By KEN MORSE
What motivates players to continue and work hard when the season is heading in the working direction? The Plainville volleyball team finds themselves in that predicament at 0-14 on the season.
However, senior co-captain Desiree Wesolowski summed it all up in one simple phrase, “Why we do we keep coming back everyday? Because of Coach Moffo, he believes in us and that gets us to believe in ourselves.”
Enough said right there, as to why the Lady Blue Devils have not thrown in the towel on a season that has not gone their way. The epitome of that philosophy was on display last Friday against Middletown in game three as the final point of the match hit the court in a tough 3-0 loss (13-25, 20-25 and 14-25).
There was senior co-captain Caitlin Bradley throwing herself to the floor in total disregard to the numbers on the scoreboard or the fact that Plainville just got swept three games to none.
There is no quit in this team and it starts with first year head coach Bob Moffo. He has shed a few tears this season heartbroken for his girls and would do anything to have them experience the thrill of victory just once before the season runs its course.
“It’s certainly not from a lack of trying,” said Moffo. “My heart breaks for these girls. And you just can’t help but feel so proud of them the way they continue to battle through these games, show up for practice everyday and just don’t give up.”
In game one against 1-11 Middletown, the Blue Devils showed the tenacity of a team destined to break into the win column for the first time. Simona Babagallo and Bradley were diving to the floor protecting the back row with Katharine Tanguay and Wesolowski charging the net with authority.
Isabel Lozefski recorded a kill and Olivia Gajor served up an ace as the game was tied at 7-7. The Blue Dragons Victoria Bomani stepped into serve and rattled off a seven point service run aided by several unforced errors to give Middletown a 14-7 lead.
Samantha Paradis made a nifty save on a ball in the net allowing Victoria Corriveau to race over and set up Tanguay for a side out kill. Plainville had 11 services in the game with five returns deflecting out of bounds and four serves settling into the net. Only two serves were stopped by the Middletown defense as the Blue Dragons pulled away to a 25-13 win.
“The game of volleyball is unlike other team sports,” pointed out Wesolowski. “You need all six positions playing as one cohesive unit in order to achieve success. If you part fails the whole unit fails.”
“We are young experience wise. We lost the entire starting lineup to graduation and at times we play great in stretches. But costly mistakes allow the other teams to take advantage but we are getting better every day.”
The play of the Blue Devils has improved drastically since the season started and two weeks ago against Hartford Public they were in unchartered waters. Plainville bolted out to a 2-0 lead but couldn’t finish if off as Hartford Public came back to escape with a 3-2 win.
“I felt so bad for them,” said Moffo. “We had the lead and then they just tightened up. It felt like having the door slammed in our face.”
One thing the Blue Devils have learned over this season is to not give up and continue to work hard putting past failures behind them. That is the key to overcoming adversity and Plainville showed that in game two.
Bradley served up a pair of aces to get things started and Kaylie Hall added an ace during her four point service run to open up a 9-5 lead. Middletown came storming back to close the gap.
Natalia Boltromiejuk made a sensational play on a ball in the net and Margaret Cronkhite delivered a resounding cross court kill to keep the Blue Devils out in front. Anna Stehle stepped into serve with Plainville clinging to a 15-14 advantage.
The Blue Dragons managed to slip in front heading down the stretch and withstand a late charge by Plainville when Wesolowski buried a kill into the back court. Middletown hung on to take a 2-0 advantage with the 25-20 win.
Alyssa Roy and Avalon Borra made their presence felt in game three with Plainville again building an early lead at 4-1 with Corriveau serving up a pair of aces. Wesolowski served up an ace as the Blue Devils tried to hang on trailing 9-7.
Middletown continued to pull away and a last ditch attempt from Corriveau who served up another ace wasn’t enough to keep the Bluer Dragons from a 25-14 win completing the three game sweep.
“There are still a few games left on the schedule that could land in the win column,” said Moffo. “One thing is for sure these girls are not giving up.”
Plainville takes on East Hartford at home on Monday Oct. 16th and will be at Avon on Wednesday finishing out the week at home on Thursday hosting Bristol Central.