Volleyball: Wilton begins new era today
Despite losing its head coach just as practices were to begin, the Wilton High volleyball team will be ready to go when the season opens today at home (5:30) against Trumbull.
“They’ve been working really hard and they look good,” said new coach Steve Brienza. “I’ve definitely seen improving skills, positive attitude and communication since day one.”
Brienza, an assistant coach at Westhill the past five years, takes over from Heather Schlitz, who stepped down for personal reasons after six years as coach.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” said Brienza, who has been encouraged by what his players have shown in the first two weeks.
“I‘ve seen them have great success with their communication, which in turn has led to great success in their physical play as well,” he said. “I hope that remains a constant as we move into the season.”
Wilton graduated several players from last year’s 3-15 squad in middle hitters Dani Miskinis and Anne Giordano middle hitter, and defensive specialists Javiara Fiol and Melissa Hersch.
The Warriors two main returning players are senior captain Megan Stanzione and senior Victoria DiPilato.
Stanzione, an All-FCIAC honorable mention pick last season, is an outside hitter, and DiPilato is a setter. Brienza said Wilton will need both captains to set the tone at practice and in games.
“Both girls have really demonstrated good leadership since day one, especially given the late change in the coaching,” he said.
Other returning varsity players include senior middle hitter Natalie Smith and junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Erika Miskinis.
The team welcomes two new seniors, libero Angelee Poirier and middle hitter Jessica Brunner.
Other juniors on the team this year are middle hitters Sabrina Malick and Kelly Skewis, opposite Mary Jane Lasala, and defensive specialist Kelly Pagoto.
Sophomore outside hitter Natalie Bennett has emerged as a scorer at the net, said Brienza, who also had a third sophomore in opposite Shannon Golden.
“As long as the pieces fit together the right way, we have the opportunity to be very competitive and maybe surprise a few people along the way,” Brienza said. “I am just looking for them to work hard in the gym and be as successful as they can be.”