Fall season in review: Volleyball and girls soccer have turned the corner

By KEN MORSE

CORRESPONDENT

Cross country has finally stopped running and football has a few weeks remaining, but most of the fall sports are entering the postseason this week. Plainville boys soccer is getting ready to defend their Class M state title. Swimmers and divers are getting ready to take on the state competition.

For Plainville’s volleyball and girls soccer teams, this week marks the end of the fall campaign. Both fell short of the postseason, but for Blue Devils fans there was still a lot to cheer about this fall.

Volleyball

The Plainville volleyball team finished the season at 5-15 and came a little closer to its goal of making the state tournament, than the record would indicate. The Lady Blue Devils kicked it in gear down the stretch winning three of its last five matches.

Over the first half of the season, Plainville left a couple of games on the court, dropping consecutive, 3-2 matches to Old Lyme and Middletown that would have made the difference.

“We have made progress every season,” said Plainville head coach Bob Moffo. “This year we got even closer to the goal of making it back to the state tournament. We lost a couple of tough ones early on and that would have made the difference.”

Plainville came into the season with a roster loaded with seniors who endured the rebuilding phase the past few years and wanted to go out with a post season bid. They came close with senior front row players Katherine Tanguay, Margaret Cronkhite and Mackenzie Alvarado along with middle row players Olivia Wazorko, Makayla Caron and Olivia Gajor and back row players Simona Babagallo, Kaylie Hall and Emily Savage along with Vanessa Xiques pulling together and changing the mindset of the younger girls behind them.

“They started to believe they could do it,” said Moffo. “That was the biggest difference. They always worked hard and never gave up but once they started to believe in themselves they turned the corner.”

Early in October Plainville faced off against defending NVL champion Kennedy and battled winning one game set in a 3-1 loss. That showed they had potential and down the stretch of the season earned a 3-2 win over Manchester and Lewis Mills before ending the season on Nov 1 with a 3-0 win over Wilby 25-6, 25-20, 25-15.

“I really think we have formed a nice foundation to build on,” said Moffo. “Its going to be hard to replace that experience graduating ten seniors but with the varsity players we have coming back along with our JV players we have a good core of players to keep this going in the right direction.”

Sophomore Wiktoria Galazyn is a legitimate front row presence and juniors Annie Roux and Kaitlyn Gagnon along with Hannah Peck and Valerie Simoneau will pick up the leadership role. Sophomores Lillian Wazorko, Samantha Thompson and Alivia Bialko along with Emma Donovan, Katelyn Torres and Kimberly Xiques have gained experience at the JV level. Freshman Bella Grasso, Megan Gray and Leah Raucci will be looking for expanded roles next season.

Girls soccer

The 2-14 Plainville girls soccer team came into the season as a young, inexperienced team and went through the growing pains of a program in the rebuilding process. Along the way head coach Leszek Wrona molded a solid core of players who will be more than ready to take up the cause next season.

The Lady Blue Devils graduate just one senior Alexia Sirois. During the season Plainville earned wins over Platt 8-1 and Hartford Public 10-2. Junior Delaney Beausoleil led the team in scoring for the season with 9 goals and 7 assists. Junior Cortney Ouellette added 3 goals and 4 assists with freshman Nayelle Heredia contributing 4 goals and 2 assists.

The Blue Devils lost three heart breakers by 1-0 finals to (5-8-3) Bloomfield, (8-5-3) Bristol Central and (8-7-1) Maloney and all three teams are competing in the state tournament. That’s how close Plainville was in being one of the three teams in Class M that made the tournament with five wins.

“We graduated 10 seniors from the year before,” said Plainville head coach Leszek Wrona. “We knew we didn’t have a lot of experience or depth coming back. But I was proud of how these girls battled.”

Freshman goal keeper Amber St. Onge developed into a net minder that kept the Blue Devils in more than half of the games played as Plainville dropped three other games by three goals or less.

The defense was young and inexperienced but it didn’t stop them from playing hard and aggressive inside the box. Junior Lyndsey DiTolla and freshman Nora Couture and Tea Autunno along with sophomore Katy Jeney formed into a competitive group out in front of the goal keeper.

“Most of the time we had to use players out of position due to injuries and our lack of depth,” said Wrona. “But we have some very talented juniors that we relied on. Delaney, Cortney, Lyndsey, Jordan, Elena and Skyler that carried the team.”

At midfield juniors Jordan Thompkins and Elena Gorneault were tough as nails and junior midfielder Skyler Ibitz had to speed to open up the passing game. Sophomores Janessa Rames and Morgan Levesque along with freshman Michelle Gryczeski have all scored goals becoming options for the offensive attack.

“We had good development among the younger players,” added Wrona. “Some had never played before at this level. We took three teams that are higher in Class L and made the state tournament and we came up short 1-0.”

Junior Jenna Adamic and sophomores Emmalynn Ranno, Emily Serrano-Aviles, Audrey Pace and Paola Kuehlkamp-Rojas add to the teams depth. It’s only a matter of time before those close games end up in the win column for the Lady Blue Devils.