ashley. “They were so compassionate and the glue of our team.”

Although the loss of the seniors is big, the cupboard is not bare as seven players are slated to return.

“We have a really good group coming back next year,” said Ashley.

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