TMHS Volleyball Team Co-Captain
TEWKSBURY – In the middle of the second set, Tewksbury's Molly Robertson hit a ball which went darting to the left side, well past the net and towards the out of bounds area. Her teammate Nora Butler went hustling to get it, and basically almost crashed into the net. Robertson immediately started laughing and Butler did as well.
It was certainly a funny moment during Friday's win over Haverhill and for the two of them, it was a few seconds to share a good time, a good laugh and to try to keep things light on the court.
For Butler, the Tewksbury Memorial High School Volleyball co-captain, she said part of the reason why the Redmen are off to its best season in program history is that light-hearted fun spirit they have with one another.
“We like having fun,” said Butler about that moment. “We like to have fun on the court but when we're playing a difficult team, it's easy for us to snap back and be more serious.”
Tewksbury didn't play well on Friday in the 3-0 win over Haverhill. The Hillies were a very inexperienced team, lacking height, strong hitters and overall talent. Tewksbury has all of those ingredients, and Butler is smack in the middle of all three, and she is one of the big reasons why the team is off to an amazing 8-1 start.
“We believed that we were going to be good (this year),” said Butler, who also played shortstop for the softball team this past spring. “We had high expectations for ourselves and we had goals of getting to the state tournament, winning (the) MVC (Division 2 title). We believed that we could do this. Just everyone on this team is so strong this year with Nicole (Petherbridge), Molly (Robertson), Adrianna (Fav- reau), Kendall (Paolella), Cathryn (Butler), Christina (Noyes) -– and just really everyone. All of the seniors we have are really good and we have played together for a long time.”
Last year Butler was a part of the program which won its first Division 2 state tournament game dating back to 1997 with a win over North Reading before falling in the second round to Arlington Catholic to finish the season at 10-10.
After the win on Friday, this year's team already has eight wins in nine games which says a lot considering only two previous teams in program history have celebrated with a MVC Division 2 Championship, the last being the 2011 team which finished with a program best 14-4 record.
“It feels good to know that we are building up the program from the ground up and we're hoping that the future years the program continues (the success),” said Butler.
Butler rotates on the court but mostly plays in the back row. She's strong defensively with digs and passes/assists and she also possesses a pretty strong serve.
“Nora sees the court very well,” said head coach Jim Ray. “She can see if she hits down the line, if she hits the ball cross-court and she has such a nice little push with her hands to get the ball on top of a block and over the net and nobody can get it. She just does that instinctively because she has been playing for so long. She's had a lot of coaches over the years who have been telling her a lot and she just absorbs it.
“She just goes out there and she doesn't look like she's going to get to a ball and then boom, she's there. And she plays great defense. Nora makes so many good passes and very seldom does she make an error. She's a catalyst for sure.”
Butler was certainly a big contributor in the win over Haverhill. She rattled off six straight service points to extend the second set lead from 15-10 to 21-10 as her teammates cruised to take the second set 25-11.
She said it's all about the tremendous chemistry the entire team has on the court.
“It's really important,” she said. “You have to be comfortable with your teammates. You have to get along in order to run plays and eventually get points.”
In the third and deciding set, Butler mostly played in the back row, but did end the game with a kill, giving Tewksbury the 3-0 win. She said that being in the back row isn't so bad.
“When we get the blocks up and everything, it's perfect for the back row to defend everything,” she said. “It's good because we all talk on the court and the chemistry is real good.”
Before the interview was over, Butler had one more funny moment. She was asked about playing alongside her sister Cathryn.
“It's fun. I don't mind her. If it was my other (sister Emily, who is in eighth grade) I would mind,” she said with a big laugh.