BRISTOL - Before the Bristol Central girls volleyball teamâ€™s season officially began, the Rams took the court for the CIAC Invitational to begin the year.
It was the first time the CIAC hosted a girls volleyball tournament to kick off the season, a change of pace from the typical scrimmages leading into the new year.
â€śI think it definitely is a better way to start the season than just having scrimmages,â€ť Bristol Centralâ€™s Amanda Warner said. â€śYouâ€™re there the whole day with your team and you get to keep playing and working on your skills.â€ť
It was there in Woodbridge, at the CT Sports Center, that Bristol Central got a feeling of what could be in the 2018 season.
The Rams finished in 2nd place of the 20 total teams competing. Some of the notable teams at the invitational included Amity, St. Josephâ€™s and Joel Barlow.
â€śThe teams were definitely really good,â€ť Ramsâ€™ senior Taylor Patnode said. â€śWe definitely played up to the level and were able to keep up with them and play them to the best of our ability.â€ť
While the competition level was high, the Rams used the tournament to gain experience, as Bristol Central has just two seniors on this yearâ€™s roster, Patnode and Warner. In total, the Ramsâ€™ roster has seven juniors, nine sophomores and nine freshmen.
â€śIt definitely helped us all work together and get to know each other better on the court and communicate better with everyone,â€ť Warner said. â€śIt prepared us for the season. We were able to get used to everyone on the court and have a better dynamic as a team.â€ť
It certainly helped get Bristol Central ready for the season as the Rams have jumped out to a quick 2-0 start with a pair of straight-set wins over Ellington and Plainville leading into todayâ€™s matchup against Conard.
â€śWith so many sophomores and a lot of young players this year they kind of need to get that experience,â€ť head coach Holly Willette said. â€śIt was able to give a bunch of them time on the varsity court to see that style of play and that speed of play. That style and speed is something that a lot them havenâ€™t seen yet so itâ€™s good experience and good exposure for them going into the season.â€ť
So far, having the day-long tournament has shown good results in the regular season and Bristol Central will hope to continue the strong start.