Jennifer Brigham Myshrall

Jennifer Brigham Myshrall attended Coventry High School beginning in 1992 where she was a three-sport athlete playing volleyball, basketball, and softball all four years. She originally liked basketball the most and won many awards, including the Robert E. Lee Outstanding Freshman Athlete Award, Scholar Athlete Award, Most Improved Award and the Most Valuable Player Award. Jennifer was also selected to play in numerous Connecticut High School All Star Games. During the four-years she was in high school, the Coventry Girls’ Basketball team made it to at least the state quarter finals every year. She also played Junior Nationals Basketball. Despite all these basketball accomplishments, volleyball quickly became the sport she had the most passion for.

Jennifer received her first formal volleyball instruction as a freshman at Coventry High School playing for Pete Maneggia. He was an excellent coach and his knowledge and love for the game was quickly passed on. He was also the assistant coach to Deb Adams for the three-years Jennifer played on varsity and continued to encourage her to push harder and become a better volleyball player. For three-years, under the late, great Sandy Hoffman at Bentley Volleyball Camp, Jennifer further added skill, knowledge, and increased her love of the game. By her Junior year in high school, Jennifer was a team leader in blocks and kills and was selected to play with the Eastern Connecticut State University team vs. the #2 National Pro Men’s Volleyball team. As a senior she was selected to the State All Star Team and after graduating high school competed in the Nutmeg State Games the Summer before college.

Pace University awarded Jennifer a volleyball scholarship where she went on to lead the Pace Setters to the best four-year stretch in Pace University volleyball history. Arguably the program’s best defensive player ever, she currently sits atop the record book in every blocking category. In fact, her total block mark of 708 sits 194 above second place. Of that total, 396 were solo blocks, also the most in school history.

Not only stellar on defense, Jennifer posted a .285 career hitting percentage, the third highest ever, while also ranking in the top-four in career kills, digs, and matches played. In addition to the individual numbers, Pace went a remarkable 130-39 in Jennifer’s four-years on the team. The Setters made the NCAA Tournament in all four of the seasons, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in 1996 and 1997, as well as making a run to the Elite Eight in 1998.

As a freshman, Jennifer helped the Blue and Gold to a New York Collegiate Athletic Conference Playoff title, the first championship in a decorated four-year span.  The Setters went on to win the NE10 Playoff Championships in 1997 and 1999, as well as winning the NE10 Regular-Season title in 1998. As a sophomore, Jennifer recorded 124 solo blocks, a new program record. The following season, Jennifer was named to the NCAA Northeast Regional All-Tournament First Team, as well as the AVCA All-Region, and All-NE 10 Second Team.

Jennifer saved her best work for last as a senior, being named NE10 Player of the Year, selected as the NE10 Tournament MVP and to the All-Tournament Team, and as Pace University’s Female Athlete of the Year. She broke her own solo season block record with 158, which remains the most in program history. Jennifer also posted a .320 hitting percentage and 582 kills during her senior season. Jennifer was inducted into the Pace University Hall of Fame in 2019.

Since graduating, Jennifer has worked as a Psychiatric Nurse. She has continued to play volleyball on various women’s teams, in leagues and at tournaments. Most recently playing in the Open National Championship in Dallas, Texas in 2023. Jennifer has been a volunteer coach back in her home town of Coventry, Connecticut and has played in many charity volleyball events, the most notable being with Fran Vandermeer in the Cathy D’Apice Memorial for over ten years. In 2021 Jennifer began working as a coach for the Husky Volleyball Club in Windsor, Connecticut where she has shared her knowledge, experience and love of the game with many new young volleyball players.

Nekane Mendizabal

Nekane’s passion for the sport of volleyball was evident at Bunnell High School in Stratford, Connecticut. She was part of the well documented achievements of the Bulldogs during her 2001-2004 career. As a sophomore starter in 2002, the team complied a record of 20-4, followed up by an undefeated 25-0 season in 2003 and 21-4 season in 2004 respectively.

The 2003 team has the distinction of winning every match 3-0, never allowing a team to reach more than 20 points. Throughout her career, the Bulldogs would record victories quickly winning 3-0. An unfortunate ankle injury her senior year, would keep Nekane sidelined for 10 matches. Nevertheless, she was able to amass an impressive 724 kills, 94 blocks and 100 aces at Bunnell. 

