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Shelter Island volleyball players honored at gala event: Cindy Belt named Coach of the Year

One of the joys of being a coach is having Shelter Island volleyball players recognized publicly for the excellent effort they put in during the season.

Seniors Sophie Clark, Harper Congdon, Kaitlyn Gulluscio, and Mackenzie Speece each were honored with an All-League Award during the Suffolk County Volleyball Coaches Association’s annual dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

In addition to the athletes’ awards, I was surprised and honored to receive the Coach of the Year award for League VII. This award is voted on by other coaches and so is especially meaningful and touching. Fellow coaches know the effort and time it takes to mold a group of individual young athletes into a “one for all and all for one” team.

The players and their parents attended the gala at the East Wind in Wading River along with 800 other volleyball players, their families and friends. The catering hall was beautifully decorated with lights, trees and chandeliers  — an awesome sight. The evening was filled with food, fun and raffles. Each of Shelter Island athletes was called up to receive a plaque and applauded by the crowd.

This group of Islanders won both the Class D championship as well as a significant number of matches throughout the season. The Coach of the Year award was presented to me, but really won by the entire team. It has been an honor to coach them.

Congratulations Harper, Sophie, Kaity and Mackenzie!