Could this be the best Wolcott Tech girls volleyball team ever? Story by John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
The Wolcott Tech volleyball team’s season didn’t start off on a high note, with a 3-0 loss to Berkshire League power Terryville. But, boy, did the Wildcats take off after that defeat.
The Techsters won the Constitution State Conference West Division regular season title for the second straight year, going unbeaten in the division and league on the way to a 16-2 record through this writing. Tech’s only other loss to date besides on opening night was to the same Kangaroos, 3-1, last week.
Twelve of Tech’s wins have come by shutouts and the ‘Cats have lost only 10 games all season going into Wednesday’s match against Cheney Tech at home. The Torrington club finishes its regular season at home against Gilbert of the Berkshire League Friday at 6:15 p.m.
“Terri (co-coach Terri Bambakidou) and I knew that we were returning five starters and felt that the team could be good this year,” said co-coach Ray Tanguay. “However, the girls did their work in the off-season and played winter and summer league and attended camps. They have been showing strong leadership on and off the court. They are driven to play tough defense and continue to improve their offense.”
Tanguay said his team’s biggest wins this far have been over Abbott Tech, Kaynor Tech, Wilcox Tech, and Goodwin Tech. He added, “At the beginning of the season, Terryville swept us, 3-0, and the game scores didn’t look good. However, when we played Terryville the second time, we took a game from them and the games scores were roughly, 25-22, showing the improvement our girls had made in a short two-month season. The two losses to Terryville taught our team how to play tougher defense and rework their offense. We continue to work on our skill set to prepare for the league and state tournaments.”
In 2003, the Wildcats were the first girl’s state technical school team ever to reach the semifinals of a CIAC state tournament in any sport. Amanda Duff, a star on that year’s squad was the first Wolcott Tech female athlete to earn All-State status. Since then Tech has made a number of trips to the state tournament. The ‘Cats moved from the Berkshire League to the Constitution State Conference in 2011 and won 15 games that year, the same number they won last season.
Incidentally, co-coach Bambakidou was an All-State volleyball, basketball and softball player at Torrington High School.
Tanguay said several players have “stepped up to the plate this year.” Middle hitters Cassie Dablain and Sam Tracy have become blocking and hitting forces at the net, and the team’s offense and defense has been controlled by twins Casey and Haley Farrington.
Defensive specialist, Nicole Higgins, adds a court presence. Hitters Emily Andrews, Lydia Carlson, Meaghan Jones and Jasmine Ma have presented the club’s setter plenty of options. Younger players, Angelica Randall, Taylor Wheeler, Emily Woods, and Clarissa Rice, have provided bench strength.
Casey Farrington is averaging three aces and 19 assists a game; Haley Farrington four aces and 20 digs, and has a 93 percent passing accuracy; Dablain two aces, three blocks, and nine kills; Jones five aces, seven kills; Tracy four kills, two blocks; Ma three kills and two aces; Andrews one ace and four kills; and Higgins 13 digs a game.
As to how far the team can go in the conference and state tournaments, Tanguay said, “Being a very superstitious coaching staff we don’t think about the tournaments. This is my 16th season with the girl's team, and we have had some pretty good teams in the past. But this one has the possibility to be the best girls’ volleyball team to date at Wolcott Tech.”
He added, “Our goal from day one of the season is to focus on the next game or practice. We honestly don’t talk or think about the tournaments. We strive for continual improvement, and we will sit down and talk about our season when it comes to an end. We need to continue on our path that we have started and not let anything get in our way. We control our destiny by our focus in practice and our ability to push ourselves to new levels.”
Wednesday’s game was the team’s “Lupus Awareness Night” held to raise money for Lupus Awareness.
Said Tanguay, “One of our team moms, Jackie Jones, has been fighting this disease for several years, and one of our team grandmothers passed away from the disease last year.”
The game against Gilbert Friday evening is the team’s Senior Night.