PLAINVILLE - Replacing their coach the day before the season started was the last challenge the Plainville girls volleyball team needed amid all of the changes student-athletes, specifically volleyball players, faced in order to have a fall season.
A young team with just two seniors coming off of a 4-16 season last year, Alle Caponigro arrived as the new coach and led the team to a 1-11 record. Despite the disappointed results in the standings she said she is very proud of her players’ growth this season and is looking forward to what the program can build into over the coming years.
“If they work their butts off in the offseason, they could come back and really kill it next year,” Caponigro said. “We played a lot of teams this year that we wouldn’t normally play, so I hope they can use this momentum and move forward and know that they’re a team that can compete with these bigger schools.”
The Blue Devils’ already challenging season was additionally compounded by this year’s regionalized schedules. Placed in Region B of the CCC, Plainville was one of two Class M schools in the region, along with Lewis Mills, which were scheduled to play almost entirely Class L and LL teams including Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central and Farmington. The only day off from facing bigger schools was when the Blue Devils traveled to Lewis Mills for their season opener.
Plainville would never organize its schedule like that under normal circumstances, but with most of her players coming back for next season Caponigro sees this year as valuable learning experience.
“They’re going to be able to use that,” Caponigro said. “Hopefully next year will be a bit of a more normal season and they’ll be able to play the types of teams that they normally would. These types of teams are going to be tournament teams. [Now], it’s going to be learning how to play when you’re down, learning how to play when you’re not losing, but still staying positive. Those types of things are going to be what pushes them over.”
The Blue Devils closed out their year against reigning Class L champion Avon and put forth one of their best efforts of the season. Losing the match 3-1, this was just the third match this year in which they won a set and came close to winning two.
After a long year of learning about themselves and getting to know each other, Caponigro saw all of their hard work come together more in that match than the rest of the season.
“Every team, especially us, needs to focus on their fundamentals,” Caponigro said. “Sometimes we get a little caught up in the game and lose that aspect of it. Just putting the competitiveness and the positivity and the excitement that they have on the court together with the fundamentals they’re really going to do well.”
Plainville will close out its 2020 campaign with two postseason matchups, starting with Southington on Tuesday. The Blue Devils’ only win this season was a 3-0 win over Southington on Oct. 29 after losing to the Blue Knights by the same score Oct. 3. With that win in their pocket and an energizing performance against Avon just behind them, this matchup projects to be a competitive one.
“I think coming off of a game like [Thursday] where they really worked, gave it everything they had and showed that they can be competitive, moving into Southington could really push them over into being confident enough to know that they can win no matter who is on the other side of the court,” Caponigro said.
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com