Sports Person of the Week
Vollero Nets Success at North Haven
Ally Vollero notched mark of 20-3 in her freshman season with the North Haven girls’ tennis team. Now a junior, Ally is penciled in to move up from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles next spring. (Photo courtesy of Ally Vollero )
Ally Vollero started taking tennis lessons at the age of four, but was never part of a team until she joined the girls’ tennis squad at North Haven High School as a freshman. As she enters her junior year, Ally sure is happy that she made that decision.
In her first year with the program, Ally served as North Haven’s No. 2 singles player and posted a regular-season record of 16-2 on her way to qualifying for the State Open. Although the COVID-19 pandemic took away her sophomore season, Ally is slated to play No. 1 singles for North Haven when she returns to the court as a junior next spring.
“I always loved the sport of tennis, but I was always on my own. It’s an independent sport, but it’s different when you’re with a team,” Ally says. “I was really nervous a lot. I just wanted to do my best. I just tried to take the pressure of myself and not be concerned about winning or losing, just trying my best. I was a freshman. I didn’t have to win all my matches. I just focused and played.”
Ally began playing tennis at the Silver Sands Beach Club in East Haven when she was four. She spent a year at Silver Sands before playing at North Haven Health & Racquet Club for the next five years. After that, Ally started playing at the Oak Lane Tennis Club in Woodbridge. She currently trains at the Milford Indoor Tennis club when she isn’t playing for North Haven.
Even though she didn’t play for a team prior to high school, Ally has been competing on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) circuit since the 7th grade. Ally feels that playing through the USTA prepared her to take on the No. 2 singles role as a freshman.
“I wasn’t new to playing matches competitively. You pick the tournaments you want to be in, and you get your draw,” says Ally. “When I play bad, it’s because I get in my own head due to nerves. I just try to stay relaxed. As long as I stay relaxed, I know I’ll do well.”
When Ally joined North Haven in her freshman year, she got the opportunity to learn from the team’s No. 1 singles player Julia Migliorini, who posted a career record of 99-5 in high school. Ally calls Migliorini a role model and says that working with her helped ease the transition to playing at the high school level.
“She’s a role model, honestly. She has worked really hard. She’s amazing. It was really great that I got to play with her,” Ally says of Migliorini. “She has obviously done a lot, so it was really good for me to have somebody to look up to. That’s what I want to do. It was a really good experience.”
After going 16-2 during the regular season as a freshman, Ally earned one victory in the SCC Tournament, two more in the Class M State Tournament, and then competed at the State Open. Ally won her qualifying-round contest at the Open before taking a loss in her next match to finish the year with an overall record of 20-3.
“I was just happy to get there in the first place. Going into it, I did not expect to make it very far. I was just going to go in and try my best,” says Ally of playing at the State Open. “I got in and won my first round, which was pretty good. I was happy with that. Overall, it was a good experience. I was glad I was able to play and win a match.”
Head Coach Bob Migliorini was impressed with Ally’s performance in her first year at North Haven. He says that Ally has the ability to overpower opponents on the strength of her forehand and backhand. Migliorini feels that Ally has positioned herself well to make the leap to No. 1 singles in her junior campaign.
“Ally came in as a freshman and had a huge impact on the team. She was the second-best player on the team as a freshman. She had a great season,” says Migliorini. “It’s exciting whenever you have a new freshman come in that has such an impact. You have her for another three years after that. Ally is a gritty player. She battles out there.”
Ally knows that there is plenty of pressure that comes with playing No. 1 singles. However, Ally feels confident that she will see the results she’s hoping for as long as she continues to put in the necessary work. Ally’s main goals for her junior season are to get back to the State Open and make the All-State Team.
Ally is also a forward in the North Haven girls’ basketball program, although tennis is the one sport that she plays on a year-round basis. As she looks forward to improving upon her excellent freshman season, Ally can’t wait to get back on the court and play the sport that’s her passion.
“I have been playing for as long as I can remember. It’s just part of who I am and what I do. I play all the time. I’ve made great friends through playing,” Ally says. “I like playing a team sport, but I like the independence of tennis. You rely on yourself and, when you lose, there’s no one to blame but yourself. But when you win, you worked for that. When I’m on the court, I have a genuine good time.”