Oct. 14—HAVERHILL — As a four-year starter, from a volleyball-obsessed family with experience to burn, senior Kya Burdier is unquestionably Haverhill's leader and a main reason why the predominantly young Hillies are 10-1 and once again battling for the Merrimack Valley Conference volleyball crown, which it won last year.
But despite her experience and obvious talent, Burdier has no plans on playing volleyball in college.
"I'll be playing basketball," said the 5-foot-8 Burdier, whose older sister Jada was the Eagle-Tribune MVP last year and is now playing at St. Anselm and whose younger sister Gabrielle is a talented freshman libero on this year's team. "That's my sport."
Based on the way she played Wednesday night in Haverhill's 3-1 win over previously unbeaten North Andover, however, Burdier may want to reconsider her priorities.
Burdier led the Hillies (10-1) in kills with 14 and assists with 21 and was at her best when needed most.
In the first set, she closed out a tight 25-23 victory with an ace, she stopped a brief North Andover run in the third set with a key mid-game kill as Haverhill scored five of the final six points on its way to a 25-18 victory and she closed out the final set, 25-12, with her final kill.
"Kya is our glue but she's also our enforcer," said Haverhill coach Vincent Pettis. "She's a very confident player and she's playing very well."
Burdier was definitely excited about the victory and is enjoying being the mentor for the younger players.
"This (win) was a big deal and it feels good to win this," said Burdier. "I like being the leader of the team."
Pettis also credited another senior, Lexi DeOliveira, for contributing to the win.
"We felt we needed another middle (hitter) tonight against North Andover and Lexi really did a nice job and gave us a lot of energy," said Pettis.
Also playing extremely well for the Hillies was sophomore Emmerson Cerasuolo, who had 13 kills and was on fire late in the match, and junior Morgan Flaherty, who came up with a number of pivotal kills. Also, sophomore Taylor Lewis did a nice job serving and Mia Ferrer Valdez led the team in digs.
North Andover, until the final set (a 25-12 Haverhill win), certainly gave the Hillies all they could handle despite losing 5-11 junior Nadine Abdat with an ankle injury in the first set.
Maeve Gaffny had a strong performance throughout, finishing with a team-high 11 kills, and scored the last two points of the second game, which the Knights (now 11-1) won 26-24, and Leah Warren had some powerful kills and ended up with nine.
Christine Crateau had an impressive 26 digs for the Knights.
"Losing her (Abdat) might have hurt but I just feel that we didn't execute the way we have been," said North Andover coach Christin Augustini. "But give Haverhill credit — they came prepared to play."
Haverhill 3, North Andover 1
Kills: NA — Maeve Gaffny 11, Leah Warren 9; H — Kya Burdier 14, Emmerson Cerasuolo 13
Blocks: NA — Annie Lacombe 3; H — Lexi DeOliveira 3
Assists: NA — Anna Wong 15; H — Kya Burdier 21
Service points (aces):NA—(Wong 3)
Digs: NA — Christine Crateau 26; H — Mia Ferrer Valdez 17
North Andover (11-1): 23 26 18 12 — 1
Haverhill (10-1): 25 24 25 25 — 3