Guilford Volleyball Sweeps Week with Three Victories
The Guilford girls’ volleyball team won all three of its matches last week and is now sporting a record of 3-3 with new Head Coach Marisa Ceneri. (Photo courtesy of Marisa Ceneri)
Senior captains Daisy Pope, Katie Vale, and Talia Turcio are leading the charge for the Grizzlies on the volleyball court in the 2021 season. (Photo courtesy of Marisa Ceneri)
After losing its first three matches of the season, the Guilford girls’ volleyball team has fired back with a vengeance by claiming victory its last three contests. The Grizzlies defeated Foran, Lauralton Hall, and West Haven last week to event their record at 3-3 with first-year Head Coach Marisa Ceneri.
Ceneri is taking over a program that has seen a plethora of success in recent years. In her debut campaign as Guilford’s head coach, Ceneri feels pleased with the leadership that the Grizzlies are receiving from their senior captains, who are setter Daisy Pope, right side/middle hitter Katie Vale, and defender Talia Turcio.
“We are a team of hardworking young ladies that strive to work together every day to reach our goals. This season, we are looking to improve our communication skills, as well as learn to play at the varsity level,” said Ceneri. “I am most encouraged by my three senior captains, whom have all shown great leadership over the years since they have been freshmen.”
Guilford graduated several seniors from last year’s team that went undefeated on its way to claiming the SCC Division C title. Coach Ceneri knew that there would be some growing pains at the beginning of the 2021 season, but she remained confident that her team would jell quickly.
“With the graduation of so many, we are looking for everyone to gain more confidence in their skill level and to play at their highest potential,” said Ceneri. “As the head coach, I hope that my love for the game of volleyball inspires all of the girls to want to be the best they can be.”
In its first match last week, Guilford hosted Foran and earned a 3-0 (25-12, 25-7, 25-16) victory versus the Lions. Junior outside hitter Halle Krause tallied 22 assists and seven aces in the win. Vale recorded eight kills, while junior outside hitter Emily Lin had eight kills and four aces for the Grizzlies.
“Initially, the first few games were a struggle, and we identified that we just had too many errors. Our communication needed to be better,” Ceneri said. “With the onset of practices and several more games under our belt, we are now proud to say that we have won our last three games. We are looking forward to working harder each day to continue this improvement.”
Two days later, Guilford traveled to Milford to face Lauralton Hall and defeated the Crusaders by a 3-1 (25-16, 25-16, 21-25, 25-20) score. Krause posted 10 kills and four aces, Vale had seven kills, and Lin contributed six aces for Coach Ceneri’s squad.
“This current roster has some amazing team chemistry and natural talent, which are some of the most important aspects of success for the year,” said Ceneri. “Although working diligently to adhere to COVID guidelines may seem hindering, our team has shown they are eager to play and want to be in the gym every day.”
The Grizzlies capped off their undefeated week by notching a 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-21) home victory against West Haven on Sept. 24. Krause turned in another big performance by handing out 23 assists to go with five digs in the win. Sophomore outside hitter Emma Getrost had 10 kills and five digs, while junior middle/outside hitter Corinne Puchalski recorded eight kills with five digs.
Guilford’s roster for the 2021 season additionally includes senior Miabella Diaz; juniors Riley Mullett, Courtney Bivona, Gabby Paris, Samantha Vail, and Norah Beres; along with sophomores Adrianna Piascik, Lyndsey Vale, and Grace Reilly. Ceneri’s coaching staff features Jeff DeMaio and Art Fonicello.
“My assistant coaches have each worked so hard to help guide our girls to these successes,” Ceneri said. “Most importantly, they have been at my side every day to support me and to support the atmosphere we are creating at Guilford High School.”
Ceneri’s expectation for the rest of the season is to see the Grizzlies show continual growth on the court as they chase down berths in both the SCC and State tournaments. Ceneri also wants effective communication both on and off the court to serve as a hallmark for her program.
“It is my great hope that these girls continue to love the game of volleyball and learn the joys and responsibilities that come from working in a team setting,” said Ceneri. “I also hope that I will become a great communicator for my team, so that they can use my words of encouragement to perform at their highest levels.”