Nichole Hand, Cindy Belt honored by county coaches

COURTESY PHOTO Nichole Hand, left, and Coach Cindy Belt were honored on December 3 by the Suffolk County Volleyball Coaches Association.

The annual Suffolk County Volleyball Coaches Association awards dinner is always a festive affair, and the East Wind catering hall in Wading River was decorated in its holiday best.

On December 3, Shelter Island’s Nichole Hand attended her second consecutive dinner with nearly 600 athletes, parents and coaches present. Recognized as an outstanding player among the seven teams in League VIII, Nichole was presented with an All-League award.

The senior captain was Shelter Island’s leading hitter and best rated passer, and also a very tough server.

I  won the Teri Tiso Excellence in Coaching award for 2018. Tiso was an outstanding volleyball coach at Stony Brook University from 1981-2000. The award is especially meaningful to me this year, since it was presented not for the team’s on-court success, but for my behind-the-scenes work with athletes, which I feel is the most important aspect of coaching.

I am humbled and appreciative that my fellow coaches noticed the often under-the-radar effort of empowering girls to believe in themselves and become self-confident young women.