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Junior Volleyball girls making great strides

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO

Junior high athletics are all about learning the basics of the sport, improving skills and having fun. Games are played giving equal playing time to all athletes.

As girls and boys begin to physically mature and are exposed to playing a sport daily, their skills increase, sometimes dramatically, even over a fairly short 10-week season.

The Shelter Island School girls’ junior high volleyball team played their first home match against the “Greenport 2” squad on December 12 and Coach Brian Becker was happy with what he saw.

“We’ve got a lot of girls who have strong serves, which is really important at this level,” Coach Becker said.

In fact, nine of the 11 players got at least one serve over, with Alexandra Brush, Kathy Ramos, Francis Regan and Dayla Reyes each racking up multiple points with their dependable arms.

Another highlight was the ability of several players to move athletically to the ball. Daria Kolmogorova and Valeria Reyes both have “good hands” and setting instincts and are beginning to use sets to begin to establish an offense. Annabella Springer and Grace Olinkiewicz are unafraid to go after tough shots.

Lydia Shepherd uses her height well and surprised the Porters with quick returns. Both Lily Page and Olivia Overstreet helped produce points when their passes penetrated the Greenport defense.

Even with the 8th graders just back from their week-long class trip at Disney World, the team did themselves proud, winning one of the five sets played, with very respectable scores on the others. While the team concept of using three hits to set up spikers is definitely a work in progress, these girls seem determined to have fun and improve. They support one another well, with happy smiles after the excellent effort.

As Emma Martinez, Emma Teodoru and Sincere Smith clear their schedules and join the team in matches, the team looks to be even stronger. With just one returning player on the entire team, parents are learning the game along with their daughters.

Questions about rules and game play were cheerfully exchanged, with cheers and applause for all players.

The team has 12 matches on their schedule, the majority to be played in January. The team saw Montauk on November 29 and played them very closely, including an “extra innings” set that went to 31-29. At East Moriches on December 5, Shelter Island won a set against the far bigger team. When we see each of these teams on our home court we might be able to gain a few more critical points and take a match.

The next home match is Monday, January 9 at 4:30 against East Moriches. Come cheer on the team!

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