Varsity Volleyball Team Wins Counties

Olivia Pugliese , Reporter

The Wantagh Girls Varsity Volleyball team won the 2021 A1 conference with a record of 8-1. This is the second year in a row that the girls have won the A1 Conference. The team also won the County Championships, not even losing a set in the playoffs! They beat South Side in the county final with scores of 25-18, 25-9, and 25-16. Nicolette Piscopo, libero and senior captain, said, “We just trusted each other and that’s what led us to winning the county championship.” In 2018, the team won the State Championship with Coach Daniel O’Shea and Coach Susanne Hoffman leading the team to the victory. 

Coach Daniel O’Shea and coach Susanne Hoffman have been amazing coaches throughout their time coaching the Wantagh Girls Varsity Volleyball team. They have led the team to the 2018 State Championship Victory and have coached the 2019 and 52021 conference champions. Coach O’Shea says, “Whatever it takes.” Coach O’Shea shared funny and crazy stories with the girls that always made them laugh or put them in awe. Coach Hoffman and her pep talks made the team believe in each other and lit a spark in everyone to motivate the girls to play together and motivates them to want to win. 

Both Coach O’Shea and Coach Hoffman have made being a part of the team worthwhile. They train the players not to just be better athletes, but to be better people too. Coach Hoffman said, “You need to work hard in life to achieve your goals. Work hard for what you want because nothing just gets handed to you in the real world.” They taught the athletes to play as a team, to work hard, play smart, and, especially, play with heart. 

The team has a total of eighteen girls, nine of which are seniors. All of the seniors this year are captains. They show examples of great leadership. The seniors have been very friendly and accepting to all of the girls this year, helping us to become a big family. Olivia Pugliese, middle hitter and junior, said, “You seniors, man!” The seniors that were a part of the team this year helped make everyone feel welcome, whether it was returning players or new girls. Kylie Masterson, setter and sophomore, said, “They made us all feel so included and brought energy to practice and games, every day. I love this team and I’m so proud of everything we’ve done!”

COVID  put many restrictions on the team. They had to wear masks at all times, which didn’t seem that bad but it definitely makes it harder to breathe. There were no spectators allowed at Wantagh’s home games (until playoffs), which brought the energy down a lot. Volleyball is a very mental sport ,and without the cheering and excitement from the fans it can get rough. However, the team pushed through and cheered each other on. 

Sadly, there were no Long Island Championships or State Championships this year due to the virus. Shannon Sullivan, outside hitter and senior captain said, “This season was like no other. We were faced with many challenges regarding covid guidelines and we were forced to act on our feet and work with what we had, which in the end I believe made us a stronger and closer team as a whole.”

The team was very upset about this because they really believed that they could go far. Julia Coppola, right side and senior captain, says, “I wish we could go all the way this year because we would have won States.”

The team consisted of nine seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, and an eighth grader; however, they all treated each other as members of the team and as equals, not as different grades. The team has had their ups and downs on the court but when they were down, they found a way to bring it back and put up a fight. 

Katie Mullane, DS and senior captains said, “I know if I have a bad play my teammates will be there to pick me up.” Sabrina Carusso, setter and senior captain, said, “This year let us learn the importance of perseverance and having eachothers back on and off the court.”