Schooled on the beach in Greece, Elena Soukous drives the Melrose girls’ volleyball team – The Boston Globe

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The 5-foot-11-inch out of doors hitter discovered her hobby for the sport briefly, regardless of simplest selecting it up a couple of years in the past. She hooked up with it briefly since the recreation gave her a method to harness her competitiveness.

“I truly like the way it’s now not a person recreation,” Soukous mentioned. “It’s all a connection, and you’ve got to paintings in combination and regulate as one.”

Each Celli and Brent Ashley, Soukous’s membership trainer at MASS IMPACT, praised her wisdom. Ashley mentioned that whilst you feed her data or perception in regards to the recreation, “she’s like a sponge.”

“Whilst you method her with the sport, she simply sucks it in,” mentioned Ashley, additionally the trainer at Lynnfield. “She at all times needs to understand extra.”

However what units Soukous aside is how she takes that wisdom that she craves and makes use of it to push herself creatively at the courtroom. Ashley mentioned that the extra alternatives they offer her to be inventive, the simpler the result is. Celli mentioned that, along with his personal bias apart, she’s the most efficient participant within the Middlesex League.

“When she will get within the entrance row, she’s one of the most hardest hitters round,” Celli mentioned. “She’s the true deal.”

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Soukous is the definition of first one in, final one out. Celli described how she drives the workforce thru her competitiveness in apply. Ashley mentioned that his membership practices will infrequently run 45 mins lengthy as a result of she’s nonetheless in there hitting and using the workforce to proceed.

“She’s were given a piece ethic such as you’ve by no means observed sooner than on your lifestyles,” Ashley mentioned.

Soukous and the Purple Raiders have one function this 12 months. That’s their motto — One Dream, One Objective — and that’s to win a state championship.

“That drives me as it’s my senior 12 months,” Soukous mentioned. “I don’t wish to forestall taking part in for Melrose.”

Melrose final received the Department 2 state name in 2012, a 21-1 run during which the Purple Raiders misplaced just one set within the playoffs — within the ultimate in opposition to Longmeadow.

Celli sees the workforce he has this 12 months, which has began 5-0, as the person who’s the nearest to that 2012 workforce, with Soukous as a catalyst. He mentioned that during his workforce, Soukous is the “go-to,” senior libero Autumn Whelan is the “calming presence,” and junior center hitter Chloe Gentile is the “fireplace.” The combo of the ones 3, along side senior Abby Hudson (the workforce’s “toughest hitter,” according to Celli) when she makes her go back from damage, is proving deadly in the course of the first 3 weeks of the season, as they energy Melrose’s rapid, high-tempo offense.

“It helps to keep the opposite workforce off steadiness so much,” Celli mentioned. “Some years you don’t have the gamers to run it, however we have now a truly sensible team at the workforce this 12 months.”

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Ashley’s Lynnfield workforce scrimmaged Melrose at first of the 12 months. On account of that high-tempo offense, the Purple Raiders driven in the course of the problem and received, 3-1.

“If the workforce isn’t gelling, you’re now not going with the intention to run that tempo,” Ashley mentioned. “They know what they’re doing. They’re getting breakneck rapid.”

Melrose runs loads of shoots thru its offense, a play that calls for superb timing to stay their tempo, and they are attempting to get the ball to the setter once they are able to. When the timing and verbal exchange is correct, it’s very difficult to overcome.

“After we get began, it’s unstoppable,” Soukous mentioned.

Soukous and the Purple Raiders need to push the tempo each and every time they hit the courtroom, all of the manner till their one function. Celli spoke from revel in when he mentioned {that a} workforce must be just right, wholesome, and fortunate, to win within the match. However he likes his workforce’s probabilities.

“We’ve were given the offensive firepower, the protection, the atmosphere,” Celli mentioned. “Any tight eventualities we’ve been in, we’ve been in a position to conquer them.”

Melrose trainer Scott Celli (left) calls Elena Soukos (proper) “as entire of a participant as we’ve ever had at Melrose.”Winslow Townson for The Boston Globe

Video games to Watch

Saturday, Westfield at Lincoln-Sudbury, 12:30 p.m. — The No. 6 Warriors host unbeaten Westfield on this intriguing non-conference matchup.

Monday, Medway at Westwood, 6:30 p.m. — Two of the highest groups within the Tri-Valley League cross head-to-head, as unbeaten Medway travels to No. 20 Westwood.

Tuesday, Newton North at Needham, 4 p.m. — It’s a struggle between the 2 first-place groups within the Bay State Convention, because the Carey department’s No. 4 Tigers seek advice from the Herget department’s No. 12 Rockets.

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Tuesday, Barnstable at Dennis-Yarmouth, 5:30 p.m. — Out at the Cape, the No. 1 Dolphins host the No. 14 Purple Hawks in a high-powered Cape & Islands duel. Within the Fall II season, the Dolphins beat Barnstable (Hawks) for the primary time since 1988. However Barnstable dominated within the Cape ultimate.

Wednesday, Hingham at Quincy, 5:30 p.m. —The No. 17 Harborwomen and the No. 9 Patriots meet on this Patriot League Most sensible 20 struggle.