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 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-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 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.
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 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.
Erica played at Cheshire High School from 1996 to 1999. She was a three year starter.
In 1996, her team won the SCC – Southern Connecticut Conference title. In 1997, she was a defensive specialist amassing 149 digs and 42 serving aces. Her team won the Housatonic Conference Championship and the Class L State Championship.
In 1998, playing both offense and defense, Erica had 240 kills, 160 digs, and 50 aces. Her team again won the SCC Conference title and their 2nd Class L State Championship. In addition, Erica was named to the All-Housatonic Team, the All-State 2nd Team, and the New Haven Register named her to their All-Area Team.
In 1999, her senior year, Erica finished her outstanding career with 239 kills, 149 digs and 27 aces. Her team again won their conference title in which Erica was named the Most Valuable Player. They were Class L State Run-ners Up and she was named to the All-Housatonic Team. That year, Erica was named not only First Team All-State but the Senior All-Star Team as well. The New Haven Register named her to their All-Area Team and the Hartford Courant named her Connecticut Player of the Year.
In all, Erica’s career record at Cheshire was 93 and 6. Her teams won four Housatonic titles, three Southern Connecticut Conference titles, one Class L State Runner-Up title and two Class L State Championships. She was also named to two All-Housatonic Teams, two All-State Teams, two All-Area Teams and a Senior All-Star Team.
After her distinguished career, Erica played for Springfield College and was captain in her senior year.
Madison McCaffery played at Ludlowe in Fairfield from 2007-2010. She also played basketball and lacrosse but decided in her junior year to play on a travel volleyball team and concentrate on volleyball. Concentrating on volleyball cer-tainly paid off as Madison became the captain of her team. In both her junior and senior year, Ludlowe was the runner up in not only their FCIAC Confer-ence – but also in Class LL state tournament as well.
Madison had an outstanding high school career. She finished her career with 107 career aces, 92 career blocks, 471 career digs, and 603 career kills – a Lud-lowe school record. She was recognized many times for her hard work and ac-complishments. In 2010, she was named the “Blue Streak” Player of the week and the month in her conference. She was also awarded the Most Valuable Player for the Ludlowe team and was named to the First Team All-Conference squad. Also in her senior year, she played in one of her most memorable matches. It was the semi-finals of the state tournament. Ludlowe was playing Mercy High School. It was a tight match throughout and Ludlowe was up 2 sets to 1. Madison remembers a few bad passes late in the third set which could have led them to fall apart mentally, but they stuck together as a team and were able to fight through and eventually win 3 to 2. Ludlowe finished runner up that year but Madison was named the 2010 Most Valuable Player in the State Tour-nament and was named to the Class LL First Team All-State.
In addition, Madison was named to the Senior All-Star Game by the Connecti-cut High School Coaches Association and was the 2010 Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year for Connecticut.
Madison continued playing club volleyball at the University of Delaware. In her junior and senior year, she was president of the club.
Jerry Mallory was born in Ohio. He played volleyball while he was in the Navy from 1966 to 1986. His Navy team played in many Regional Tournaments.
Jerry also began his career as a referee in 1986 in the volleyball league at the Submarine Base in Groton and continues to officiate there. Shortly after he began, Tony Aretakis suggested to him that he become a high school official. Barbara Startup trained him and he was evaluated at UConn at a pre-season scrimmage. In 1987, he was rated as a state referee and a certified line judge. In 1988, he officiated college matches which were part of the NAGWS – the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports. Jerry remembers their uniform included blue and white striped, double knit shirts that were both uncomfortable and hot! Jerry began officiating boys’ varsity matches at the beginning of boys’ high school volleyball in Connecticut.
In 1988, Jerry also began officiating girls’ high school matches and from 1992 to 1994; he served as the Officials’ Board Vice-Chair. He later officiated high school state tournaments, high school state tournament finals, as well as Division I college tournaments. He remembers marathon volley-ball tournaments at Eastern Connecticut State College when officials would walk in at 9:00 AM and leave at midnight!
From 1988 to 2014, Jerry was the Groton Park and Recreation Adult Volley-ball League Supervisor and head referee and continues to serve as the referee. In addition, from 1989 to 2009 Jerry volunteered as the coordinator / supervisor for Southeastern Connecticut Easter Seals Volleyball Marathon. In addition from 1998 to the present, he is an Executive Board Member-at-Large for the Southern New England Board of Officials.
Jerry has been involved with volleyball for 45 years as a player and official at almost every level of competitive volleyball.