Featured Story

Island volleyball players and coach honored

COURTESY PHOTO Shelter Island volleyball award winners gather in the East Wind’s ballroom on December 2. From left, Maria Carbajal, Lyng Coyne, Coach Cindy Belt, Valeria Reyes, Jane Richards and Dayla Reyes

The Suffolk County Volleyball Coaches Association’s annual awards dinner is always an impressive night. Seven hundred and twenty guests and 52 girls varsity volleyball teams attended the gala event on Monday, December 2. Shelter Island, the smallest school of them all, garnered six awards under the chandeliers of the ballroom at Wading River’s East Wind.

We were a 13 strong contingent, as proud parents and coaches applauded senior Maria Carbajal, junior Jane Richards and sophomore Valeria Reyes as they received All League awards in recognition of their team-leading efforts this fall. Maria led Shelter Island in serving percentage, with an impressive 92% rate. Jane held a team-high 46 service ace mark, while Valeria’s 83 kills was the team’s best.

Dayla Reyes was selected as Rookie of the Year for League VIII. The sophomore’s pretty hands and athletic setting style, along with her ability to score points with well-placed setter dumps caught the eye of opposing coaches. While setters often go relatively unnoticed by fans, Dayla’s hustle to get to the ball sparked the Island’s rejuvenated and well-spread offense this year.

Volleyball is known to attract smart players. The fact that they need to be quick thinking as well as athletic is embodied in the All County Academic award. Many players apply for the award but only the brightest students win it. Lyng Coyne was one of only 20 players in Suffolk County to win the prestigious award this year.

Finally, coaches are acknowledged for their role in shaping young athletes into a cohesive team. Shelter Island’s junior varsity coach Laura Mayo worked with 15 different athletes, encouraging and helping each to improve and enjoy the sport. When only six can play at once, it can take patience and a strong sense of fairness to get each player to feel as though they are contributing to the team.

This year, Coach Mayo won the League VIII JV coach of the year award. The award is voted on by other coaches within the league and it is truly an honor to be recognized by your peers.

Other coaches have commented on Shelter Island’s energy and positivity all season long. I was very proud to see the efforts of our young women be recognized in such a public manner.