Maite Mendizabal

Maite started every match for Bunnell High School for four years, 2003-2006. In that time the Lady-Bulldogs amassed a 95-5 record with three State Championships and three Southwest Conference Championships. After hitting middle her first two years, Maite was all-state stand out on the left side in her junior year and then was effective as a right side hitter in her senior year. Her career totals include 1074 kills, 122 aces, and 460 digs and 175 blocks.

In her sophomore year, Maite earned First Team All-SWC with her team winning the Class LL State Championship, defeating Cheshire High School in the finals. As a junior and senior, Maite was named First Team All-State, First Team All-SWC, and the CT Post, New Haven Register and Hartford Courant All-Area Team. Maite helped lead Bunnell to two #1 rankings in the state in 2004 and 2006.

In her senior year, Bunnell finished with a 25-0 record winning every match 3-0, never allowing a team to reach 20 points. Bunnell defeated Shelton in the Class “LL” State Championship for the second year in a row. Her play earned her the 2006 SWC tournament MVP by the attending coaches.

While playing high school volleyball, Maite was also part of the 2005 and 2006 New England Regional Champions. The 18- I Connecticut Juniors travel team consisted of elite players in the state. During her senior year, they were named 2007 #1 ranked team in the region. Maite graduated from Central Connecticut State University where she played volleyball on scholarship. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health Promotion from CCSU. Maite went on to become the assistant volleyball coach at the University of New Haven while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sports Management. While at UNH, the team won two Northeast-IO Tournament Championships, earned a trip to the 2013 NCAA Division Il Sweet 16, and in 2012 played in the NCAA Division Il Elite 8 .

Currently, Maite is teaching Physical Education in Derby, CT. She is in her fifth season as head volleyball coach at her alma mater, Bunnell High School.

Elena Lockett

Elena has been an active volleyball player with 33 years’ experience playing both high level beach and indoor volleyball. She is an active coach with 12 years’ experience coaching at the high school and club level. She serves as a camp director and private coach helping to grow the sport locally.

Elena was a 3 year varsity starter at Fitch High School, earning All State Honorable Mention and her team’s choice as Most Valuable Player in 1989. She was a Silver Medalist at Yankee Volleyball Nationals and has earned more than 20 indoor league and beach volleyball championships in New England.

Her record as a Junior Varsity coach at Fitch High School was an impressive 163-21 overall. As an assistant, she was part of 2 Conference Championship teams and the 2008 Class LL State Finalists. Elena also gives her time to young volleyball players in the club system in her area. Her teams have earned 6 Gold Medals and 3 Silver Medals in NERVA Volleyball Tournaments.

Most importantly however is how her peers, specifically two Hall of Fame members, acknowledge and admire her contribution to the sport of volleyball.

“Elena is a true competitor and her love for the game is enduring. I don’t know anyone who has sustained her level of involvement in the sport, competing and coaching over the years. ”

“Elena has been instrumental in the promotion and growth of volleyball in southeastern Connecticut. She demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities and never seeks personal recognition for her efforts.”

Kyley Reed

Kyley graduated from Rocky Hill High School in 2012. She was a member of the volleyball team for all four years. As a freshman, she was awarded Offensive Player of the Year. Her team qualified for the state tournament and advanced to the 2nd round. By her sophomore year, she earned Most Valuable Player on her team, qualifying again for the state tournament. Kyley was named to the All State First Team by area coaches. Her junior year she was again the team’s Most Valuable Player, as Rocky Hill advanced to the second round of the state tournament. Kyley was again First-Team All-State and in addition was ranked number two in the nation in hitting percentage. In her senior year, Kyley was recognized as one of the top players in the nation.

Rocky Hill was the Class M State champions. Each of their matches in the State Championship was a five set victory. In the finals, Rocky Hill defeated Joel Barlow three games to two. Kyley was again Most Valuable Player, First-Team All-State and number two in the nation in hitting percentage. In addition, she was ranked number seven in the nation for kills per set, was named the to the American Volleyball Coaches Association First-Team All-America, and was awarded The Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year.

In her career, Kyley’s statistics included 1,517 kills, a final hitting percentage of over .500, 127 blocks, almost 1100 digs, and 362 service aces. She was a six-time American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Week. Kyley also played softball in her sophomore year and participated in indoor and outdoor track her sophomore and junior years at Rocky Hill High School.

Kylee attended and graduated from Rice University in Houston, Texas where she played volleyball on a full scholarship. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Liberal Arts at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT.

