Check Out Wolcott Tech’s Fab Girls Volleyball Team. Story by John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
Volleyball has certainly made its mark at Torrington’s Oliver Wolcott Technical High School during the last decade. The school’s boys and girls teams have found a great deal of success and the co-coaches of this year’s Tech girls team believes that isn’t by chance.
“Volleyball has become successful at Wolcott Tech due to sibling rivalry in different seasons,” said Ray Tanquay. “Our boys’ team work as the managers of the girl’s team and vice-versa in the spring where the girls are the managers for the boy’s team. They continue to push each other to higher limits during their seasons. Each year, the teams want to do better than their team from last season, as well as being better than their sibling team did in their season.”
Adds Co-coach Teri Bambakidou, “Another one of the reasons for success is the sport itself. Volleyball is one of the `true team sports’ left. What we mean by that is this, in other sports, the other team can interfere with your offense and defense. However, in volleyball, there is only you and your teammates on the court without interference from the other team, so you have to perform at your peak. You can’t hide behind the other team if you have a bad pass, set, block, or spike. It forces everyone, including the coaches, to take ownership of our performance.”
Wolcott Tech boasts a superb 12-2 record, is first in the Constitution State Conference and is tied for fourth with Coventry in the state Class S rankings.
“We started the season with a great run, qualifying for the state tournament with an eight-game winning streak,” said Tanquay. “The girls are working hard in practice on their offensive and defensive games. Their focus is controlling the net, aggressive defense, and strong serves.”
The Wildcats have been gotten court leadership from senior Kimmie Stack, a middle hitter, junior setter Casey Farrington, junior libero Haley Farrington, junior middle hitter Cassie Dablain, middle hitter, Emily Andrews, a junior outside hitter, Sam Tracy, a junior opposite side hitter, junior defensive specialist Nicole Higgins, Meaghan Jones, a sophomore outside hitter, Lilly Weaver, a senior back row player, Felicia MacDonald, another senior back row player, and Jasmine Ma, a sophomore utility player(10).
Said Tanquay, “Unfortunately, two players were injured, Lydia Carlson, a junior outside hitter, and Angelica Randall, a sophomore utility player and service specialist. The team is working through new lineups to compensate for these key losses.”
Big wins have come over Abbott Tech, Wilcox Tech and Goodwin Tech.
“The girls are focused to work deep into the tournament and continue building off their past successes and write their own chapter in Wolcott Tech girls’ volleyball history,” said Tanquay.
During the past six years, the girls’ volleyball program has qualified for the state tournament twice and missed by one game last year.
Tanquay says, “Teamwork makes this program so special. It begins off the court with the help and support of our team moms and all of the team parents. We work together for fundraisers, team dinners, and team snacks. We went as far as a team mascot that travels to all of our practices and games. We are one family, one unit--the coaches, our girls, our parents and fans. Most importantly, is our commitment to become better volleyball players every time we leave the gym for every practice and game.”
Bambakidou says that at the end of last season this year’s current juniors, sophomores at the time, were playing the majority of the varsity game with three seniors. “We figured it would be a good team coming into this season but we weren’t sure to what level. Many of our girls played winter league volleyball and attended camps. They entered the gym in August with a mission to be a united program and work toward their goal of qualifying for the state tournament and becoming a competitive program.”
Tanquay thinks this Tech team “can go as far as they want to go.” He adds, “They are working very hard on owning the net, jumping to spike and blocking the ball. Their team chemistry is among the best we have seen in a long time. If they remain focused, continue with their aggressive defense and offense, the sky is the limit.”
Tanquay says he and Bambakidou “work together like best friends.” He concludes, “This is the first time we have worked in a co-coaching arrangement for all aspects of the program, from freshman all the way up to varsity. We share responsibility across the board and we balance each other out as a coaching team. Both of us enjoy the new responsibility and the girls on the team are responding well to our system.”
Check out this fab Tech team in action Friday night at home at 5:15 p.m. against Ellis Tech and again Monday night at 5:15 against Kaynor Tech.