Where Nekane’s story is really told is during the 2004 post season. She was absolutely unstoppable in both the Southwest Conference and Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference State Tournaments. The Bulldogs won the tough SWC Championship as Nekane was awarded the Most Valuable Player. Bunnell would defeat Cheshire in Class LL State Championship match 3-2 where Nekane would record a staggering 47 kills on 68 swings, 12 digs and 5 aces. Those in attendance would recall it as one of the most dominant performances in state championship history. In spite of a significant ankle injury, Nekane would finish her senior season with accolades that include, Class LL State Championship MVP, Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year, Hartford Courant, Connecticut Post and the New Haven Register Player of the Year, 1st Team Southwest Conference and selected 1st Team All-State. During Nekane’s career at Bunnell, the Bulldogs were coached by Dave Jockle, a future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame member Class of 2011. Bunnell finished the 2004 season ranked as the #1 in Connecticut.

This Connecticut grown talent would next find herself playing volleyball for Southern Connecticut State University from 2006-2010. She was selected to the All-Conference team in 2006, second in the Northeast-10 in blocks per game in 2007, while leading the team in kills, aces, digs, and blocks per game again in 2007. At the conclusion of her career in 2010, Nekane was tied for first in all-time at kills with 812 and first in blocks with 351. She currently sits tied for fifth in kills and second in blocks. The team qualified for the NE10 Tournament and won a match in 2009 for the first time in program history. As the team Captain, Nekane led the Owls to win fifty matches in her final two seasons, the highest two-year stretch for the program in thirty years.

Nekane’s passion for volleyball remains steadfast as she is currently coaching both high school and club in Miami, Florida. In 2023, her USAV Junior Nationals 14U team finished #1 in the Florida Region. The Southwest Miami Senior High School girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams have produced numerous District Champions, as well as two Boys’ State Championship Runner up appearances in 2019 and 2021. Currently, Nekane spends her time coaching volleyball, teaching high school weight training courses, and spending as much time with her family as possible.

Sandy Doski

In a career that spans over four decades, Sandy Doski credits the sport of volleyball for providing a great community to raise her children Abbey and Jeremy. Her passion for volleyball created lifelong friends and it was during a grass volleyball tournament that she would meet her future husband Gary of thirty-four years. In the Fall of her freshman year at New Milford High School, Sandy found herself trying out for the girls’ volleyball team in part because it did not require a lot of running! Head coach Bill Kraft selected Sandy to the team and together they embraced their pursuit of knowledge and passion for the sport of volleyball.

While attending the Total #1 Volleyball Camp run by future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame member, Class of 1998 Debbie Chin, Sandy would share her experiences with her high school team. A true coach in the making. In 1980, during Sandy’s senior year,

Northeastern University began the recruiting process and would eventually offer Sandy a scholarship to play volleyball. The opportunity to play at Northeastern University would have a lasting impression upon Sandy. She would over the years commit herself to give back to the volleyball community that changed her life for the better. In 1987, while working in her hometown of New Milford, Sandy was offered the junior varsity coaching position at New Milford High School. She would find herself back on the sidelines with her former high school coach Bill Kraft. A few years later, John MacMillan persuaded her to join him in coaching the junior varsity at New Fairfield High School.

In 1994, the lure of grass volleyball tournaments proved too strong to resist. Sandy and her husband Gary took over running the tournaments where they had originally met. With an infant and a toddler in tow, she would continue to coach at New Fairfield High School. Sandy remarks fondly, “my kids are the true definition of gym rats”. After thirteen years of coaching at New Fairfield High School, Sandy began coaching at Newtown High School where her daughter Abbey attended. Coaching the junior varsity and being an assistant varsity coach to Tom Czaplinski, Sandy would coach her daughter Abbey for four years all the way to a CIAC Class LL State Championship her senior year in 2012. In her attempt to support her son Jeremy, Sandy would retire from coaching and become a volleyball referee. That was in 2012 and eleven years later, she is still climbing those stands with a whistle and her red and yellow cards in her back pocket.

Next on tap for this volleyball enthusiasts would be creating the boys’ volleyball program at Newtown High School in 2015. With thirty athletes trying out, the stage was set. The first season saw the Night Hawks go 3-13, but this would soon change. In the next few years under the coaching of Sandy, the boys’ volleyball team would win two Southwest Conference Championships. Sandy would again team up with her son running the outdoor grass tournaments and coaching at the local club. Partnering with the outdoor grass program she joined her son in raising money for the Nectar Fund, an organization that awards volleyball scholarships.                             

With gratitude Sandy remarks, “volleyball has been the source of many great things in my life, and I could not have done it without the support of so many people over the years. Staying involved in the sport as I got older was a way for me to stay connected to the world that gave me so much joy. I love volleyball and feel blessed to be able to pay it forward”.

