A winning style: Island volleyball team honored by county coach’s association

KIM CLARK PHOTO | And the winners are … The Shelter Island Volley Ball team was honored at the Suffolk County Volleyball Coaches Association’€™s annual awards dinner in Holbrook December 3. From left, Katy Binder, Jayme Clark, Saverina Chicka, Alexis Gibbs, Morgan McCarthy, Erin Colligan and Coach Cindy Belt.

The ballroom at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook sees lots of celebrations, but Monday, December 3 was reserved for the Suffolk County Volleyball Coaches Association’s annual awards night.

Over 600 people gathered beneath the chandeliers to support their favorite volleyball athletes. While any athletic season is a success when athletes play well, learn skills and have fun, it’s special when your peers agree by acknowledging your accomplishments.

Shelter Island was very well represented that evening, with six individual Indians’ volleyballers honored. Morgan McCathy and Saverina Chicka both earned their first All League awards. Erin Colligan was awarded her second straight All League nod, while Jayme Clark garnered both All League and Defensive Player of the Year honors for League VIII. Katy Binder and Alexis Gibbs were recognized for their outstanding leadership on the court with All Classification awards, an honor reserved for those athletes who were outstanding among all Class BCD teams.

With many larger schools vying to get their athletes recognized, this is a difficult honor to achieve. Alexis also received the Class D Tournament MVP award for her blocking prowess and overall play in the Regional Semi-Finals match against Haldane.

Shelter Island’s team as a whole was honored as the Suffolk County Class D champions, as well as the 11-0 League VIII champs. Through the efforts and successes of our athletes on the court, both Karen Gibbs and I received League VIII Coach of the Year awards; Karen for junior varsity and yours truly for varsity.

With seven seniors on the current squad, people are already wondering about next year’s volleyball program. While no one can foretell 2013 with any certainty, I’m reassured by the fact that the JV squad was undefeated this year and several of those athletes will transition to the varsity team in the fall. I also enjoy seeing the enthusiasm of the junior high volleyball girls who have just started their season. Senior Katy Binder is helping to coach that group, continuing her leadership even through the off-season, and helping to touch the future.

While I will surely miss the graduating athletes, I’m not worried: Shelter Island volleyball is here to stay.