Cathy D’Apice

Cathy attended Conard High School in West Hartford, CT, graduating in 1979 with both academic and athletic honors. Cathy played volleyball all four years and was co-captain her senior year, when Conard won their class CCIL division. She was a versatile athlete and was Co-Captain of Conard’s only undefeated women’s basketball team, winning their division and ultimately the State Class L Championship. She also lettered in softball and track. Her nickname was “Ice D’Apice” because she was so cool under pressure. Although fiercely competitive, she would be the first person to flash a smile on the court or give a hand to help a competitor off the floor.

Cathy attended Ithaca College, where she continued her volleyball career playing for Coach Dr. Sara Rich from 1979-1982. She was a four-year starter, and was named Captain her junior and senior years. Selected to New York All-State Women’s Volleyball First Team, Cathy also received the organization’s Most Valuable Player award. In 1983, she was named to the 1983 “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges”. Cathy loved the sport so much that in the off-season she coached and captained her intramural volleyball team. Cathy graduated a Dean’s List student in 1983, earning a BS in Business and Finance. The Ithaca Volleyball program now has an annual award in Cathy’s memory given to “the senior team member who is an outstanding student, team leader, and positive role model on and off the court”.

After graduation, Cathy continued to compete in area USVBA tournaments and was a member of the New London Volleyball Club that won the New England Women’s Open Division Regional Championship in 1988… this, one year after her diagnosis of breast cancer. She was 25 years old. Over the next several years, she continued to play in doubles tournaments along the East Coast, as well as playing in the inaugural Nutmeg State Games in 1989, and again in 1990, where she received the “Athlete of the Year” across all women’s sports at that year’s games. Cathy accomplished all this while undergoing continued treatment for breast cancer.Cathy died a year later, on September 17, 1991, a few days before her 30th birthday.

Beginning in the spring of 1996, the first annual Cathy D’Apice Memorial Volleyball Tournament was held, raising money for CT-based breast cancer research, under the leadership of Volleyball Hall of Fame member, Fran Vandermeer. The tourney featured a mix of collegiate Division I, II, and III women’s teams, along with several club teams. Participants raised over $100,000 in 20 years of play. There is now an annual research grant given in Cathy’s name by the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.Cathy is loved and missed by so many.

Cathy Vitelli

Cathy-Beth’s volleyball experience began as a player at West Haven High School. She and her team were finalists in a State Championship game and she was named to the All-State team. She also played at Southern Connecticut State College where she was a four-year starter and played in the National Tournament. She was an assistant coach at Southern in 1975.

Cathy-Beth’s career as an official began in 1972 when she worked high school matches as well as men and women’s collegiate matches and tournaments. In 2003 and continuing to the present, she has officiated scholastic girls’ matches including league and state tournaments and state final matches. She has also officiated boys’ volleyball state tournaments including state finals matches. From 2004 to the present, Cathy-Beth has served as a mentor to the Southern Connecticut Officials Board. She is an approved evaluator to assist the trainer, assigner, and official with development and training. She assists with classes and virtually every aspect of officiating enhancement and supports new and veteran officials to grow their skills and learn new ones. Also during that time until 2015, Cathy-Beth served as a trainer for the board as well, recruiting new officials and training them in play situations, conduct, management, control, and professionalism. Her responsibility included conducting clinics for education, evaluation, and certification testing of officials.

Lastly, Cathy- Beth is the rules interpreter for the board. She is responsible for presenting new rules to the Board of Officials annually. She also clarifies the rules and play situations during the season for officials and coaches. As player and coach, Cathy-Beth was preparing to begin her true calling – as an outstanding official at every level.

Mike Brienza

Mike Brienza began his coaching career at Jonathan Law high school in 1995 and coached the Eagles for twelve years. Law earned the Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division Championship in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, they were the Southern Connecticut Conference Champions. His teams qualified for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference state tournament in each season and were the CIAC Class M Runner-up in four state title games. At Law, Mike developed fourteen 1st Team All-State Players and twenty-one players who went on to play in college. In 1999 and 2003, he was recognized as the Connecticut Post and New Haven Register Coach of the Year, and in 2005 he was named the coach of the CIAC Senior All-Star Game.As successful as Mike was with the Jonathan Law Eagles, in 2007 he would take on a new challenge as head coach with the Post University Eagles and set out to turn the program around. By 2014, his team was the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Champions. They never looked back as they repeated in 2015.

