This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published January 10, 2019
Sam Schlottman knew that she’d have to move to a different position if she wanted to see more minutes with the East Haven volleyball team this fall. Sam came into the program with the background of a setter, but fellow junior Bella Ragaini claimed that spot early on, forcing Sam to call an audible. Sam switched to the right-side hitter position and held down a starting spot all season.
“Freshman year, we were switching on and off, so I got to play some varsity time, and I was the main JV setter. Sophomore year, Bella had more experience playing, so she took over that spot,” Sam says. “I kept working on it, but going into this year, I thought it’d be a good idea to train in a different position to get more time on the court. So, I switched to a right-side hitter.”
It was a big adjustment for Sam to play right-side hitter. With all of her previous training as a setter, Sam had to make a 180-degree turn in order to get acclimated to her new position. She says she found her stride as the campaign unfolded.
“Being a setter, it was more about staying low and getting to the ball. Now, I had to work with the middle and outside hitters to help block,” says Sam. “As a setter, you don’t do blocking, so that was definitely a challenge to try and time the ball. All the other hitters were more experienced blocking, where I found it hard to gain that timing. It took me until the middle of the season.”
Sam wound up having a solid season that saw her notch 36 kills, 13 digs, and six blocks for the Yellowjackets. She helped the Easties win 14 matches, including one in SCC Tournament and another in the Class L State Tournament.
“I was actually very surprised. I think I did really good,” says Sam, who earned Scholar-Athlete honors in her freshman and sophomore years at East Haven. “I didn’t have much experience in that position, so to go from being a setter to the right-side was a hard transition. My hard work really paid off, and I got a lot more kills than I ever expected.”
Sam also contributed a couple of assists for East Haven this year. Head Coach Craig Brown says that Sam was often in the right spot to make a positive play for his squad.
“She doubled as the right-side hitter and secondary setter. Whenever Bella had to take the first ball, Sam stepped up to take the second ball. It’s nice to have an outlet,” says Brown. “She had that past experience, which made it a lot easier to throw her out there to make plays.”
When she isn’t playing volleyball, Sam is also a member of East Haven’s indoor and outdoor track teams. She throws the shot put for the indoor squad and competes in the shot put, discus, and javelin during the outdoor season.
“When [Coach Rusty Dunne] asked me to join the track team, I told him I’m not a runner, but I never realized the other opportunities,” says Sam. “It’s something I really enjoy.”
Sam will be leading the East Haven volleyball team as one of its senior captains in 2019. She’s already looking forward to helping the Yellowjackets continue their winning tradition on the floor.
“I’m excited, because I think next year, we have a lot of potential,” Sam says. “I’m excited to see what our team can bring.”