Stacy Rivoira

A Bristol, Connecticut native and 1988 Bristol Eastern High School graduate, Stacy Rivoira was a four-year participant in the volleyball, basketball, and tennis programs. She was a three-year starter and senior captain in all three sports. While at Bristol Eastern, Stacy was a member of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference State Championship teams in basketball her junior year and in volleyball her senior year. Upon graduating, Stacy went on to play volleyball at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. A four-year starter for the Skyhawks she was named captain her senior year, as well as being selected to the Northeast All Conference team.

Stacy would continue her athletic career as a volleyball coach at her alma mater Bristol Eastern, coaching for twenty-three seasons, the last thirteen as a varsity head coach. She was an assistant coach to Gail Ericson a future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame member

Class of 2009, winning the 2005 CIAC Class L State Championship. In 2006, her first year as the head varsity coach, the Lancers went 25-0 and won the CIAC Class L State Championship. In those thirteen seasons, her teams made it to the CIAC State Tournament quarterfinals or better eleven times, won twelve Central Connecticut Conference South Championships, four Central Connecticut Conference Championships, and two CIAC Class L Championships, in 2006 and 2012. 

During her career at Bristol Eastern, Stacy coached over forty-six All-Conference players, sixteen CIAC All State players, and one Hartford Courant Player of the Year. She complied an overall record of 248-56, posting a 143-5 record in the CCC South matches. She went undefeated in the CCC South her final eight seasons, winning her last ninety matches. Stacy was inducted into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.

Stacy is currently in her twenty-fourth year of teaching. The past sixteen of those years have been in kindergarten. For her, teaching kindergarten and coaching high school athletes was a balancing act that never got old. Each of them made her appreciate the other in the most unexpected ways. Trading hats each year between being a mother to three of her own children, a teacher to a class of five-year old’s, and a coach to a team of teenagers would prove to be her passion.

Stacy credits her father, Dave Mills, on being a clear role model and influential coaching figure in her life. Her dad, a football coach at Bristol Eastern High School for twenty-six years, consistently demonstrated strong moral character, maintained high expectations, a tireless work ethic, and an undeniable desire to make a difference in every life he touched. He demanded accountability and worked hard to be a knowledgeable and educated coach who passionately displayed his love of coaching whenever he stepped on the field.

Coral Richardson

Coral Richardson began playing volleyball in 1974, her senior year at Bristol Eastern High School. In 1975, she went on to play volleyball at Southern Connecticut State College for

four-years. The Owls won the 1977 New England Volleyball Championships. Coral also played basketball for four-years and softball for one year at SCSC. Upon graduation, she continued to compete in numerous tournaments traveling throughout the Northeast with the New England Yankee Volleyball Association.

In 1990, Coral began to compete in National USA Volleyball tournaments. She played in over fifteen tournaments located throughout the United States and was fortunate enough to bring back medals for over half of those tournaments. For the past twelve-years, Coral has competed in the Huntsman’s World Senior Games in Utah and has been awarded six Gold medals, two Silver medals and two Bronze medals. A highlight in Coral’s senior career was to qualify for the

Senior USA team that traveled to New Zealand to compete in the World Master’s games. Coral continues to perform at a high level achieving numerous victories in the beach and grass volleyball circuit.

During the 1980’s, Coral began coaching volleyball at Bristol Central High School, as well as AAU and USA Juniors Club in Connecticut. A coaching career that spanned over two decades, Coral loved growing the sport of volleyball, until she resigned in 2001. Coaching Track and Field at the high school level for thirteen-years has solidified Coral’s commitment to scholastic athletes. Over the past twenty-years, Coral has been officiating high school, AAU, USA Club and NCAA volleyball matches.  

For the past five-years, Pickle Ball has been a passion for Coral. She has played in several tournaments and won a Gold medal, two Silver medals and two Bronze medals respectively.

Coral is quoted as saying,

“All the sports and teams that I have had the luxury to play on specifically the sport of volleyball helped me grow as a person and athlete and provided me with positive influences in my life. When you love something, it is hard not to strive to do your very best.”

Ed Adajian

Growing up in West Hartford, Connecticut Ed attended both Conard High School and Hall High School. His interest in volleyball began in the Summer of 1969 at Sound View Beach in Old Lyme, Connecticut. “There was a net set up on the sand between two wooden poles. I found myself drawn to the game, even though it was (right back at you) volleyball.” Upon graduating from the University of Hartford in 1979, Ed joined the West Hartford Continuing Education Adult Volleyball program. This proved more organized and in two years he began instructing sessions.

