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JH volleyball hits the gym running

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO Action from a Shelter Island volleyball match in September. Sarah Lewis, number 11, is lending a hand to help school the JV team this year.

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO Action from a Shelter Island volleyball match in September. Sarah Lewis, number 11, is lending a hand to help school the junior high team this year.

Thanksgiving is in the air, a signal that the sports seasons are changing.

At the high school level, the girls and boys basketball teams are hitting the hardwood, while the cheerleaders are starting to think about their new routines. Winter track for boys and girls is a new offering this year. At the junior high level the boys are playing basketball, and the girls are serving up volleyballs.

In contrast to last year’s small junior high volleyball team, Coach Brian Becker is excited to have over a dozen players on the roster. Emma Teodoru is the only returning player, but 8th grade classmates Grace Olinkiewicz, Lydia Shepherd and Sincere Smith are giving the sport a shot this year.

The 7th grade has lots of girls, many of whom have played together on the Little League softball team and nearly all of whom are also playing volleyball. At practice last week, those throwing arms were in evidence as several players sent strong overhand serves over the net.

Coach Becker is excited about the crew. “They are coming in with really good attitudes and are already picking up the basic skills very well,” he said.

The coach credits varsity player Sarah Lewis and student coaches Alexis Perlaki and Owen Gibbs with bringing a high knowledge of the sport to the gym, along with the drive to teach the game to others. Katie Doyle has also stepped up to be the team’s scorekeeper.

With so many new players in the gym, the team will undoubtedly have a steep learning curve, but the athleticism of this group bodes well for the season.

“The girls are having a lot of fun together each day and are learning to play more like a team every practice,” Coach Becker said.

The team faces its first competition at Montauk on Tuesday, November 29, just after the Thanksgiving break. Stay tuned for what promises to be an exciting season.

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