Alesia Vaccari


Alesia attended The Gilbert School in Winsted, where her team won the 2000 Class S Championship and were finalists in 2001. She was awarded Most Valuable Player in the 2000 tourney and All-State in 2000 and 2001. She was also named CT Player of the Year by the Hartford Courant in 2001. She then enrolled and graduated from Springfield College where she was setter for four years.

During her time running the office at Springfield, they won two NEWMAC Championships and played in two NCAA Regional Finals. She received many individual honors, including three All-Region honors, two honorable mention All-American honors, and was named NEWMAC Player of the Year in 2004. She continues to hold the all-time assist record at Springfield College with 5,196. Coach Joel Dearing stated upon her graduation that even with all of her accolades she would best be remembered for her “love of the game of volleyball.”

Alesia went on to share that passion as an assistant coach at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY where she was part of the Golden Knights’ 2010 Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year, helping the program in its first-ever  NCAA tournament berth. She then took the head coaching position at Simmons College in Boston, where she posted a 50-49 career record with the Sharks, reaching the Great Northeast Athletic Conference semifinals in each of her three seasons. Alesia was named the GNAC Coach of the Year in her first season at Simmons, when she led the program to a 20-10 record. In 2012, she was honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Assoc. Thirty Under Thirty Award. In 2014, Alesia was hired as head women’s volleyball coach at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.


William McCaffrey


Bill McCaffrey grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He started playing volleyball in his early twenties at the urging of this brother Dick, at the YMCA. While playing, he played with and against all the best volleyball players in the Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio..

Bill graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1959 with a B.S. Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1960 he married his wife Betty and they have three children.

The Lewis family moved to Connecticut as he began work at Pratt and Whitney Aviation. Bill started playing volleyball again at the Hartford YMCA. There he met Jim Welch and he convinced Bill to attend the New Haven YMCA. He played there and led the men’s Open Program for 25 years. They played in about 15 tournaments a year in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He also started an adult league in South Windsor that is still in existence with 25 to 30 teams playing.

Bill eventually became the United States Volleyball Association commissioner in New England for five states. He served in that capacity for about five years working with other commissioners to form an East Coast volleyball region. During that time he also began officiating at the end of his tenure, became the chief officials of the New England Region.
Bill also became the United States Volleyball association national official. For the next 25 to 30 years, he worked many USVBA tournaments all over the east coast and in many women’s college matches. Still went to the nationals every year and was on the USVBA national rating team for 10 years.

Bill retired from Pratt and Whitney after 40 years as a vice president and marketing and customer support. After his retirement, he continued to appreciate both girls and boys high school volleyball matches.

Allison Baker

Allison N. Baker

Allison was born in Connecticut but raised in Dallas, Texas and Ft Wayne, Indiana. She spent most of her childhood growing up in Ft Wayne. She was introduced to volleyball in the third grade and began playing club volleyball in fourth grade. While living in Indiana, she had the opportunity to train with elite club programs such Munciana Volleyball Club and Sports Performance Volleyball Club. Her father relocated to Glastonbury, Connecticut in 1998 where she began her high school volleyball career as a Tomahawk under Coach Steve Geryk. She made an immediate impact as a setter for the varsity team and after a few games was named the starter. During her sophomore season she was named team captain, a role she held her remaining three years. Glastonbury quickly became a volleyball powerhouse across the state securing the number one spot in the state polls for many weeks in 2001. Allison led the Tomahawks to the CCC West Conference title all four years and the CCC Conference title against rival Maloney in an exciting five game match in 2001, where she totaled 32 kills. Glastonbury made it to the state semifinal match before their season ended with an impressive 21-2 record.

During her high school career she was a four year all conference team member, the three time Allstate team member, member of the Hartford Courant all Courant team, named the 2001 East Region All-Star MVP, and the 2001-2002 Gatorade player of the year. She spent the off-season playing for Pat Ryan’s candidate husky volleyball club on their High Performance team. She joined other top players in the state such as Alesia Vaccari securing the 2002 New England region championship Allison was selected to participate in the USA Junior National High Performance training camp held in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2001 and named to the USA New England High Performance team which competed in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002.

After visiting many schools, she committed and signed with the University of Connecticut, before transferring to Providence College after her freshman season. While at Providence, she was a three year starter and named captain her senior year. She was named to numerous all-tournament teams throughout the years and the All-Independent team her senior year. Interestingly, Allison has played every position including club burial at some point during her career.