Born out of this experience, in 1986 Ed took over the Hall High School girls’ volleyball program.

In 1990, Ed began his officiating career, while still coaching. Barbara Startup a future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame Founder and inductee Class of 2011, would prove to be a key mentor with her vast knowledge of the sport. While attending numerous coaching and officiating clinics over the years, Ed credits numerous people for having influenced his career. They include Rick Rowey, Boo Brennan, Joel Dearing, the late Bill McCaffrey, as well as Fran Vandermeer, to name only a few.

Some highlights of Ed’s officiating career include doing lines at the United States Nationals in 1995 located at the Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, as well as being a linesperson for a match between a semblance of the United States Men’s National Volleyball Team vs. the Ukrainian Men’s National Team. Ed reflects “I remember that if I so much as blinked, I missed the play. That’s how fast paced the play was. After that experience, doing lines was a walk in the park!” Moving on to the collegiate level, Ed was a member of the Professional Association of Volleyball Officials also referred as the P.A.V.O.

Being selected to officiate the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference State Tournament Finals is considered to be one our states highest achievements. Ed was selected to officiate the CIAC State Tournament Finals for both girls’ and boys’. Over the years, Ed found himself officiating numerous Juniors Club and AAU Tournaments throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A member of the Connecticut Board of Volleyball Officials since 1990, Ed has participated in the training of new officials and currently enjoys attending both high school and college matches as a spectator and student of the sport. “A good official never stops learning” is Ed’s philosophy. Volleyball today remains one of Ed’s true passions!


Despina Soennichsen

Ryan Soennichsen presents Despina Soennichsen

Despina Soennichsen (nee Morris) played volleyball for Amity High School and continued her career at UCONN, winning a Big East Championship in her sophomore year.  In her 4 years at Amity, the team had a regular season record of 70-2.  After losing in the Class L finals in Despina’s sophomore year, Amity went on to win the Class L title in her junior & senior years.

While at Amity, Despina was named All-SCC her junior and senior years.  In her senior year, Despina was also named to the New Haven Register All-Area team, and awarded All State honors after tallying 198 kills, 91.4 service percentage, and was a dominant middle blocker for a team that did not drop a single game until the state finals, where they knocked off Southington 3-1.

Despina credits much of her success to Cathy Simmons, who was her older brother’s high school coach at Amity at the time.  She believed in and encouraged Despina to play at a young age when no other younger kids were playing, and allowed Despina to participate in camps and programs meant for older players.

Additionally, Despina would like to thank Nell-Ann Lynch (nee Aloi), and Paul Thees.  Nell was the Amity JV coach at the time, and as a former UCONN player herself, gave Despina the confidence and encouragement to pursue her volleyball career at the collegiate  level.  As the head coach at Amity, Paul Thees oversaw the team to much of its success.

Directly from college, Despina was hired as the assistant coach at Quinnipiac University and also started coaching for Connecticut Juniors Volleyball.  She continued to play volleyball at the CT Sports Center in Woodbridge, where she met her future husband, Ryan. 

Despina was also a stand our basketball player at Amity, named captain her senior year.

Currently, Despina is a special education paraprofessional in the Wilton school system, and still coaches for Connecticut Juniors Volleyball when her schedule allows.

Lisa Cirmo Peterson

Lisa Cirmo Peterson

Lisa Cirmo Peterson

Lisa Cirmo Peterson played for Cheshire High School and was coached by Cynthia Hitchcock from 1976-1978. In 1978, Lisa was chosen captain of the team.

In 1976, Cheshire volleyball captured the Housatonic League championship and won the Connecticut Class M title.  In 1977, Cheshire once again won both the league and state championships and, in 1977, Lisa was selected as a member of the All-Housatonic league.

Lisa joined her team to tour Poland in July 1976 playing exhibition volleyball, with Debbie Chin coaching the team.  Cheshire was selected to participate in these “friendly” games in recognition of Coach Hitchcock’s legendary win-loss record.

Cynthia Hitchcock also coached Lisa for Cheshire High School’s track team where she was team captain in 1978 and 1979.  In 1978, Lisa was honored with the Kimberly and Sandra Hitchcock Memorial Award for Sportsmanship.

In 1979, Lisa entered the University of Missouri and was invited to try out for the Division 1 volleyball team as a walk-on player.

Lisa graduated from the University of Missouri and earned a graduate degree from                    St. