Sports Person of the Week
Gaudioso Learns the Importance of Persistence
Senior Megan Gaudioso has been on a mission to become the best volleyball player she can be after getting cut from the team at Joseph Melillo Middle School when she was in 6th grade. (Photo courtesy of Megan Gaudioso )
Megan Gaudioso didn’t make the cut for the volleyball team as a 6th-grader at Joseph Melillo Middle School, but worked hard to make it the next year, and has gone on to have a nice career on the court. After undergoing a few positional changes, Megan is now a starter and a senior leader for the girls’ volleyball squad at East Haven High School.
It meant a lot for Megan to earn her spot on the volleyball team in her 7th-grade season. Megan saw how hard work pays off and got to compete alongside her friends as a result.
“I was really happy,” says Megan. “All my friends and all the girls I’ve grown up with were on the team. It was fun.”
Megan joined the Yellowjackets in her freshman year at the high school. While she didn’t see any varsity time, Megan learned a lot as a result of working with East Haven’s coaches during her freshman campaign. Megan began that year as a setter and finished the season playing the defensive specialist position.
“It was really fun. It’s high school, not middle school. There were a lot of older girls. In middle school, I was one of the oldest kids on the team,” Megan says. “It was so different having a coach who played volleyball and knew volleyball. The coaches worked a lot with me, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
By her sophomore year, Megan was fully entrenched at defensive specialist and started to see more some playing time on the varsity squad. Meanwhile, she continued to hone her skills by playing nearly every set in East Haven’s JV matches.
In her junior season, Megan earned her starting spot at the varsity level, while alternating between libero and defensive specialist. Now a senior, Megan is starting for the Yellowjackets as their libero—a position that comes with a whirlwind of emotions.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Megan says. “Coach Brown helps a lot. There’s times where I have a bad pass or I’ll be at practice not focusing, and he’ll always put me back on track. He’ll calm me down, as I can really get in my own head. Me and my teammates always pick each other up. The entire team is super supportive.”
Head Coach Craig Brown has seen Megan make huge improvements on the court throughout her four years with the program. Brown says that Megan has become a more confident player as she’s continued to progress as a libero.
“We’re very happy with Megan. We have seen great strides in growth and development. We now see a player that is much more aggressive and assertive,” says Brown. “Megan has really improved this year and has been a big part of our game. She earned the right to be the starting libero and is currently doing a great job in her role.”
Megan has been bolstered by the support of many people as she’s progressed through the volleyball ranks in East Haven. Megan says that both her parents and coaches have continually helped her grow as both a player and a person throughout her time with the Yellowjackets. Megan’s brother Matthew, a junior on the East Haven boys’ tennis team, has lent a helping hand by hitting the ball with her in the backyard.
Megan has also received a great deal of encouragement from the other seniors on the East Haven volleyball team. Megan and her fellow seniors have been playing sports together for many years, and she appreciates that they’ve always stood by her side through any ups and downs.
“The other six seniors, we have been friends since tee-ball. They’ve always been there for me,” Megan says. “On every bad day, they make sure I know that I’m better than I think I am. I always think that when I miss a shot, I’m such an awful player, but they’re always there to hype me up and tell me to keep my head up. They’re always there to pick me up.”
Megan plans on majoring in criminal justice after she graduates from East Haven. Her goal is to attend Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island to earn a master’s degree in homeland security and administrative justice.
After getting cut in 6th grade, Megan was determined to make the volleyball team the following year. Six years later, Megan isn’t just a member of the high school team—she’s also impact performer for the Yellowjackets. Along the way, Megan learned a valuable lesson about the importance of never giving up.
“Being a volleyball player, especially for East Haven, it’s about being determined,” says Megan. “There have been times that I wanted to quit and felt like I wasn’t good enough to be on the team. I’ve always just come back. I’ve always had a lot of fun.”