Allison married her husband Charles, a former member of the Providence College basketball team in 2012 and they are awaiting the arrival of their first baby also due in November. Allison currently works within the juvenile court as a forensic social worker. Her parents and sister were a large part of her success over the years, her father who also played basketball for Providence College passed away in 2010 after a battle with cancer and her mother now resides in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Her sister is a prominent high school basketball coach in North Carolina.

Judy Sochin

Judy Sochin is a 1971 graduate of Maloney High School. She was co captain of the Volleyball Hall of Fame coach Sandi Piantek’s first state championship volleyball team.

Judy began working voluntarily, in the Maloney athletic department in high school and has continued her association in various capacities for over 45 years. Following her graduation from Maloney, Judy attended UConn, where she played volleyball for two years on the club team, prior to its establishment as a varsity sport.

Judy received her undergraduate degree in speech /language pathology in 1975, and later received a Master’s Degree and sixth year certificate in communication disorders/speech pathology from SCSU. She was a speech pathologist in the one area school system for one year in return to Meriden where she continued as a speech/language pathologist for 14 years and several of the district’s schools, until she retired in 2012.

Judy also coached field hockey for Maloney for 13 years. She has been a member of the Hall of Fame committee since this is inception in 2003, serving as chairperson for four years, and was a member of the ninth class of Maloney Hall of Fame inductees receiving her honor in April 2014. Judy is affiliation with the volleyball Hall of Fame began with the inaugural class when she and her co captain presented Sandi Piantek with her award. She was asked to take photographs for the first group of inductees and has photographed every class of inductees since.

Paul Thees

Photo by Peter Casolino/Register Paul Thees is back as the head coach of the Amity volleyball team. Thees coached Amity for 16 seasons before resigning in 2007.

Photo by Peter Casolino/Register
Paul Thees is back as the head coach of the Amity volleyball team. Thees coached Amity for 16 seasons before resigning in 2007.

Paul played in the recreation /club volleyball program back in the late 70s at SCSU, and from his love for the game of volleyball. A few years later after graduating, he pursued his first head coaching job in 1982 at North Branford High School. He applied and was asked to meet Athletic Director Don Knickerbocker, who has since passed. Don started his career, and taught him the ropes as a beginner. Paul coached at North Bradford until 1985. His last three years at North Branford, his team 13 conference titles, played once in the quarterfinals of the state tournament and twice in the semifinals. That was just the beginning.

From 1989 through 1991 toll coached Platt High School in Meriden where his teams played once in the quarterfinals, wants in the state finals and won the state championship. Then in 1992, Paul was hired to coach at Amity Regional High School. For the next 15 years, his teams won 11 conference titles, played in the quarterfinals of the state tournament six times, the semifinals three times, the finals twice and won three state championships. After after two years coaching of trouble high school, Paul return to an 80 and 11 more conference title and played in the quarterfinals wants more.

In total, falls high school coaching record stands at 512 wins and 157 losses and 31 years. In five different schools, Paul Stevens won 15 of the titles, qualified for the state tournament 29 out of 31 seasons, played in the quarterfinals nine times, the semifinals five times, the final seven times and won four state championships. He is the only high school coach to win state championships at two different schools. He had multiple Allstate players and two Gatorade Players of the Year.

The Orange Times:  A Coaching Legend Retires After 31 Years

Richard Langer


Richard Langer started playing volleyball around 1970 in the old Southern New England YMCA league. He played in various tournaments in both New York and New England.

Five years later, Rich started coaching volleyball at Haddam-Killingworth. During his career, his teams have been to the finals of the Connecticut state volleyball tournament seven times. In 1991, his team was the Class S state volleyball champion.

Also during his career, in 2001 Rich was named the Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association Volleyball Coach of the Year.

In addition, Rich coached at the University of Rhode Island’s volleyball camp for three years, was selected Teacher of the Year for Regional School District 17 in 1998 and was inducted into the Haddam-Killingworth Hall of Fame and 2009.

Rich continues to play volleyball having played in the United States Volleyball Association’s nationals three times in the past five years. He also has played in various charity tournaments as a family with his two sons, daughter, son in law, and daughter in law.

The 2014 season is rich reminders 40th year of an outstanding volleyball career.

Middletown Press:  A memorable final season