BY PETER McCARTHY
Three Shelter Island girls, Kelly Colligan, Kenna McCarthy and Margaret Michalak have all distinguished themselves at the high school varsity level, earning All-League, All-Conference and All-Tournament honors. But the last couple of years they’ve proved they can also play with the ‘big” girls at the more competitive Club Volleyball. This level of competition is where the best players from area schools join together to form All-Star teams to play in large regional tournaments.
For the second year in a row, the Island girls’ have made the very competitive Long Island Fury Club team. They’ve joined with players from Westhampton, Eastport South-Manor and Shoreham Wading River to form one of the top teams in the Garden Empire Volleyball Association (GEVA).
This season the Fury has played in four major two- and three-day tournaments in Hartford, Washington, Boston and Albany as well as five other local single day tournaments. During these tournaments they can play up to six matches a day and have played against a wide variety of teams from New England, Virginia and North Carolina as well as New York and New Jersey.
The three Islanders are often together in the Fury starting six, which reflects the strong skills and team work they’ve developed playing together since 7th grade. With Kenna as the setter and Margaret and Kelly as outside hitters, they’ve have helped lead the Fury team to an impressive record, currently ranked 3rd out of 58 teams in the GEVA age 17 Club division.
Their team has excelled this year with four 5th place finishes in large tournaments: January at the Winterfest Tournament in Hartford; February at the Capitol Hill Classic in Washington D.C. and March at both the New England Pre-qualifier in Boston and the Great Nor’easter Tournament in Albany. At the local Center Moriches tournaments the team really excelled with two second place finishes and a third place finish while competing against teams in the age 18 Club division.
These girls were looking for medals however, which are usually only awarded to the Tournament Champions. On March 28 they went to the 17’s Club Tournament at the Sport Time facility in Bethpage as one of 20 competing teams. They started playing at 10 a.m. and by the time they finished the finals at 7 p.m. against a strong team from New Jersey, they had won all six matches while dropping only two sets and had earned their first medals as tournament champs.
On April 11, the girls packed up and headed to the Bronx for their last regular season tournament. This was at a nice complex at the private Fieldston School, which hosted 15 teams. The girls started slow, as the rust from spring break was hard to shake off, splitting their first two matches. Things came together in their third match and the girls proceeded to win four straight matches in eight straight sets against the top teams to win their second tournament and second set of medals in three weeks.
Their work is not done, however, since they still have two more weeks of hard practices before competing in the GEVA Regional Championship Tournament on April 26, which will bring the long and demanding, but satisfying club season to a close.
Needless to say these three Island girls are making their mark and continuing the strong tradition of Shelter Island girls playing volleyball at a high level. They are well positioned to once again lead the Shelter Island Indians to another League Championship in the fall — and maybe beyond. Stay tuned.