Volleyball: Coe-Brown headlines area teams in 2023

Haile Comeau (3) celebrates a point for the Bears during the championship game on Nov. 4.

Haile Comeau (3) celebrates a point for the Bears during the championship game on Nov. 4. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

Brooke Wyatt controls the ball for Concord during her team’s preliminary round playoff match with Pinkerton on Oct. 25.

Brooke Wyatt controls the ball for Concord during her team’s preliminary round playoff match with Pinkerton on Oct. 25. Chip Griffin / Photos By Chip

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 11-13-2023 5:08 PM

Modified: 11-13-2023 10:49 PM


Coe-Brown and Concord headlined area volleyball this fall, with the Bears reaching the Division II championship for the third straight year and the Tide making the playoffs under first-year head coach Maria Wimpey.

John Stark, Winnisquam, Belmont and Concord Christian also played in the postseason. CCA lost in the Division III semifinals.

Here are a couple notes on the 2023 volleyball season:

Coe-Brown comes one set short

Facing an Oyster River team that had lost just four sets all season, Coe-Brown pushed the Bobcats to a fifth set during the D-II championship at Pinkerton Academy on Nov. 4. Though the Bears came up short, losing that set 15-8 and the match 3-2, it was still a highly successful season for Coe-Brown, finishing 15-4.

“I thought overall we played fantastic,” head coach Renee Zobel said after the Oyster River loss. “When we were aggressive, we had the upper hand. When we took our foot off the gas, they had the upper hand because they got aggressive. That’s how you want a good volleyball match to be. This crew, to put together what we put together over the course of a season, we don’t even look remotely like the same team that came in in game one.”

The Bears dealt with some off-the-court challenges that Zobel said could’ve tanked their season. Instead, they kept plowing ahead and were rewarded with a championship game appearance.

“These guys decided every single day to show up and to do the work even when they were in pain, even when they were sad. Even when they didn’t feel like they could work, they showed up and they did it, and that’s what got them to today,” she said. “That’s what I’m really proud of.”

The Bears will graduate eight seniors from the team, including Annika Gunderson who had 12 kills in Coe-Brown’s semifinal sweep of Souhegan.

Concord thrives under new coach

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Just five years removed from playing on the Concord volleyball team herself, Wimpey oversaw a strong season for the Tide. The team faltered down the stretch after a 10-2 start, losing five of the last six regular season matches, but Concord still had the chance to host a playoff match with Pinkerton. The Tide lost, 3-1.

Still, Wimpey framed the season as an overall success.

“I already told them they should be super proud of themselves,” Wimpey told the Monitor after the loss. “They went into a season with a brand new coach and had a winning season which doesn’t happen a lot because culture shifts, things change, how practices are run change. They came into it really, really well, and they did an awesome job, so I think moving forward, they should be proud of themselves. It was a tough loss, but the season itself I think was a win.”

Concord will lose four seniors off the roster: Sarah Taylor, Ava Trento, Ava Janes and Sofia Payne. However, this season was the first in which the Tide were able to field both a JV team and a freshman team, so depth should be a strength for the program in years to come.