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Shelter Island volleyball teams committed to winning

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO Nicollette Frasco serving in a match earlier this season.

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO Nicolette Frasco serving in a match earlier this season.

It’s the time of season where the little changes and improvements of each volleyball player are beginning to add up and manifest themselves in improved confidence and better teamwork.

Several players have also been working out with Coach Jim Theinert to improve their strength and conditioning, and it’s paying off in a big way.

Sophomore Issie Sherman, the smallest player in the gym by half a head, has been working hard in the weight room and seems to be channeling JV Captain Julia Labrozzi — both are diving to the floor to save balls and keep rallies going. Nicolette Frasco, the other JV captain, is passing the serve very well, and in the win over Greenport she confidently sent the ball to setter Sarah Lewis who put them up to hitters, who put them down for points.

Phoebe Starzee, a strong server and hitter, also has the athleticism and “hands” to run the offense.

Setting is complicated, requiring split second decisions and the constant expectation that you’ll get to nearly every ball. Phoebe has really stepped up her game, giving Coach Theinert several lineup options.  Ella Mysliborski has mastered a far more effective serve and in the Greenport match reeled off 8 straight points, including five aces. Nichole Hand, who hadn’t played volleyball before transferring to Shelter Island, also has a strong arm and her improving game sense allowed her to score four kills in the win against Wyandanch.

The varsity team had a productive scrimmage against the Bellport Clippers on September 29, while the JV squad had three competitions this past week.

The junior varsity’s scrimmage against Bellport was fun and fruitful. Although illness reduced the Blue and Gray’s ranks to only six players, the team played well against Bellport.  The friendly hosts also combined with our team for a lively round of “running triples” with each Island athlete paired with two Clippers as they played three on three.  The laughter and good will was infectious and a great reminder that sports are indeed, at heart, just a game.

On a wet and wild Friday, October 2 the JV team had a chance to avenge their sole loss to a league team as Wyandanch visited the Island. They are a JV-only team and their style is similar to gym ball —  basically just put it over however you can, without an organized pass/set/hit offense.

That unusual style can really disrupt a team used to playing more traditional volleyball, especially when the officiating is less than rigorous.  This time the Islanders was ready for the over-on-one approach and on the strength of their serving and calm teamwork, swept the visitors 25-17, 25-19, 25-11.

Saturday morning, October 3 was windy and cool. The short ride to Greenport was rocky and the gym was cold. However, the girls, fresh off their Wyandanch win, confidently handed Greenport a 25-9, 25-14, 22-25 loss.

Both squads will be in action this week, with the varsity team looking forward to evening the score against the Center Moriches Red Devils who beat us in the finals of the Mattituck tournament.

The Red Devils will give us great experience against big blocks and tough serving. They will play both squads here on Thursday, October 8, starting at 4:30. Friday, October 9 we will travel to Pierson.

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