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Sarah Katinger

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Sarah arrived at Bunnell High School in 1994. She was a dedicated basketball and softball player planning to play a sport in the fall to stay in shape. She decided to try volleyball. At tryouts the first test of the day was arm strength, and when Sarah threw the ball from the service line to the back wall of the gym, Coach Dave Jockle took notice. He not only picked her for the team, he put her on varsity.

Sarah took to this new sport, quickly developing into one of the top players in the state. She has earned honors not only from her high school and state, but she has also earned national recognition. Sarah holds the following Bunnell team records: 521 single-season and 1584 career kills; 174 single-season and 500 career aces; 288 single-season and 723 career digs. In 1994, she was named to the all-conference team and selected all-area by the Connecticut Post and the New Haven Register. Remember she was a freshman and had only played one season of volleyball. In fact Sarah was named all-conference and all-area four years in a row! In 1996 and 97 she was selected in the Connecticut Post and the New Haven Register as the Volleyball Player of the Year. She was also the New Haven Register Female Athlete of the Year in 1997.

Sarah also earned national recognition. She is listed in the National High School Sports Record Book (2006). She is ranked sixth and seventh for all-time kills in a match with 43 in 1996 and 41 in 1997. She is ranked fourth all-time for service aces in a career and she is ranked sixth all-time for service aces in a match (17 in 1997). With Sarah’s help Bunnell made it to two state finals and in 1997 they defeated Darien in the tournament, handing them their first loss in five years. Sarah was named to the first team all-state three years in a row, 1995, ‘96, and ‘97. She was a Gatorade Player of the Year in Connecticut in 1996 and 1997 and she was a Gatorade Player of the Year in New England in 1997.

After graduating from Bunnell, Sarah played volleyball at Providence College and continued her winning ways. She was a four-year starter at the outside hitter position. She was named to the Big East all-rookie team in 1998 and the All-Big East team in 1999 and 2001. She holds the all-time Providence College records for career kills, digs and attacks.

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Lisa M. Barbaro

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Lisa’s remarkable career began in 1993 at the Morgan School in Clinton. She was a three-sport athlete, playing volleyball, basketball and softball; she was outstanding in all three. During her four years there, she left an amazing legacy. Lisa was a four-year starter on the volleyball team and served as captain. In those years, her team amassed an 85-3 record, finished 22-0 in 1995 (an undefeated season for the first time in school history), won three conference championships and won the CIAC Class S State Championship four years in a row. Lisa’s contribution to her team’s success is evident in her numerous awards.  She was 2nd team All-Conference in 1994, 1st team All-Conference in ’95 and ’96. , All-Middlesex County in ’94, ’95, ’96, All-Area 1994, ’95, ’96 and 2nd team All-State in 1996.  As if this were not enough, Lisa was equally successful in her other two sports. She was captain of the basketball and softball teams as well, and she was selected to the All-Conference, All-Middlesex County, All-Area and All-State teams in BOTH of these sports. In her junior year, all three of her teams won state titles. This is believed to be a state record for the most consecutive state titles won in one year for a single high school girl’s athletic program. To cap off her career, Lisa was chosen the New Haven Register Connecticut Female Athlete of the Year in 1996, an honor she would receive again in 1997.

After graduating high school, Lisa attended Coker College in South Carolina and Southern Connecticut State University. She has continued to share her love of sports and competition by working at numerous volleyball clinics and camps, and through coaching. Lisa was head volleyball coach at Branford High School for two years, where she developed a more skilled, unified and successful program.  In 2004 she was named head women’s volleyball coach and softball coach at her alma mater, SCSU.  Her drive, dedication and disciplined coaching style have already helped to improve these programs.

Paula Astramowicz Smalac

Paula attended Platt High School in Meriden from 1975-79 during the infancy of Title IX and the growth of women’s athletics. A versatile athlete, she played volleyball, basketball and softball.  When Paula entered Platt as a freshman, volleyball had only been a varsity sport for three years.  The team finished 6-8 that year, but just three year later it would finish 15-2 and be runner-up in the CIAC Class M State finals.  Paula was a big part of that success.  A dedicated and talented athlete, she worked to develop and improve. She was a four-year varsity starter in volleyball, earning four letters and serving as co-captain her senior year. She was also an All-League team selection her sophomore, junior and senior years (there were not All-State teams in the 70’s).   Paula did not just excel in volleyball; she was a four-year varsity starter in basketball and softball as well.  She earned letters in each of these sports for four years. She has the distinction of being the first athlete at Platt to earn twelve varsity letters. Paula was also captain of the basketball and softball teams and was an All-League selection for both.

Paula received a volleyball scholarship to the University of Connecticut, no small feat since scholarships for women were rare in 1979.  She played there for three years and earned three more varsity letters. Since graduating college, Paula has continued her involvement with volleyball, playing on USVBA teams, beach doubles, and coaching.  Paula started coaching at Middletown High School in 1984, but left after one season to return to Platt to replace her former coach, Denise Amiot.  She continued to keep the winning tradition alive. In her four years there, Platt won three CIAC Class M State Championships (1985, ’86 and ’88) and was runner up in 1987.

Today Paula resides in Cheshire with her husband Michael and her two children, Brendan (11) and Lindsay (8).

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Melissa Roy

Missy’s volleyball career began in 1990 at Glastonbury High School.  She loved the game and with dedication and hard work became an outstanding player and team leader.  As a junior Missy received her team’s Coach’s award and was selected to the All-Conference team.  She was also an All-State second team selection.  In her senior year Missy was captain and the team’s Most Valuable Player.  She was again selected for All-Conference and All-State honors.  That year Glastonbury won the CIAC Class L State Championship and Missy was the tournament’s MVP.  She was also a Hartwell Award recipient.

