Welcome to the 2015 Season

Month – November 2010

Jocelyn Taylor, All State 1st Team, Commits to Bryant

Jocelyn Taylor was selected for the 2010 All State Team in Connecticut

From the Bryant site:
Taylor was a three-year varsity starter for Rham High School in Hebron, Conn.… 2010 All-State selection… Named to 2010 Senior All-Star Team… Named 2009 All-Hartford Courant honorable mention… Team won state championship all four-straight years… Led team to conference title with undefeated seasons in 2008 and 2009… Junior and senior class vice president… Member of DECA, Cultural Awareness Club, Leo and Chamber Singers… Father played basketball at UConn and Springfield College… Plays club for Connecticut Huskies High Performance Volleyball Club… Plans to study marketing at Bryant.

Congrats, Jocelyn and best wishes for the future!

Class M volleyball: Rough start, big finish for RHAM

Defeats Joel Barlow for 4th straight state crown
By Matt Buckler
Journal Inquirer

GLASTONBURY — The RHAM High volleyball’s team’s march to its fourth straight Class M title was interrupted Saturday by a word from coach Tim Guernsey.

And they weren’t complimentary words.

“In the second game, he called a timeout and Coach got in my face, he got into Kara Trippel’s face and he got into Alicia Trippel’s face,” RHAM’s Chloe Rishell said. “He said our passing was terrible. We weren’t reading the ball.

“And we’re the type of players that when you start screaming at us, we’re going to start playing better.”

Apparently, a motivated RHAM player is a dangerous player. And a championship player.

RHAM overcame a dreadful start to defeat Joel Barlow, 3-1, in the Class M finale at Glastonbury High.

RHAM dropped the first game, 16-25, and was trailing, 6-0, in the second game before Guernsey delivered a fire-and-brimstone sermon to RHAM’s back-row players.

The message worked. RHAM rallied to win the second game, 25-22, racked up the third, 25-12, and then scored the final three points to pull out a 28-26 win in the fourth and decisive game.

“Once we started passing the ball better, we started getting some kills at the net — it all fell into place,” Guernsey said. “We couldn’t have played any worse in the first game. Once the kids realized that the only place to go was up, the girls relaxed. But we had to challenge them first.”

When RHAM started to get the ball to its playmaker, Laura Smolinski, closer to the net instead of in the middle of the court, RHAM’s offensive productivity started to flourish. She wound up assisting on 35 of RHAM’s 94 points — better than one-third.

“Maybe we were a little intimidated in the first game,” Smolinski said. “But after about 20 points, that intimidation wore off. Barlow had never beaten us before and that kept us fired up.”

Most of the heat was supplied by RHAM’s weapons at the net. Jocelyn Taylor had 17 kills and freshman Sarah Veilleux and junior Kelsey Kirkpatrick each had 10 kills. Once the net players were warmed up, there was little Barlow could do about it.

“Definitely that first game was a wake-up call,” Taylor said. “We were a little nervous. But we all know what this team is capable of doing.”

RHAM specializes in pulling out the close calls and the fourth game provided the perfect example.

Taylor’s bomb at the net gave RHAM the lead for good, and then Veilleux drilled home the championship winner.

Don’t ask her how she did it, however.

“The only thing that mattered is that we scored the point,” Veilleux said. “I don’t even remember what happened.”

After all, winning close games is routine at RHAM.

“That’s what we do,” Taylor said, “We work on those situations every day in practice.”

“We left everything we had on the floor,” said Trippel, who was named the title game’s Most Valuable Player. “We were hesitant in the beginning, but as soon as we figured it out, we played well.”

Even with just two seniors remaining from last year’s championship team, RHAM kept on buzzing.

“This was so satisfying,” said Smolinski, a junior. “We were part of last year’s championship, but we really weren’t in it because it was a senior team. This one is ours.”

RHAM just didn’t follow the tradition of last year’s team, they enhanced it with its gritty comeback.

“RHAM is good, they have an aura surrounding them,” Barlow coach Stave Antal said. “I think they missed one service, and we missed a lot of services. And those points added up quickly. You can’t give a team like RHAM free points.”

“It’s such an emotional boost when your opponent commits an error, especially in rally scoring, where every mistake means a point,” Guernsey said. “And everyone served well for us. We didn’t beat ourselves.”

That’s why the No. 1 seeded Sachems were able to finish the season with a 21-1 record, only losing to Tolland in the Central Connecticut Conference quarterfinals. Barlow, seeded No. 3 at 19-3, lost to RHAM in the finals for the second straight year.

This makeup of this year’s team, however, was completely different than last year’s champs.

“It was an emotional season,” Guernsey said. “I think I was tougher on this group than any team in the last few years. But the kids responded.”

Especially to a blistering pep talk that at least three players on RHAM’s back row never will forget.

