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Shelter Island volleyball set to be served Thursday

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Shelter Island High School volleyball team scrimmages this week against Mattituck.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Shelter Island High School volleyball team scrimmages this week against Mattituck.

School has just started but high school sports are already into the throes of pre-season, having started practices at the end of August.

The Shelter Island volleyball team has 18 athletes, and has already shown both enthusiasm and skill during the first week of practice.

The team lost four seniors (and a fair amount of height) to graduation, but both fresh and returning talent have the coaches optimistic that SIVB will again be a force to be reckoned with this season.

There are six newcomers to the team. Freshmen Phoebe Starzee, Sarah Lewis and Isabella Sherman all played junior high ball, and are enjoying the faster pace and higher expectations of high school.

Sophomore Nicolette Frasco’s quick reflexes and athletic mindset is making short work of catching up after taking time off from the court for the last couple of seasons. Yamilier (Jaime) Castillo, originally from Pierson, is a terrific setter and all round excellent volleyball player with an irresistibly positive attitude. Junior and former tennis player Emily Hyatt is polishing her volleyball skills and is impressing her coaches with a great work ethic and natural abilities.

The bulk of the team is sophomores and juniors. Sophomores Melissa Frasco, Julia Labrozzi, Liz Larsen, Amira Lawrence, and Genesis Urbaez are all returning for their second year. Playing in the off-season, working out over the summer, and the confidence of knowing the game are all paying big dividends for this group.

The large group of juniors brings competitive spirit and leadership to the younger players. Colibri Lopez and Alexis Perlaki bring their never-say-die hustle, and returning varsity player Serina Kaasik will be counted on for her versatility. Kelly Colligan, Kenna McCarthy and Margaret Michalak all sport a can-do attitude and excellent leadership skills, both in teaching the younger players and inspiring others with their defensive fire. Taylor Rando is our only senior, but as a fourth year player, her quiet but steady play is a great asset. Karen Gibbs stepped down as JV coach after many years of success, and we will miss her infectious laugh and caring approach to coaching.

Coach Jim Theinert is a new face on the courtside, but is enthusiastically warming to the task. “The girls all have great attitudes,” he said, “I’m really happy with how their skills are coming along in just a week of practice.”  Coach Theinert’s knowledge of strength and conditioning techniques will be an added bonus as the team prepares for the upcoming two months of competition.

The first live competition for the squads will beThursday, September 4 in our traditional season-opening scrimmage with Mattituck. Both coaches are looking forward to seeing how the teams click on the court, and to see what aspects of the game need to be polished before our non-league matchup with Riverhead on Monday, September 8. The first league match for the junior varsity team will be Wednesday, September 10 on our home court.

While each season brings a new mix of talent, the Shelter Island volleyball tradition remains the same: to play well and have fun. And, oh yeah, another League VIII title and County championship would be nice, too.

Come on down to the gym to catch the action!