After graduation Missy continued her volleyball career at Stetson University where she was a 4-year varsity starter.  She was team captain her senior year and team MVP.  She holds numerous records at Stetson, received the Melching Leadership Award, broke over 1000 kills and digs in a career and was named to the Academic All-Conference team for 3 years.  Even after graduating college Missy did not leave volleyball behind, she turned to coaching.  She began coaching in Florida and then returned to her alma mater Glastonbury High School where she coached the freshmen team for 3 years and has now taken over the varsity squad.

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Sally Maher

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Sally began playing volleyball at North Haven High School in 1978 for Coach Marge Dolan.  She had great enthusiasm and exceptional athletic ability and she worked hard to learn this new sport.  Her hard work paid off. Sally and her teammates won back to back state championships in 1979 and 1980.  As a junior she was selected to the All-Housatonic and All-State teams, and she repeated this accomplishment her senior year.  She also received numerous team awards.  Sally was also an outstanding basketball and softball player in high school.

After graduation Sally attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and she continued her volleyball career playing for Coach Elaine Sortino.  In 1984 her team won the ECAC Championship.  Sally was captain her junior and senior years and was team MVP her senior year.  Sally decided to share her knowledge and talents by becoming a coach.  In 1988 she coached JV volleyball at North Haven.  The next year she took over the head coaching position at Lyman Hall which she held until 1999.  She has worked at several volleyball camps and she continues to play on the CT Fossil Team.  Sally is a physical education teacher at North Haven High School.

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Patty Doolittle Giannattasio

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Patty began her volleyball career in 1974 as a freshman at Foran High School, coached by Edna Fraser. It was the first season that volleyball was played in the Fall. During her four years at Foran, her team finished fourth, third, second and won the state tournament. She lettered during her sophomore, junior and senior years and also captained the team her senior year. She was selected MVP her junior and senior years. In 1978 Patty received the Foran Athletic Assoc. Award, the Connecticut Scholar Athlete award and the Keystone Scholar Athlete Award.  She received an athletic scholarship to the University of Rhode Island, where she captained the team her Junior and senior years. She graduated with distinction with a BA in psychology.

Patty has coached volleyball at Jonathon Law High School and Fitch High School.  She initiated the volleyball program at Mitchell College in ’93 and has also coached at the US Coast Guard Academy.

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Eva Esposito

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Eva started her volleyball career at Branford High School in her sophomore year. She earned a starting position the following year. In 1987 and ’88 she was selected to the All-Housatonic Volleyball Team and was selected as Branford’s MVP.  In 1988, the team was Class M runner-up and Eva garnered Class M All-State honors.  She led her team in kills, blocks and passing average. She was an honor roll student and was listed in the Who’s Who Among High School Students in 1989. She later attended the University of Hartford on a full basketball scholarship.

Eva presently teaches physical education at Eli Whitney Technical School and is head volleyball coach at East Haven High School.

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Krista Blomquist Hall

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Krista started playing volleyball at a very young age. She was taught by her father Chet Blomquist who played collegiate volleyball at Springfield College. Her first organized team experience began in 1980 as a sophomore, when she tried out for the volleyball team at Branford High School. During her junior and senior seasons, the team, coached by Toni Cartisano, competed in the Class M state tournament and won the title both times.

Krista was voted all-league her junior and senior years and first team all-state her senior year. Upon graduation, Krista studied at the University of Connecticut where she played basketball. Krista continued volleyball after college when she began playing beach volleyball while living in south Florida. After moving to southern California in 1993, she played professionally on the Pro Bach Volleyball Tour.  In 1997 and 1998 Krista ranked 5th in the United States and in 1998 she was ranked 20th in the world.  She served as a player representative board member for USAV and was a member of the WPVA Board of Directors.  She is married to Stephen Hall and has a two-year old daughter, Kendra.

Lisa DeGioia Miller

Lisa began her volleyball career at Sheehan High School in Wallingford in 1983 where she was a varsity starter for 3 years. She played outside hitter and averaged 13 kills and 9 blocks per game. In 1985 she co-captained the team, was selected the team’s MVP and garnered first team All-State honors for Class M. Lisa was also selected as a CHSCA Scholar Athlete.

Upon graduation, Lisa furthered her education at Utica College where she earned a basketball scholarship. Now residing in Wallingford with her husband Dave, Lisa is assistant volleyball coach at Sheehan High School and is a volunteer youth volleyball coach for the town of Wallingford. She has just completed her Master’s Degree in Education and will be teaching high school English next fall.

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Nell-Ayn Aloi Lynch

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Nell-Ayn made her mark on Connecticut scholastic volleyball while at Amity Regional High School. She began in 1983 and earned her first varsity letter in 1984.

She was selected a team captain in 1986 and her team captured the Class L state titles in 1983, ’85 and ’86.  She was selected to the CIAC All-State team in ’85 and ’86.  Other honors she received while at Amity included the Amity Athlete of the Month in 1985 and the New Haven Register Athlete of the Week in 1986.

She was awarded a full athletic scholarship for volleyball at the University of Connecticut where she started all four years. She was selected the Big East co-player of the in in 1988 and Nell-Ayn was elected co-captain of the UConn team in 1990.

Nel-Ayn has coached with Debbie Chin at her “No. 1 Total Volleyball Camp”. She returned to Amity in 1992 to assist head volleyball coach Paul Thees. While working with Paul, the team won the ’94 and ’95 Class L state titles. She then moved on to become head coach of the Newtown High School volleyball team in ’96. Her team won the Class L state championship that year.

 

Newtown Bee: Nell-Ayn (Aloi) Lynch, a social studies teacher at the Newtown Middle School, will be inducted