Month – November 2014
1st Row L-R – McKenzie Maneggia, Nicole Burley, Shaela Salinger, Kaylee Danaher, Sierra Goodwill, Jen Hallbach & Lauren Delissio
2nd Row L-R – Maddie Stone, Taylor Garger, Megan Heline, Katie Shea, Alyssa Hansen, Ashley Hitchcock, Angelica Czercowy, Riley Clark, Sydney Masna & Coach Tim Guernsey
Tim Guernsey just completed his 13th season as the Coach of RHAM High School’s Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Team with a league record of 166-28 and an overall record of 237-48.
It has been an amazing journey for Guernsey who began coaching the team in the 2002 season. This season ended with a 0-16 league record/0-18 overall record. The 2003 season marked the beginning of a turnaround with a 10-6 league record/11-8 overall record. Then, the dramatic turnaround unfolded year after year with no league losses for 8 consecutive seasons from 2007-2014. Guernsey coached 114 winning league games during those years.
How is this volleyball program so successful? Coach Guernsey explained “that as members of his program, the players will be committed to each other, disciplined as one and most importantly humble and gracious” and he expects his players to “learn the value of perseverance in knowing that life is ever changing and making a commitment to never giving up no matter how difficult things may seem.”
RHAM has been in 7 title games in the last 8 years, their state title game record is 5-2. Guernsey’s teams won 4 Class M State Championships from 2007-2010 and the Class L State Championship in 2013. Tim’s teams claimed 2nd place in the Championship finals during the 2011 & 2014 seasons.
Guernsey said his 2014 team that ended with a 14-0 league record/ 24-1 non-league record “was one of the hardest working teams that I have ever had the pleasure to coach. They were truly committed to each other and enjoy being around each other each and ever day. They made coming to practice a joy and watching them mature throughout the season made for a special year.”
As we pack up the volleyballs and the nets from the 2014 season, a new winning season awaits Coach Guernsey and his team for the 2015 season.
RHAM HS lost the title to Farmington HS on November 15th. The RHAM Volleyball Team was awarded Class L’s Second Place Trophy following the completion of the game. It was a great night watching these two teams compete for the title. Of note, both teams only loss was to each other. Farmington HS lost to RHAM during the CCC Final Tournament on November 1, 2014.
RHAM (2) vs Farmington (3) 25-22 (RHAM) 25-12 (RHAM) 11-25 (Farmington) 21-25 (Farmington) 9-15 (Farmington) RHAM (24-1) Farmington (25-1) RHAM Stats: Angelica Czercowy 19 kills, 20 digs Kaylee Danaher 26 digs Megan Heline 10 kills, 15 digs Mckenzie Maneggia 40 assists, 8 digs, 1 kill, 1 block Shaela Salinger 9 digs Ashley Hitchcock 10 kills, 4 blocks Alyssa Hansen 5 kills, 2 blocks Katie Shea 1 kill, 1 block Sierra Goodwill 3 aces
Above: The final point of the Class L semi-final between No. 3 Ledyard and No. 2 RHAM. Senior Angelica Czercowy gets the final kill of the match to send the Sachems back to the finals where they will meet familiar foe No. 1 Farmington. Derek Turner-GameTimeCT
NORWICH>> With the adrenaline flowing and every point meaning more than the last. Angelica Czercowy wanted the ball.
And she got it.
Tied 12-12 in the fifth set of the Class L semi-final between second-seeded RHAM (24-0) and third-seeded Ledyard (22-2), Czercowy was set the ball twice during the final three points and she put them both away.
“I wanted the ball,” Czercowy said. “I wanted to put it down and I knew that I had to get the job done. I believed in myself 100 percent.”
The Sachems return to the state finals for the second consecutive year and seventh time in school history with a five-set victory (25-21, 27-29, 25-18, 19-25, 15-12) over Ledyard at Norwich Free Academy on Thursday.
The final will be a rematch of last season in which RHAM beat Farmington in five sets.. The Sachems also defeated the Indians in the finals of the CCC tournament this year, 3-1.
Michelle Klinikowski of Ledyard, who this week signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at Boston College, was the best player on the court giving RHAM trouble all night.
The senior finished the game with 32 kills, giving her 537 to end the season.
But the one she couldn’t put away may have been the most important. Tied at 12 in the deciding set, Kaylee Danaher dug up one of the hardest hit balls from Klinkowski all night.
