In covering high school sports for almost 40 years, I know that every coach in every sport works hard. Methuen High School girls’ and boys’ head volleyball coach Matt Twomey takes this fact to a different level. He has been coaching the girls’ team in the fall for 20 years and is now in his 16th season as head coach of the boys’ spring team.

Twomey is a fixture on Ranger Road and is the architect of two programs making waves throughout the state. He is one of the most respected volleyball coaches in New England and continues to churn out consistently strong teams and players, reason enough for a Sports Blitz Q and A.

Sports Blitz: Talk about the performance of the girls’ team this past fall.

Matt Twomey: The girls wrapped up their season with a record of 13-7 and a loss in the round of 32 in the tournament. We are consistently one of the most competitive teams in the MVC and while most teams would love a 13-7 season, we felt like it was down year for us. We plan on going really hard in the offseason to change the compete level and get back to a culture that puts the volleyball first. 

SB: Which players are already stepping up for the girls to improve next season?

MT: Kathryn Driend, Michelle Baez and Elizabeth Descheneaux are really going to set the tone in the offseason and next year. Michelle anchors our defense and Elizabeth and Kathryn just flat out bang the ball. It was an amazing feeling to finish 2022 with an MVC championship, and we definitely want that feeling back. We need some renewed leadership that holds the team accountable.

SB: At press time, your boys’ team is 9-0 and ranked 10th in the state. What have been the keys to this success?

MT: Drew Eason and James Levesque might be the best 1-2 punch in the state at outside. Our middles in Jack Flynn and Andrew Cox have been outstanding, and our opposite Lucas Giard has been one of the best that I have seen in some time. With Matt Kovacev and Arthur Cassarano anchoring our defense, we have been able to make it difficult on teams to score, and our first-year setter Shawn Laduke has been phenomenal on the offensive side of the ball as well as defensively.

SB: What does the boys’ team need to focus on to stay consistent?

MT: We need to understand that we can improve each day and that we are nowhere near where want to be at the end of the season. Communication on the court has been a struggle at times, and when we play quiet and flat, we can be beaten by anyone. We have to play a high-energy style of game. That means winning the emotional battle first and then continuing to talk as much as possible before the play begins. 

SB: Talk about your expectations for the boys at the start of the season.

MT: I am lucky to have two former players on my staff this year – Zach Branchaud, who played for me and graduated in 2012 as part of a team that was just two wins away from a state championship, and Asmin Fabian who was a starting member of Lawrence High School’s 2005 undefeated state championship team. We had very high expectations for the season with experienced veterans and younger athletes who are really into the sport.

SB: Who are your captains and what do you expect from them?

MT: Our captains for this season are Drew Eason, James Levesque and Matt Kovacev. I expect them to lead by example as well as vocally. These guys have been excited to get back out on the court. They have taken multiple steps toward improving and it is very obvious. We have clear-cut discussions about practices, games, and how we want our team to act and perform on and off the court.

SB: How would you describe the attitudes of both the girls’ and boys’ teams in 2024?

MT: The girls are really showing just how much they want to get better and really take a giant leap forward this fall. I can hear the renewed commitment in their voices and know that they are going to work extremely hard this summer. There is no shame in being beaten by a more talented team, but we should never be beaten because we gave less of an effort and were out-hustled by our opponent.

The boys have been great thus far, and while I thought that we would have a very successful year, I did not see them starting as fast as they have and still have room to get better. I love their drive and their passion. They need to keep that up and find a way to stay hungry every match.

 

Matt Twomey coaches both the girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams at MHS.

 

John Molori is an author, columnist, and a 2011 inductee into the Methuen Athletic Hall of Fame. Facebook: John Molori, Twitter @MoloriMedia. Email molorimedia@gmail.com