Cougars Stay Undefeated with 12-0 Record
Junior libero Lola Chagnon and the H-K girls’ volleyball squad improved to 12-0 this year by winning all three of their matchups on last week’s schedule. (File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Source)
The Haddam-Killingworth girls’ volleyball team has been the definition of perfection through the first 12 matches of the 2021 season. The defending Shoreline Conference champion Cougars own an unblemished record of 12-0 and have only dropped eight sets all year.
Last week, H-K continued its stellar start to the season by posting shutouts over Morgan and North Branford and then winning a five-setter against Hale-Ray. Head Coach Robin Callender said that the Cougars are playing some excellent volleyball as they compete as a cohesive group this fall.
“We continue to learn and grow during each match, which helps the players build up their confidence and believe in themselves and their teammates,” Coach Callender said. “After graduating six seniors last year, there are four players who did not have a significant amount of varsity experience, including two middle hitters and two setters. They continue to work hard and learn their positions to the fullest extent of their abilities.”
Senior captain outside hitter Jessica Timothy is proving one of the most integral players on H-K’s roster while leading the Shoreline Conference in both hitting percentage (.354) and kills (178) to go with 41 digs this season. Audrey Snyder, also a senior captain outside hitter, has a hitting percentage of .276 with 135 kills, 42 digs, and 34 aces on the campaign. Junior libero Lola Chagnon has 77 digs with 34 aces for Coach Callender’s club.
“Jessica’s serve receive is extremely strong and consistent. As for Audrey, she is one of our most consistent servers and is a strong defensive player,” said Callender. “I believe that Lola is one of the most consistent and talented liberos in the Shoreline Conference. She can read well and can cover the majority of the court. She is a strong server for our team.”
H-K recorded victories against Morgan, North Branford, and Hale-Ray in last week’s action. The Cougars started off their week by claiming a 3-0 (25-8, 25-12, 25-19) home win over Morgan on Oct. 4. Snyder had 10 service points with six aces and three kills, while Timothy had 11 kills, four services points, and two aces in the victory. Junior Gillian Miller posted seven service points with three kills and three aces, and fellow junior Lorin Danaher added four service points with two kills to help H-K defeat the Huskies.
“My favorite moment of this season was when we played Morgan. The entire team played in the three sets, and everyone played at a high level and contributed to the success of the match,” Callender said. “It was nice to see that they played strong together and believed in themselves and their teammates. They showed the coaches, parents, and fans how capable they are to play at an elite level.”
Three days later, H-K played a home match versus North Branford defeated the T-Birds by a 3-0 (25-11, 25-23, 25-21) score. Junior Kaleigh Bodak tallied 11 service points with nine assists and four aces for the Cougars. Snyder had 10 service points, eight kills, and four aces; Timothy 15 contributed 14 kills, four service points, and two aces; and Chagnon had nine digs with three aces.
H-K’s final contest of the week was on the road against Hale-Ray in a rematch of last year’s Shoreline Conference final. The Cougars won a nail-biter in five sets by the final score of 3-2 (25-21, 15-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-9). Chagnon had 24 digs with 13 service points and five aces, while Synder posted 20 kills and 12 digs in the victory. Timothy had 20 kills with eight service points and two aces for the Cougars, who also received 24 assists, eight service points, and three aces from senior Carly Rettberg.
While Coach Callender feels pleased that the Cougars have won all 12 of their matches thus far, she still thinks that they need to work on playing with more consistency throughout an entire match as the postseason draws closer. Callender’s focus is for H-K to keep working hard at its craft in order to perform at its peak during the playoffs.
“Sometimes, we let teams back in, and we don’t execute the fundamentals at the best possible opportunity. We have some inexperienced varsity players playing in difficult positions, and they just have to learn the fundamentals at the faster pace of varsity,” said Callender. “It may take the entire season to get the confidence they need to play consistently, but every practice, the players work hard to get better and reach their own individual and team goals.”
H-K’s roster for the 2021 season features senior captains Jessica Timothy and Audrey Snyder; seniors Carly Rettberg and Megan Butler; juniors Lola Chagnon, Payton Yazmer, Audra Yazmer, Paige Corcoran, Lorin Danaher, Gillian Miller, and Jenna Whitmer; sophomores Jillian LaRosa, Anabelle LaTorre, Samantha Minckene, Kaleigh Nelligan, Reese Timothy, and Anabelle Zajac; and freshmen Jayani Bennett, Claire Eighmy, Ava Harriman, Brielle Maier, Ayiana Maikowski, Ava Mazzotta, Caley Napoletano, Molly O’Neal, Caoimhe Sweeney, and Lauren Wiese.