“That’s the reason your wearing that white jersey,” RHAM coach Tim Guernsey said. “To be able to dig balls up and that’s exactly what [Danaher] did.”
RHAM won the next point without having to play it. The Colonels were called for being out of rotation and just like that it was match point.
Czercowy took the pass from McKenzie Maneggia off a dig from Megan Heline and from the left side split the two back row defenders.
“Ang came up with the big swing at the end of the game after almost putting the ball to the wall from the right side,” Guernsey said. “So they finished the game. It’s something we’d been talking about all year long.”
There was no quit in either team. Ledyard saved two set points in the second set before winning 29-27 and then came back from a 8-1 deficit to tie it the fourth set. Klinikowski made four straight kills to get to game point before winning it for Ledyard, 25-19.
“They could have easily said, ‘Well, we’re done,’” Ledyard coach Rich Duwelius said. “But this team has no quit. I’ve seen them so many times come back, drag themselves back one point at a time, never giving up, never getting discouraged.”
This was the first five-set match RHAM had played since the Class L final last season. The Sachems are riding a 28-match win streak dating back to the 2013 CCC tournament when they lost to Bristol Eastern in the finals.
“She’s very, very good,” Guernsey said of Klinikowski. “I had never seen her play before. She put the ball pretty much where she wanted to put it. It was an advantage for us when she got to the back row.
“People told me all year long how good Michelle was and she’s definitely that good. She was definitely the best player on the floor.”
To beat a team like Ledyard you have to be strong on defense and Duwelius knew it when he saw it.
“Best defensive team I’ve seen this year,” he said. “They were digging a lot of very difficult balls. Got to hand it to them, they kept popping those hard hits up.”
Returning to the finals, RHAM has a chance to be the first repeat champion in Class L since East Lyme in 2010 and 2011.
“We saw the bigger picture in mind,” Czercowy said. “We have six seniors on our team and all six of us play. We knew it was our last game so in order to get to finals and win back-to-back. We knew we had to get the job done.”
- Ledyard’s Madison Canestrari, right, hits a shot past RHAM’s Katie Shea Thursday during RHAM’s 3-2 win over Ledyard in the Class L semifinals in Norwich. John Shishmanian/ NorwichBulletin.com
- By Marc Allard
Posted Nov. 13, 2014 @ 10:08 pm
NORWICH — Michelle Klinikowski was clearly the most dominant player on the floor on Thursday night. The Ledyard senior slapped down 36 kills on RHAM in a Class L volleyball state tournament semifinal match at Norwich Free Academy, but it was one of the few that RHAM managed to return that turned the tide.
The defending state champion and second-seeded Sachems pulled out a 3-2 victory over the No. 3 Colonels to advance to their third state title match in the last four years, but it didn’t come without a fight.
The match was tied at 12 in the fifth and deciding set when Klinikowski hammered a shot to RHAM’s second line where senior Megan Heline was waiting for it.
“Before that point, I told myself, there’s no way I’m letting this ball hit the ground,” Heline said. “It’s my senior season. If that ball hits the ground, there’s a very slim chance that we’re going to end up winning this game. I told myself, I’m going to lay out on the floor and get this ball up.”
That’s exactly what Heline did, digging it forward to McKenzie Maneggia, who set it to outside hitter Angelica Czercowy (15 kills). The senior drove it into the floor and gave RHAM (21-0) the one-point lead.
The Sachems then got a little gift from the Colonels, who went out of rotation on the defensive side, and the officials caught the infraction.
“We just got a little confused there,” Ledyard coach Rich Duwelius said. “That happens in the heat of combat, somebody lined up in the wrong place. It’s unfortunate that it had to happen at the end of game five, but that happens in sports; mistakes happen. No one is perfect, you live with it.”
The mistake gave the Sachems a double-match point situation, although they didn’t need two chances. Maneggia (49 assists) set up Czercowy again and the senior didn’t miss.
Despite the disappointment, there were plenty of smiles on the Ledyard (22-2) bench after the two hour-plus match was over.
“Knowing that RHAM had lost one set all year and we took two from them, it was a great way to end,” Ledyard senior Madison Canestrari said. “It stinks that we’re not going back to the finals, but it was a great run.”
Ledyard fell behind early when the Sachems won the first game, 25-21. But the Colonels, behind eight Klinikowski kills and a block, rallied to hold off RHAM in the second game, 29-27. But the bottom seemed to fall out after the Sachems came back to win the third game, 25-18, and then took a 7-0 lead in the fourth set.