2011 a rebuilding year for Bacon Academy volleyball team

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Tue., Sep. 6, 2011
Senior Makaila Kowalsky works on a drill at a recent Bacon Academy volleyball team practice. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Senior Makaila Kowalsky works on a drill at a recent Bacon Academy volleyball team practice. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

“It should be an interesting year. I’m looking forward to it,” said Anna DiPierro, coach of the Bacon Academy girls’ volleyball team.
DiPierro started the girls’ volleyball program at Bacon Academy in 1998 and has been coach for the last four years, during which time the team has won the ECC title one year and qualified for the state tournament all four years.

“We’ve been doing pretty well,” DiPierro said. But this year will be “interesting” for a couple of reasons. The team will be playing in the ECC Large division for the first time, facing teams that they have not seen on a consistent basis over the years. And perhaps more importantly, 10 players from last year’s team graduated.

“I lost all but one of my varsity players,” said DiPierro. “This year is going to be quite a challenge for the girls.” Fortunately for DiPierro, she will have no problem filling out her roster of 20 or so players, as 40 girls – 20 of them freshmen – tried out for the team.
“That’s pretty impressive. It’s nice that the motivation is there, that they want to try this sport,” said DiPierro.

The lone returning varsity player is senior Makaila Kowalsky, who only started playing volleyball in her junior year, picking up the game because her sister played as well. “I’d never played volleyball before,” said Kowalsky, who is one of the top players on the Bacon Academy softball team. But now she said that she really enjoys the game, and particularly likes the togetherness on the team. “We have a lot of fun together, and we support each other,” she said.

Despite her relative inexperience, DiPierro believes that Kowalsky will be an important player on this year’s team. “She picked up the game quite well. I think she’s going to do pretty well this year,” DiPierro said.

Sophomore Charisse Townsend, who came to the varsity team last year at the state tournament, will also “be one of the key players this year,” said DiPierro. Like Townsend, senior Ashley Morgan also joined the varsity squad at the end of last season. That experience, said DiPierro, will be important for the senior to help with the younger players, many of whom Morgan said she knows from the Husky Volleyball Boot Camp this summer, which a lot of players attend.

“It’s going to be a different team,” said Morgan.

Despite the overall youth of the team, DiPierro said that the goal is to once again make it to the state tournament. And she is particularly encouraged by the huge number of players trying out. “They love the sport. I see it in their eyes. I see it in the way they work on the court, in their work ethic. They want to play, they want to get better, and I think we may surprise some teams this year,” she said.

“We just have to keep a positive attitude, and we just have to keep working hard. And if we get better from September first to our last game in October, we’ll be happy,” said DiPierro.

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