Girls volleyball was one of the local areaâ€™s most successful sports in the fall season as both Bristol schools posted 10-win seasons and were two of the top teams in the CCC.
The Bristol Eastern volleyball team completed an undefeated regular season for the second year in a row and this time was able to complete the unbeaten run and finish the year with a pair of wins in the CCC Region B postseason. This yearâ€™s All-Bristol Press team features four players from the Lancers to lead the way as we commemorate the 2020 fall season.
Leading the way for Eastern was senior Zoe Lowe, who became the first player in program history to reach 1,000 kills for her career. A Gatorade Player of the Year candidate, she was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour All-American watch list and AVCA Region 1 All-Region team this year after posting 154 kills, third most in Class L, 49 aces and 121 digs with a .284 hitting percentage.
â€śZoe is a leader on and off the court, leading by example,â€ť head coach Stefanie Reay said.
Alongside Lowe was co-captain Ryley Plourde, who also started the year on the AVCA all-American watch list and proved why with 106 kills, the fifth most in Class L and a .210 hitting percentage.
â€śRyley is an amazing player and teammate, who really grew as a leader this season,â€ť Reay said. â€śShe sets and maintains high expectations for herself and her teammates and is always willing to do anything she can to attain them, and to help her teammates attain their goals, as well.â€ť
Spreading the ball to the two hitters was senior setter Leah Chipman, who led all of Class L with 366 assists in 13 games. Another preseason All-American, she made her presence felt in many facets of the game with 70 digs and 26 aces.
â€śLeah is a calm and composed setter who orchestrated our offense well, especially under pressure, and was a very effective server for our team this year, as well,â€ť Reay said.
The final Eastern player is senior libero Lucy Winiarski, who anchored the Lancersâ€™ defense this year with 70 digs and consistent passing.
â€śLucy brings a tremendous amount of energy and positivity to the team, both on and off the court, and her passing in the back row was fundamental to our offenseâ€™s ability to succeed this season,â€ť Reay said.
Bristol Central only lost two matches in this shortened season and both of them were to Bristol Eastern as the Rams steadily improve each season. Leading the way this year was senior Emily Ericson, who served as the teamâ€™s primary offensive weapon on the outside. Ericson finished the season with 203 kills, which was the second-most of anyone in the state.
â€śEmily Ericson was the anchor for us offensively this year finding success out of both the front and back row,â€ť head coach Lance Pepper said. â€śHer ability to work with Gwen Torreso offensively was vital to the success of our team's season. The improvement she made from last year to this year was drastic.â€ť
Defensively, senior Brooke Soucy held down the back line for Central, displaying great range and effort across the court. Her 166 digs were third in Class L and fifth in Connecticut.
â€śBrooke Soucy anchored us defensively this year with effort and pursuit of the ball that is unmatched,â€ť Pepper said. â€śHer drive to continue to get better each year of being a member of this program earned her the LIbero jersey.â€ť
Lastly from the Rams is senior Kayla St. Onge who was a mainstay on the right side for the Rams this year. With 61 kills and a strong serve, she played a good counterpart for the offense that ran through Ericson.
â€śKayla St. Onge did a great job this year at anchoring the right side for us,â€ť Pepper said. â€śShe was a dynamic Right Side not only providing us with a spark offensively but also at the service line. Kayla had 61 kills on the season for us but did many things that did not go in the box score. Her positive attitude and demeanor was felt by all within the program.â€ť
Rounding out this yearâ€™s all-Press volleyball team is St. Paul senior Greta Panke. The team captain, Panke was the only member of her team to receive all-NVL Iron Division honors.