They qualified for three straight NCAA Tournament appearances in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In each of those years, he had several athletes on the CACC All-Conference teams, as well as on the All-Academic teams. He coached the CACC Player of the Year in 2014, 2015, and 2016. In those same years, he also had a player on the All-East team and a player who received All-American honors. Mike was honored by National BSN Sports who named him their Coach of the year in both 2014 and 2016.

A colleague said of Mike, “Personally, I think the job he has done at Post University has been nothing short of incredible. I am not sure many in the area could have had nearly the amount of success he has. I believe his program may have been the first or one of the first programs to make the NCAA Tournament at Post. That certainly has had an impact on the university as well”.Mike also has been a Head Coach in the Connecticut Juniors Volleyball Club since 1995. His teams were the New England Regional 18-under Champions in 1996, 2004, 2006 and 2007. His record in eleven years is 410 and 95.Mike continues coaching at Post and with the Connecticut Juniors.

Duffy Lynch

Title IX – “No one person in the United States shall, on basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”

Duffy credits all her opportunities and successes to the enactment of Title IX in 1972 and Connecticut Volleyball Hall of Fame Inductees, Edna Fraser, Debbie Chin and Betsy Gilmartin, all of whom, without their tireless efforts on behalf of female athletics, evenings such as this would have never been possible.In 1973, Duffy began her career in athletics, playing volleyball, basketball and softball for Edna Fraser at Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford, Connecticut. In 1975, the Lions would win the school’s first athletic State Championship, capturing the CIAC Class M Volleyball title. Captain her senior year; Duffy led the Lions to the state semi-finals, narrowly missing a repeat. The banner, tattered and dusty continues to hang proudly in the Lion’s Den ever reminding future female leaders of when it all began.

The Lion became a Charger in 1977 receiving a scholarship to play volleyball, basketball and softball for Debbie Chin at the University of New Haven. The women’s program built on pride and perseverance would, in later years, become nationally ranked for their athletic excellence. Duffy will proudly state, “Playing for Debbie Chin is my claim to fame”The Charger became a Tiger in 1995, working with Athletic Director Betsy Gilmartin at Mercy HighSchool. Together they created a volleyball tradition of success that continues today.

In Duffy’s first season the Tigers finished 7-11, but in their second season they finished 21-3. The program has never looked back, continuing to compete in the tough Southern Connecticut Conference and the CIAC State Tournament. The Tiger became a Panther this past season as Duffy took over the volleyball program at Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven. A volleyball coaching career that spans 27 years has been highlighted by contributions such as: Deputy Commissioner Special Olympics World Games, one of the original Connecticut Junior Olympics Volleyball club coaches, Senior All-Star Game coach, Senior All-Star Committee member, CIAC Assistant Coach of the Year, and now a Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame member.

A scholarship, “PAT”, was created in memory of Patrick Launder, Duffy’s husband and Mercy’s #1 Fan, to promote Title IX where numerous players have gone on to become successful collegiate athletes, coaches and leaders in their communities. Title IX Lives On!

Cindy Fixer

Cindy Fixer earned her BS degree in Physical Education from Southern Connecticut State College and her MS degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Central Connecticut State University. Cindy coached volleyball at The Gilbert School for 32 years. Her overall record is 310 and 242. Her teams won eight Berkshire League tournament championships as well as thirteen league championships.

In addition, Gilbert played in three State Finals, winning two runner-up titles and one State Championship title. Fourteen of her players went on to play in college. She was named Outstanding Volleyball Coach of the Year for 2000-2001 by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) and was selected to coach in the 1993 & 2014 Senior Volleyball All-Star Game. She represented the school as the girls’ volleyball chairperson for the CHSCA and also served on the Senior All-Star Volleyball Game committee from its inception until 2014. In the educational setting, Cindy represented The Gilbert School by serving as treasurer of the Connecticut Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CTAHPERD) for five years and as Finance Committee Chairperson for sixteen years. CTAHPERD recognized her with a Professional Merit Award in 1999.

At Gilbert she teaches Wellness and has also taught Health Science and Math. With her colleagues, she received an Outstanding Program Award for the Wellness department’s “Parenting Awareness Program” from CTAHPERD in 2000.In her community, Cindy is a member of the Colebrook Lions Club and received their Outstanding Member Award for 2003-2004. As a club member, Cindy is the advisor for the Gilbert LEO Club, the student service club sponsored by the LIONS. She received several Service Awards from the Winsted Lions Club for being an outstanding Leo Club Advisor.