Article from The Chronicle, by Rich Zalusky

Chloe Rishell had watched from the bench while RHAM High won three consecutive Class M girls volleyball state championships.
Now a senior, Rishell was on the floor Saturday afternoon at Glastonbury High School in the starting lineup in the Class M final against Joel Barlow.
It took just five points into the match — all won by Joel Barlow — for Rishell to be one of the focal points of an eruptive storm that was building up inside of Coach Tim Guernsey during a time-out.
“Coach got right in three of our faces — myself, Alicia Tripoli and Kara Trippel — and just screamed at us,” Rishell said. “We’re all the type of people that if we get screamed, at we’re going to do better.”
RHAM lost that first game, 25-16, and fell behind in Game 2, 6-1, drawing more ire from Guernesy.
“It was gut-check time,” Guernsey said. “I wanted them to know they needed to play with some intensity and leave it on the floor. There was no tomorrow. This is the last day of the season. There is not another opportunity this year. It has to happen today and has to happen now on every single point.”
Facing adversity, RHAM responded to those words.
And when it was over, well, it turned out just the way things have played themselves out four years and running in Class M.
Freshman Sarah Veilleux provided the exclamation point on match point as top-seeded RHAM (21-2) rallied for a 16-25, 25-22, 25-12, 28-26 victory over No. 3 Joel Barlow (21-4) to wrap up its fourth consecutive Class M state championship.
The fourth title capped a span during which RHAM has won 75-of-77 matches dating back prior to the 2007 Class M tournament, a span that was more emotional than the previous three due to the fact that Guernsey admits he was a lot tougher and more critical of this year’s edition that featured just two seniors — Rishell and Jocelyn Taylor.
“I thought I was going to get teary-eyed at the end because I’ve been so tough and wound up so tight that they never really even had an opportunity to breathe,” Guernsey said. “I was so tough and critical of what they were doing because I know I’ll have the majority of them back for another year.
“And I want them to be perfect come next season.”
RHAM started to turn things around when it effectively dealt with one of its main problems early on with serve/receive.
Once junior setter Laura Smolinski was able to calm things down and give her hitters — Taylor, Veilleux and Kelsey Kirkpatrick — opportunities to swing away at balls, when those balls went down for kills, it allowed those nerves to disappear.
“We just had to play not only our best, but our hardest,” Taylor said. “The first game and the opening points of Game 2 were not the best representation of what we’re all capable of doing.”
The Sachems were tied 18-all in Game 2 and built a pair of 3-point leads, the latter at 24-21.
Sarah McAniff (15 service points, eight kills, 15 digs) saved one game point for Joel Barlow before RHAM won it on a passing error.
Taylor (17 kills) won three of the first four points off sets from Smolinski (35 assists) with Veilleux providing four service points as RHAM quickly built a 6-1 lead and rolled to a 25-12 win in Game 3.
Trippel (17 digs), who received most outstanding performer honors, won the first three points on serve to begin Game 4, which was looking like it might be another runaway when sophomore Francesca Mack had a pair of kills in a 4-point run that gave the Sachems a 16-10 lead.
Back came Joel Barlow, which has lost to RHAM in three of the four finals, with one last fight.
The Falcons caught RHAM at 19-19 and led 23-21 before what proved to be costly bugaboos — missed serves — reared their ugly head.
Miss one was followed by a kill from Kirkpatrick that evened the game at 23-23.
Down 24-23, Paige Damascus saved a match point for Joel Barlow. RHAM did the same thanks to Veilleux evening things at 25-25.
Then, with Joel Barlow again at game point, 26-25, another serve into the net tied things up for the final time.
Taylor put away the next ball and on the second championship point, RHAM turned to Veilleux (10 kills, 10 digs) on the outside right with a powerful swing that showcased her unlimited potential to come through when it mattered most.
“Sarah is such a perfectionist that she didn’t want to make a mistake in this setting,” Guernsey said. “The last three matches, she didn’t care about making a mistake, she just swung. I love that she ended things that way.”
Renee Wasko had 25 assists and 10 digs while Rachel Schenck added nine kills and three blocks for Joel Barlow.
For Taylor, who was on the bench for the first title as a freshman against Joel Barlow (2007) and started as a sophomore against Jonathan Law in 2008), it’s four titles in four years.
“It’s just an incredible feeling,” Taylor said, who is headed to Bryant University in the fall. “I’m so excited and honored to be part of each of these teams.”
What made this fourth title feel sweeter for Guerensey was that both his seniors were on the floor when the match was won.
Last year, RHAM’s lone senior, Kelsey Welling, was sitting next to him on the bench at match point.
“We were up 24-23, they were sitting next to me and in the back of my head I was thinking, ‘I wish they were on the floor,’ “ Guernsey said. “I would have hated to finish like that but we had an opportunity at the point to finish it.
“All of the titles feel great, no question, but it’s just great that both Jocelyn and Chloe were out there when it happened.”

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