VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW EXCERPT
|Courant Staff Writer
NWC: RHAM lost only one match last year, but lost five starters from its Class M championship team. Still, there are a number of good juniors, including outside hitter Tessa Smolinski, middle hitter Kelsey Welling and libero Mallory Grasso. Middle hitter Kelly Stratton, [is] the lone senior. [Kelsey Welling] is the returning kills leader and is one block away from the school record.
“Even though we’re young, there are times we look really, really good,” coach Tim Guernsey said. “Then there are times we show how inexperienced we are as a group. It’s a matter of me being patient with them.”
Berlin lost to RHAM twice in a 16-4 season, but the Redcoats expect to be in the running for the conference title.
“It’s going to be an interesting battle,” Berlin coach Bob Tarigo said.
Berlin is big — senior hitter Sarah Burns is 6-2, junior hitters Katelyn Zarotney and Krystie Luczynski are 5-11 — and has an experienced setter in senior Erica Bukowski.
Caitlin LeMay, last year’s team MVP, leads five seniors for Rocky Hill, which went 9-9. Three starters are back. … St. Paul has a group of juniors back, including Rebecca Leonard, Sylvia Cavero and Ashley Sulewski, and hopes to improve on an 0-17 record. … Serving and defense are Middletown’s strengths. Dania Gomez and Teresa Wichowski are senior captains.
Cheshire: Defending Class LL champion, top hitter is back
Coventry: Two-time Class S champion, 47-match winning streak
Darien: Class L champ, No.1 in the poll last year, 139-match winning streak
Morgan: Always a contender in Class S
RHAM: Defending Class M champ
Nora Bahgat, Cheshire, hitter, sr.: MVP of the Class LL championship game
Kara Fillion, Morgan, hitter, sr.: One of two juniors on All-Courant team
Becca Loftis, Coventry, hitter, sr.: Team leader in blocks
Erin Moriarty, Haddam-Killingworth, hitter, sr.: Helped H-K to the Class S final
Tessa Smolinski, RHAM, hitter, jr.: Athletic leaper and passer, All-Courant