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09/20/2022 12:07 PM

Grizzlies Seeking Another Solid Season With Ceneri

Senior captain Halle Krause and the Guilford girls’ volleyball squad are sporting a record of 2-1 through the early goings of the team’s second season with Head Coach Marisa Ceneri this year. Photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier
Senior captain Riley Mullett posted 7 kills and 8 assists when the Grizzlies earned a 3-0 shutout versus Foran in their first home match of the year on Sept. 15. Photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier

Guilford girls’ volleyball Head Coach Marisa Ceneri used the Grizzlies’ efforts last year as a measuring stick to get herself introduced to the program in her inaugural season. On the heels of a strong showing in the SCC in 2021, Ceneri feels more comfortable in year two at the helm of a Guilford team that recently began the 2022 campaign by playing few key matches.

The Grizzlies have a record of 2-1 after earning wins versus Lyman Hall and Foran to go with a loss against Mercy during the opening stretch of their season. Guilford started off the year by posting a 3-0 road victory over Lyman Hall on Sept. 8. Senior captain Halle Krause had 6 kills with 5 assists and 5 digs in the win. Senior Emily Lin recorded 7 digs, and junior Emma Getrost served up 4 aces for the Grizzlies.

Guilford returned to the floor to play a road match versus Mercy on Sept. 14. The Grizzlies took a 3-1 defeat to the Tigers at Mercy High School.

The following day, Guilford hosted Foran for its home opener and blanked the Lions by a 3-0 score. Krause posted 15 assists to go with 7 digs and 7 kills for Guilford. Senior captain Riley Mullett had 7 kills and 8 assists, while fellow senior captain Corrine Puchalski finished the match with 5 kills and 4 digs.

Coach Ceneri knew that the Grizzlies’ strategy and technique wouldn’t be perfect off the first serve of the year. However, Ceneri feels that learning from mistakes in the early going was the biggest takeaway from Guilford’s early batch of regular-season contests.

“We made some errors, but we learn from those,” Ceneri said. “We know that when we play at the varsity level, it’s all about mistakes. Whoever makes the most errors is going to lose the game. That being said, you have to be consistent on the court.”

Last season marked Ceneri’s first year as head coach of the Guilford girls’ volleyball program. The Grizzlies finished with an overall record of 11-10 while making appearances in both the SCC Tournament and Class L State Tournament. Ceneri used the experience to get a feel for what the Guilford volleyball prides team itself on. Now that she has a full season under her belt, Ceneri is ready to take another step forward with the Grizzlies this year.

“My experience last year was a very good experience. I’ve learned a lot of things and got to know the girls a little bit more with what I needed to provide them for a successful season,” said Ceneri. “Going into this season, it felt very easy with seven seniors returning. Everything ran smoothly.”

Guilford’s talented pack of seniors is led by the team’s captains, who are Halle Krause, Riley Mullett, and Corrine Puchalski. Coach Ceneri is relying on all three captains as experienced players and hardworking role models for everyone on the Grizzlies’ roster.

“They are great leaders on and off the court. They get along with all of the girls,” Ceneri said. “They know how to come together as a team and build together. They work really hard and the girls really look up to them.”

Coach Ceneri also appreciates the stability and consistency provided by seniors Emily Lin and Gabby Paris. On a team that features plenty of solid defensive players, Lin and Paris are two stalwarts who mesh well together on the back line for Coach Ceneri’s squad.

Guilford’s senior class also includes Courtney Bivona and Samantha Vail. Along with Emma Getrost, the Grizzlies’ junior class features Adrianna Piascik, Lyndsey Vale, and Grace Reilly.

Coach Ceneri is excited about the contributions of two sophomores who’ve made the varsity roster. Sophomores Samantha Alberghini and Alexa Kukta will serve as important role players for the Grizzlies this year. Ceneri applauds their tenacious effort to become better players while supporting their teammates.

“The sophomores are very excited to be a part of the varsity team. They’re very good athletes,” said Ceneri. “They love the game of volleyball. They deserve the spot on the bench, and I think they’re going to contribute a lot to the varsity team.”

Ceneri said that all of the training, conditioning, and practices that preceded the start of the season went well for her team this year. Ceneri felt encouraged by everyone’s desire to play volleyball over the summer, and she’s impressed with the group’s hunger to get better throughout this season.

“The preseason was a success. The girls got to play together in the summer league,” Ceneri said. “Coming into tryouts, they were all ready to go. The captains really got our team under control and got our team prepared for the season.”

Coach Ceneri believes that a successful season is on the horizon for the Grizzlies this year. With an experienced lineup, Ceneri and her athletes want to get the attention of other teams in the SCC. Ceneri knows that Guilford will have to play quality volleyball all season long in order to reach its goals. However, Ceneri feels that if the Grizzlies can mold their game to dominate opponents and have fun while doing so, the 2022 season could be even grander for her team than last year.

“We have a nice schedule this year. We should do pretty well,” said Ceneri. “We’re looking to win the division. That’s the girls’ No. 1 goal, and just to come out and have fun. If you’re not having fun, there’s no point in participating.”