Shannon Goodwin of Winnisquam: Volleyball Player of the Season

  • Winnisquam’s Shannon Goodwin finished the season with 280 kills – just eight short of the school’s single-season record – and she was named to the Division III All-State First Team. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Friday, December 15, 2017

Shannon Goodwin spent the majority of her sophomore season catching teams by surprise. By the time this past fall rolled around, Goodwin was no longer flying under the radar.

“We did a preseason scrimmage in the summer against Belmont and one of the Belmont coaches said to the team, ‘Okay, she always hits cross court so set up your defense like this,’ ” Winnisquam volleyball coach Mike Livernois said.

“As a sophomore I think she caught people off guard and was kind of a surprise for a lot of teams. This year, we knew that they would be well aware of who she was.”

Even with that heightened sense of awareness of Goodwin as a player, she never wavered.

Goodwin finished with 280 kills – eight shy of the school record she set in 2016 – 128 digs and 22 aces for the Bears this season. Goodwin, along with teammate and setter Talia DeBlasie, were both named to the NHIAA Division III All-State First Team, and the duo also took home D-III Co-Player of the Year honors after leading Winnnisquam to an 18-1 record and its first state title since 2012.

“It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of a thing,” Goodwin said. “We made it to the semis last year and I don’t think everyone wanted it the same amount as this year ... we were really working hard for that goal all season long.”

To get there, though, took a lot of long days and nights in the gym.

Goodwin was good last year, but emerged as a player of the year candidate this past season due to her improved hitting ability. She was no longer just swinging as hard as she could, rather taking a measured approach to each and every strike.

“My goal was to hit around blocks better and I definitely learned how,” Goodwin said. “I never really saw the blocks before, and this year I started standing behind the ball more to see it.”

“She’s up in the front for the first three rotations and she’s always going to run into everybody’s big blocker,” Livernois said. “She’s got to be able to hit around it or they’ll shut her down and so I think that was the area she improved the most. ...She started to mature as a hitter and really became more effective.”

The lone blemish for the Bears on the season came in their final regular-season game against Inter-Lakes – the same team they would face in the championship game.

But Goodwin and the rest of her teammates didn’t view the loss as a sign of things to come. Instead, it fueled them.

“I think it showed us that we can’t be scared to play,” Goodwin said. “That night we were scared to play and afraid to make mistakes and I think that’s what brought us down. In the finals, we just played with no fear.”