Welcome to the 2015 Season

Month – December 2009

All-Courant Team Announced

Kelsey Welling, Mallory Grosso and Tessa Smolinski have all been chosen for the Fall 2009 All-Courant Volleyball team.  Smolinski was named Hartford Courant Volleyball Player of the Year.  Ellie Linden and Jocelyn Taylor are listed as honorable mentions.


Lexie Broytman, Southington, Sr.

Katie Byrnes, Southington, Sr.

Jessica Frankowski, Farmington, Sr.

Krystie Luczynski, Berlin, Sr.

Stephanie Oliver, Coventry, Jr.

Lauren Ostafin, Avon, Sr.

Kyley Reed, Rocky Hill, So.

Mariah Roussel, Newington, Sr.

Tessa Smolinski, RHAM-Hebron, Sr.

Kelsey Welling, RHAM, Sr.


Dianne Gan, Conard- West Hartford, Sr.

Grace Kucharski, Avon, Jr.

Aleesha Quintana, Coventry, Jr.


Brittany Curtis, Coventry, Jr.

Mallory Grasso, RHAM, Sr.


Hitters: Haily Beem, East Hampton, Jr.; Amber Bepko, Mercy, Jr.; Sarah Beres, Ellington, Sr.; Michelle Carilli, Coventry, Sr.; Kelly Draghe, Coventry, Sr.; Kelly Myers, Coventry, Jr.; Megan O’Brien, Haddam- Killingworth, Jr.; Liz Pacyna, Bristol Eastern, Sr.; Jocelyn Taylor, RHAM, Jr.; Paige Trusty, Coginchaug-Durham, Sr.

Setters: Meghan Feeney, Northwest Catholic-West Hartford, Sr.; Ellie Linden, RHAM, Sr.; Eleni Vossoughi, Hale-Ray, Jr.

Libero: Ashley Chasse, East Hampton, So.; Chelsey Weise, Mercy- Middletown, Sr.

RHAM Seniors Set New Career Records

In addition to winning 3 back-to-back state championships, the Lady Sachems have set new career records!

Kelsey Welling now holds the new career high number of kills (739), followed by Shelly O’Keefe (692) and Tessa Smolinki (676).

Tessa Smolinski holds the new hitting record of 1303/1462, followed by Shelley O’Keefe 1294/1568 and Kelsey Welling 1120/1419.

Tessa Smolinski and Kelsey Welling took over spots 1 and 2 for career aces, with 212 and 175 respectively, followed by Abby Rosen’s 158.

Kelsey and Tessa also lead in points scored with 1204 and 906, followed by Shelley O’Keefe with 860.

Mallory Grosso holds the new RHAM record for serve receive with 674/778.

Kelsey Welling tops solo blocks with 272.

Tessa Smolinski and Mallory Grosso hold the RHAM career record for digs, with 765 and 665 respectively.

Ellie Linden now holds the RHAM record for setter assists with 1594.

Net Gain: Tessa Smolinski

Posted by Ben Rohrbach on ESPN

Backstage at the Gatorade Player of the Year Program, we’re constantly searching for what we call “three-pillar” candidates-those who possess athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character

We strike it rich with those contenders who seem to raise all three pillars a notch. RHAM (Conn.) High senior volleyball standout Tessa Smolinski was one of those candidates.

The 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter recorded 239 kills, 205 digs and 83 service aces this fall, leading Connecticut’s top-ranked team to a perfect 26-0 season and a third straight Class M state championship. Smolinski’s 13 kills, 12 digs and three service aces in a state final sweep of Barlow earned her a second consecutive state championship game MVP honor. Athletic excellence? Jackpot.

“She does everything really well,” said Coventry (Conn.) head coach Matt Hurlock. “She can dictate a match serving, defending and attacking. She has a good jump serve. I saw her in the state final, and she started with three or four aces. She plays back row. When we played them, we ripped some balls, and she got to all of them. She’s real fast. She’s not big, but she hits a good ball at the net. She just doesn’t make mistakes.”

Smolinski’s 4.63 GPA ranks her No. 5 in her graduating class. The section leader as flutist in her school’s wind ensemble, she has also competed in the Mathematical Olympiads. As the founder of Pre-wrap.com-an e-commerce website that sells pre-wrap headbands and athletic tape worldwide-Smolinski has served as a panelist at the Connecticut Youth Entrepreneur Seminar and as a speaker at the Conference for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Academic achievement? Jackpot.

With the proceeds from Pre-wrap.com, she has shipped care packages to U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and sent relief funds to Hurricane Katrina victims. Smolinski has also volunteered on behalf of countless community-service initiatives, including the Special Olympics, Unified Sports, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Dig Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Rally. Exemplary character? Jackpot.

“I am grateful to have Tessa as a member of our student body,” said Scott Leslie, principal of RHAM High. “Tessa’s focus on academics and her success in the classroom, along with her commitment to a variety of extracurricular organizations exemplifies a student who takes full advantage of the high school experience.”

Her three-pillar excellence makes a nice platform for a further prize: 2009-10 Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Player of the Year.

Tessa Smolinski Named Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Player of the Year

CHICAGO (December 16, 2009) — In its 25th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Tessa Smolinski of RHAM High School as its 2009-10 Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Player of the Year. Smolinski is the first Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from RHAM High School.

tess-seniorThe award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Smolinski as Connecticut’s best high school volleyball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award, to be announced in late December, Smolinski joins an elite alumni association of past state volleyball award winners, including USA Volleyball Olympians Kim Glass (2001-02, Horseshoe HS , Penn.), Kim Willoughby (1998-99 & 1999-00, Assumption HS, La.) and Ogonna Nnamani (1999-00, University HS, Ill.).

The 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter recorded 239 kills and 205 digs this past season, leading the Sachems (26-0) to a third consecutive Class M state championship. A 2009 Senior All-Star Volleyball Game selection, Smolinski also tallied 83 service aces during her senior campaign. A returning Class M First Team All-State selection as named by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, she amassed 13 kills, 12 digs and three service aces in a state final-sweep of Barlow, capturing Class M state championship game Most Valuable Player honors for the second straight season. Smolinski compiled 293 kills, 248 digs and 68 service aces as a junior.

Smolinski has maintained a 4.63 GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 5 in her class. The selection leader as a flutist in her school’s wind ensemble and a participant in the Mathematical Olympiads competition, she has volunteered on behalf of countless community-service initiatives, including the Special Olympics, Unified Sports, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Dig Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Rally and the American Red Cross. Also a panelist at the Connecticut Youth Entrepreneur Seminar and a speaker at the Conference for Teaching Entrepreneurship, she established Pre-wrap.com in order to sell pre-wrap and athletic tape worldwide.

“She is spectacular,” said Laura Arena, head coach of Farmington High, which faced RHAM during the 2009 regular season. “She’s 5-foot-9 and plays as big as 6-foot-2 if not bigger and better. That says a lot. She’s a key reason RHAM became the program it is. Without her, I’m not sure they’re as successful. She’s a well-rounded player. She sees the whole court. I’m impressed with her strategy, finesse and power. She’s a strong server and a crafty defensive player. She’s a leader. And she does it all with so much class.”

Smolinski remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Smolinski joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Players of the Year Erika Videtto (2008-09, Greenwich), Janice Ehorn (2007-08, Amity Regional), and Brittany Dickinson (2006-07, Frank Scott Bunnell) among the state’s list of former award winners.

To celebrate the award’s 25th anniversary, Gatorade wants you to vote for the All-Time Greatest Players of the Year at gatorade.com/POY25. To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners, and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit playeroftheyear.gatorade.com.

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