This final preseason edition of Spike It takes a look at two of the better teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference. Spike It will continue throughout the season, so stay tuned.
Dog Days for the Cats
The dog days of summer have not been good to the cats of Mercy. The Tigers, like most area schools, come off a long weekend only to have practice on Tuesday cancelled due to the heat wave.
“Two days in a row off is a treat for them,” said coach Sarah Kelley. “Now they get a third day off and that stinks.”
She said her team practiced hard on Saturday, but has not touched a volleyball since. She lost four senior starters from last season’s team, most notably 2014 GameTimeCT.com/Register All-Area pick Shytasia Williams. Still, coach is optimistic.
“We have a really strong junior class,” she said. “I’m not sure if things are going to click right away, but I’m hopeful for the future.”
And she has good reason to be with middle and outside hitter Amy Boyle and outside hitter Meghan Fusco. Boyle had 45 blocks and Fusco added 38 digs and 45 service aces from last season. Also, senior libero Jaqueline Kasinskas will also be crucial, as long as Mercy can get back on the court.
“Word on the street is its going to be hot tomorrow. Are they going to cancel tomorrow too?”
New Year, New Team, Same Results?
Cheshire saw its 51-match winning streak come to an end at the hands of the same team that beat it before the streak began, Darien. The loss came in the Class LL final. The core group of last season’s Rams team is gone, but the Rams are still the Rams.
“The tradition is going to be the same,” said coach Sue Bavone. “Expectations are the same no matter who’s on the court.”
The Rams only returned three players with varsity experience, according to Bavone. Seniors Marli Green, Janine Zumerchik and junior Mallory Groom are the only players returning who saw time on the court last season. The coach said the team has talent and things will come together.
“It’s going to take a while to get into a flow,” she said. “It’s going to take a while to get some cohesion, but we fully expect to be competitive in the league and the state.”
Part of the reason why is 6-foot-1 senior blocker Green. Jill Howard, who used to patrol the middle for the Rams graduated. Bavone said she was one of the best blockers in the program’s history, but Green’s size will pay dividends.
“She’s going to be very critical to our offensive success,” Bavone said.
Bavone said Cheshire had a full day of school and will practice later tonight.