Talented Salem McCloskey Follow Sisters’ Lead on Volleyball Court | Local sports


Maybe it’s in the genes.

It’s a simple explanation for the season that 6-foot-3 junior Matt McCloskey knows for the Salem volleyball team.

Whatever the indicator, McCloskey shouldn’t be so dominant for the Blue Devils. He’s just returned to the sport in his freshman year, hasn’t played last year due to the pandemic, and isn’t playing for a team during the offseason.

Yet McCloskey leads the Blue Devils by a healthy elimination margin, underscored by a 26-elimination performance in a five-set win over Pinkerton. He is developing as a tackle and all-around player and is certainly the key to Salem’s 10-3 season.

“He’s just a good athlete who gets better and better the more he plays,” said Salem coach John Roemer, whose 2019 team won the state title.

“The more he touches, the more he will continue to improve. He’s definitely had a good season for us.

Although McCloskey hasn’t played much volleyball, he comes from a volleyball family and has seen a lot of it. His two older sisters, Nicole, a 2017 Central Catholic School graduate, and Lauren, a 2019 Salem graduate, were avid high school volleyball players and exposed him to the sport.

“I used to go to Lauren’s games a lot, mainly because my parents forced me to, but I started to enjoy watching,” said McCloskey. “It started to sound like a lot of fun.”

And it was Lauren, currently a sophomore who plays varsity volleyball at Stonehill, who finally persuaded her brother to start playing in first grade.

“I really encouraged him,” said Lauren, who was the Salem boys manager when her brother was in first grade. “He was athletic and I thought he could figure it out pretty quickly.”

Confirms McClockey: “She (Lauren) said I should try it, that it was fun. After trying it I loved it.

McCloskey is particularly enjoying this season after being part of Salem’s tough 1-11 basketball campaign.

“My main goal for volleyball was just to have a winning season because basketball wasn’t that great,” he said. “It’s really good so far. I feel like we have a good chance of winning the (state) championship.

McCloskey was called up to college for the Salem State Championship two years ago and while he hasn’t seen significant court time, he felt the excitement of it all and would like to repeat the same sentiment this year.

And, if that happens, McCloskey will have played a key role. In addition to his dominance at the net, he feels he has made significant progress as a passer and is improving as a vault server.

Lauren was able to watch several of her brother’s games and noticed the rise in his overall game.

“I’m really proud of how far we’ve come,” Lauren said. “I think he jumps higher and knows the sport now. And it’s nice to see him having fun and enjoying it.

In fact, McCloskey says he loves volleyball more and more and “loves it as much” now as he does basketball. He also plans to improve his skills further this summer by playing beach volleyball.

And when he gets the chance, he – along with Coach Roemer – might also want to warmly thank Lauren for leading him onto the volleyball court.


Passing the torch (volleyball)

Nicole McCloskey – 2017 Central Catholic School graduate, three-year college performer

Lauren McCloskey – 2019 Salem graduate and standout, now plays Stonehill

Matt McCloskey – Junior in Salem leading the team in kills


“She (Lauren) said I should try it (volleyball), that it was fun. After trying it I loved it.

Matt mccloskey


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