BRISTOL - Last season for the local volleyball teams, Bristol Eastern was the team to beat.
This year, that is still the expectation even with the Lancers losing Mikayla Martin to gradation.
For the other teams, a common goal for this season is improvement. All three teams have head coaches in their second season with the schools.
As players continue to get more seasoning each year under the new coaches, the level of volleyball in the area could be on the rise.
Below is a closer look into each team and the expectations for the upcoming volleyball season.
Head Coach: Holly Willette (2nd year)
Last year: 6-12
Probable Starters: Brianna Saverino (senior), Xia'ian Carrasco (senior), Andreia DeAngelo (senior), Taylor Soucy (senior), Amanda Warner (junior) Peyton Greger (sophomore), Ashleigh Clark (sophomore), Kathryn Ross (sophomore)
Key Reserves: Amanda St. Pierre (senior) Kylie Sassu (senior) Sierra Reed (senior), Taylor Patnode (junior)
Season Outlook: Willette believes her team is much improved this season. With a strong senior class, improvement on the 6-12 record is expected. The new players on the team from the junior varsity level have been coached up and are ready to play at the varsity level. Some key players on the team are Brianna Saverino who led the team in kills last season. Xia’ian Carrasco led the group in blocks. Sophomore Peyton Greger led the team in aces and is expected to take a step forward in her game this year which should be scary for opponents. Willette expects a successful season and the pre-season has given her confidence in this year’s team.
Head Coach: Stacy Rivoira
Last year: 13-5
Key returning players: Sienna White (senior), Aliana Rivoira (junior), Leah Martin (junior)
Season Outlook: After a 13-5 season last year and a pair of wins in the postseason, Bristol Eastern loses Mikayla Martin this year but the expectations for the group are still high and the team has the talent needed in order to make a deep run in the state tournament. While the loss is big, Eastern expects Sienna White to again have a strong season in her senior year and an improved year from juniors Aliana Rivoira and Leah Martin could be pivotal in the season outcome.
Head Coach: Ashley Blumenthal (2nd year)
Last year: 7-12
Probable starters: Grace Carabetta (sophomore), Alexis Carabetta (sophomore), Olivia Genovese (sophomore), Lindsey Obright (senior), Julianna Iacovelli (senior), Katelyn Oulette (senior)
Key reserves: Julianna Iacovelli (senior), Emma McPhee (senior)
Season Outlook: St. Paul has good height and athleticism as a group. With experience in the senior class, the Falcons believe that the experienced players can instill confidence in the younger players to have an excellent season. After losing Bianca DiLernia and Sophia Penisse, the goal for St. Paul is to be competitive each game and finish the season over .500. Nine seniors will take the court for their final high school season. The 7-12 record from last season is behind them and they expect to grow.
Head Coach: Belen Michelis (2nd year)
Last Year: 4-11
Probable starters: Martina Trovato (senior, Middle Hitter), Alyssa Prozzo (senior, Outside hitter), McKenzie Huria (Senior, Right Side), Kristine Gutiérrez (Junior, Outside hitter)
Team outlook: Terryville is looking forward to the upcoming season. With hard work put in during the preseason, the team has high expectations for itself. Coach Michelis is a defense-first coach and she believes that this group of girls is ready to play the caliber of defense she wants to see as a head coach. The goal for Terryville is to get to the Berkshire League tournament and be a team to beat in it. The game to watching according to Michelis is against Nonnewaugh. It is a close matchup between the two and should be a strong indicator of where the Terryville team stands.
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811, or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @OrencoleDan