Can Shelter Island athletes make the transition from being big fish in a small pond to surviving in the real world? If the volleyball alums are any measure, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
As the fall volleyball season ends and we say goodbye to another senior class, it gives us a chance to look back at our recent graduating classes and let you know where some of our volleyball alums are playing now.
Shelter Island has alums currently playing in five different colleges.
As a junior, Kelsey McGayhey, Island Class of 2012, is a dominant player at powerhouse Springfield College in Massachusetts. Kelsey’s outstanding hitting ability was evident in high school, and her coaches at Springfield have taken this powerful lefty to new heights.
Kelsey has amassed numerous awards throughout her college career. For the second straight year, Kelsey earned New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All-Conference First Team honors.
She was one of seven players named to the New England Women’s Volleyball Association’s (NEWVA) New England First Team for her play this season. She also was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Division III second team All-American.
The team leader in kills with 308, Kelsey has the top hitting percentage of any right side player in Division III, registering a remarkable .379 clip this year. She also ranks second on the team with 74 total blocks. Stephanie Vecchio, Class of 2011, has played volleyball for the Colby-Sawyer Chargers for four years.
A standout athlete at Shelter Island School, her amazing jumping ability and strong court sense has allowed her to make invaluable contributions at both the middle hitter and outside hitter positions at her New Hampshire college. Stephanie was named North Atlantic Conference player of the week twice this season.
The Chargers have been undefeated North Atlantic Conference Champions the past four consecutive years, qualifying for the “big dance” Division III NCAA playoffs. Stephanie ended her final year on the NAC First Team All-Conference, and left an enduring mark on the Colby-Sawyer family.
The Class of 2013 features two athletes playing for their universitys’ teams. Alexis Gibbs is a middle hitter for Stevenson University in Maryland. As a sophomore she is earning more and more court time for her blocking and hitting ability.
The highly ranked Mustangs were Commonwealth Conference champions, amassing an outstanding 30-6 record and progressing to the second round of the NCAA playoffs this year.
Saverina Chicka is at Fredonia State University in western New York. Her Blue Devils team had a great year, posting over 20 wins before narrowly missing the SUNY Athletic Conference crown. Sav’s height and blocking prowess is very valuable as a middle blocker.
Our youngest alums are in their first semester away from home. Aterahme Lawrence joined Sav Chicka at Fredonia and is a setter/right side player for the college’s women’s club volleyball team.
Matt BeltCappellino, who played for two years on the junior high boys team, is playing on the men’s club volleyball team at the University of Vermont. Both are enjoying the camaraderie and athletic outlet that volleyball affords them as they adjust to living away from home.
Our Island athletes may come from a small school but, as these young people are proving, the foundation and confidence they received from the support of our community has served them well in the wider world.