Todayâ€™s â€śAthlete of the Weekâ€ť selections are two basketball players who have stepped up after key injuries to team leaders who are out for the rest of the season.
The picks are Morgan Kolb of coach Joe Moneâ€™s St. Paul girls team and MacGregor Goulet of Bunty Rayâ€™s Bristol Eastern boys team.
Kolb, a junior and daughter of Kim and Michael Kolb of Southington, has taken on more of a role for the Falcons due to the season-ending injury to their No. 1 player, sophomore guard Janessa Gonzalez.
â€śThis is Morganâ€™s first season in our program and sheâ€™s adapted tremendously to everything we do as a team, both off and on the court,â€ť Mone said. â€śSheâ€™s been able to play both inside and outside effectively and is one of our best shooters. With all the injuries we have, Morgan has stepped up her game at a time when we really needed it. I see good things coming in the future as her confidence is building more and more each day. We are truly lucky to have someone like her join the program.â€ť
The Falcons, 14-2, received a game-high 16 points from Kolb in their final contest last week, a 61-44 victory over visiting Seymour on Friday.
â€śThe season started well for us, but due to injuries there have been significant challenges and adjustments required to stay competitive,â€ť Kolb said. â€śCoach Mone has been making those adjustments and everyone has been stepping up at various times and making significant and timely contributions. As the season winds down, some of the injured players will be able to help us as we enter the NVL playoffs and state championship. Losing our leading scorer and best player in the NVL has left a huge offensive and defensive void. No one individual was going to fill that void, so we learned by stepping up as a team. As I said before, coach Mone has been making adjustments just to give us the opportunity to stay competitive and the team has been executing to a level to meet those expectations.â€ť
Last year, St. Paul went 22-4 and when asked about goals this season for the team and herself, Â Kolb set the bar high.
â€śThe team goal is to win the NVL regular season, to win the NVL tournament and win the Class M state championship,â€ť Kolb said. â€śThe goals for myself are to play up to my full potential, be a significant contributor and be a great team player on and off the court.â€ť
Kolb, who also plays volleyball for St. Paul, added that taking part in sports has been good for her.
â€śSports has been a significant part of my life since I was in third grade, when I started playing basketball,â€ť Kolb said. â€śMost of my time was spent watching my two older brothers play baseball, basketball and volleyball, so I had no choice, since sports was all I knew. Sports has taught me to overcome adversity, provided me opportunities to give back, and provided me with a discipline that has and will continue to help me meet lifeâ€™s challenges.â€ť
She also leaves advice for the younger athletes.
â€śNever overthink and just play and have fun,â€ť Kolb said. â€śAlso, never let sports get in the way of academic success, which is most important to your future.â€ť
Goulet, the son of Mike and Randi Goulet, has been on a scoring tear for coach Bunty Rayâ€™s charges. A senior tri-captain, heâ€™s stepped up his scoring responsibilities due to the loss of fellow team leaders Carter Dziedzic and Ariza Kolloverja, who both had surgery last week for injuries.
In the last game of last week, Goulet posted a game-high 25 points in a 52-43 win over host Plainville on Saturday. That has been typical scoring for the senior since key injuries beset the team, which is now 4-7 on the season.
â€śMac has really stepped up for us when we needed him the most,â€ť Ray said. â€śHe has emerged as our main offensive threat. When he is playing well, it makes everyone on the team better. I am pleased to see how much he has matured and also learned to develop into a great player that can score inside and out. This is Macâ€™s first varsity season and he has really improved every part of his game to keep us competitive.â€ť
Goulet calls this a team effort.
â€śObviously, losing our two key players, it was definitely hard to stay focused and try not to get down on the team,â€ť Goulet said. â€śEvery day the guys come into practice and we always keep positive energy and always pick each other up, no matter the situation.â€ť
He also realizes what Dziedzik and Kolloverja did for the team.
â€śThey were both energetic players,â€ť Goulet said. â€śThey brought the energy to practice and games. They always kept the team going in the right direction.â€ť
Goulet said he has gotten a lot out of playing sports, which also includes baseball for the school.
â€śItâ€™s taught me how to be a leader and also how to connect and communicate with others,â€ť Goulet said. â€śIt definitely helps me in the classroom, because I always have to keep up with my work for the team.â€ť
And looking toward baseball in the spring, heâ€™s anticipating a good senior season.
â€śI believe weâ€™re going to be a good team, because we have a lot of talent and also veteran players,â€ť Goulet said. â€śWe hope to do better in the [state] tournament. Last year we were one and done. This year, I hope we can make a run.â€ť Â Â Â
Contact Bob Montgomery at , or by calling 860-973-1808.