Hopedale Girls Volleyball on the Verge of Something Big

By Christopher Tremblay
Issue Date: 
October, 2017
Article Body: 

It’s been ten years in the making, but Coach Andrew Mainini believes Hopedale is on the verge of something big and it would be true justice if this year’s senior class of athletes could be the ones to accomplish the never before feat.
“The volleyball program began in 2007 and it has been a building process. This year’s senior class has been very instrumental in that process,” Coach Mainini said. “Through their four years, not only have they grown as athletes, but the team’s record has steadily improved as well. Our ultimate goals is to win a State Championship, but this year we want to be the first team in Hopedale history to capture the Central Division Tournament Championship. And if we’re fortunate enough to do that then the States.”
The four Blue Raider seniors are Moran Foley, the team’s setter and hitter; Jenna Van Zile, an outside hitter and secondary setter; Liz Swanson, an outside hitter and Julianne Poirier, a defensive specialist. All four girls began their varsity careers as freshmen and saw playing time their first season on the court. As freshmen Hopedale went 14-5 but lost in the first round of the tournament. The following year, as sophomore’s, they went 16-6, earned an eight seed and breezed thru the first three rounds shutting out all three teams including the number one and four seed before losing to Sutton (the #2 seed) in the finals. Last year Hopedale went 17-1, grabbed the number one seed and defeated Southbridge (3-0) and Blackstone Valley (3-1) before falling to Millbury, a team they beat handily during the regular season.
That junior campaign Hopedale went 10-0 in the Dual Valley League and took home its first ever league title outright. The Blue Raiders had previously shared the championship in 2011.
“These four girls are some of the most knowledgeable volleyball athletes that I’ve ever worked with,” Mainini said. “Their volleyball IQ’s are through the roof and have provide the other girls in the program role models. I’ve had some good leaders in the past, but these girls are good volleyball players as well.”
As Hopedale heads into this season Mainini is hoping that his seniors perform at a top level. Foley is a vocal leader who was the team’s second leading attacks and was the team’s number one setter. The Coach is looking for her to become even more involved in the offense while providing a dynamic front row presence.
Van Zile and Swanson have been learning new attacks to speed up the offense. The duo are also very versatile athletes willing to make changes in their playing style in order to take the next step. Poirier is the team’s defensive leader and a very vocal one at that. According to Mainini she can push the girls to elevate their game.
Having already brought home the school’s first ever outright League Championship, Mainini is hoping that this year’s team will now bring home a Divisional and State Championship.
“As always, our goal is to win the league. There is very good competition in the DVC, but I expect to repeat,” the Hopedale Coach said. “This year when you look at our overall record it may not be as good as it has been in the past due to the fact that we are scheduling tougher opponents like Milford (2X), Shrewsbury and Millbury (2x), but it will not hinder our performance once we get to the tournament.”
If all goes as planned this year’s senior class will be going out in style as well as leaving the volleyball in a good state for years to come.