A year after picking up the sport, Andover's Chanthaboun a volleyball star

May 16—Noah Chanthaboun was a lacrosse player, he had been since childhood. But something unexpected happened at the end of his junior year at Andover High.

He became a volleyball star.

"My sophomore year I played varsity lacrosse, but went to a few clinics and small tournaments with my brother to play volleyball," he said. "The joy I got from getting a good dig, or serving an ace was incomparable to any feeling I had previously experienced in sports. So I switched sports the spring of my junior year."

Chanthaboun has blossomed into a force at libero (defensive specialist) for an Andover High squad that has surged to a 11-4 record heading into the week.

"He's the best libero in the state," said Golden Warriors coach E.J. Perry. "Noah used to come to practices and games to watch his brother Owen. After the games, Noah would stay and hit with his brother. (Assistant coach) Dan Young noticed him killing the ball and rivaling his brother in every aspect of the game. Finally, with coach Young's urging, he came to the dark side."

Chanthaboun leads Andover in digs (114), digs per set (3.8) and receptions (161), while adding 50 service points.

"It's been very exciting to see the growth in every returning player," said Chanthaboun, who also ranked in the top 3 percent of his senior class and will next attend Dartmouth College. "Last year we graduated many talented players, and so it's been great to see how well we have been able to not only make up for what we lost last year, but potentially be even better."

Chanthaboun began to fall in love with lacrosse thanks to the influence of his brother, former Golden Warrior All-MVC player Owen Chanthaboun (Andover High class of 2022).

"I started lacrosse in fourth grade, and played on a club travel team, going to tournaments along the East Coast," said Noah. "The summer going into my sophomore year, I went on a family camping trip and played volleyball for the first time. Though I had no idea what I was doing, it is the earliest memory I have of playing the game.

"I began to take the sport more seriously the fall of my junior year when I tried out for an AAU team. It was great experience. It was really fun to not only play a new sport, but support my brother — who also only started playing as a junior — at clinics and watch his growth as a player from the beginning to the end of his senior year. He was having so much fun, and I started to think about playing."

Chanthaboun not only made the Andover High varsity team as a junior, he was a standout from the start. He finished that season with 82 digs (3.9 per match), 30 kills, 49 service points and five blocks.

"Noah is a special athlete," said Perry. "He was selected captain of the soccer team and was a starter on the lacrosse team. Last year, he started out as our libero, but in one week — because of injuries and missing players — Noah played libero on Monday, switched to setter on Wednesday and finally on Friday was forced to play outside hitter. We won all three games."

Chanthaboun now hopes to close out his Andover High career with a bang.

"I think our team has a very good chance of having a great tournament run this year," he said. "The last three years, the team has lost in the first round of the tournament. I want to get that (tournament) win for my coaches and my teammates. They deserve to break through that roadblock, and I'm excited to see them get even better in the years to come"