Bristol Eastern volleyball is back in the gym, preparing to not only repeat their success from last season, but to also defend their Central Connecticut Conference championship.
The Lancers capped off their season last year after advancing to the semifinals of the Class L state tournament, but while many teams had to retool and replace graduating players, Eastern welcomes back all but three players from last year’s team.
Bristol Eastern coach Stefanie Reay said with most of the team coming back it brings a level of consistency as well as a hardworking culture that was developed last season.
“There’s a lot of consistency because a lot of the things that we do in everyday practice is just continued. I don’t have to repeat and revisit a lot of things,” Reay said. “Last year, the seniors built a really great culture and because there are so many returners they’re going to continue that high expectation of each other. It’s not just me.”
She said the team camaraderie has also already been built. She said last year the team worked hard on building that strong foundation and it allowed them to be successful; something she believes will also happen this year.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Reay said. “I think that we have a lot of pieces of the puzzle that just need to be filled in and fit together and we’re going to have to spend a lot of the preseason figuring that out.”
Team returners Lauren Bender and Lilli Lowe said that the motivation is the same this year. Not only are they aiming to claim a state title, but they are also just working to become the best volleyball players that they can be.
“We were very proud about how far we came and although we didn’t finish the way we had hoped, we definitely grew so much from the beginning of the season that we weren’t disappointed at where we got,” Bender said.
Lowe said the team’s chemistry is a driving force for this upcoming season. She said knowing how far they have been and the family atmosphere that surrounds the team, both elements will allow them to build off of last year’s success.
“We got pretty far last year so we know what works for us and what’s best for us and our bond and chemistry will allow us to get there again,” she said.
Bristol Eastern’s home opener is set for Sept. 9 against South Windsor.
Reay said she is excited for the season and is looking forward to building with her team.
“I’m really excited to be back in the gym again and the girls seem to be really excited to be here as well,” she said.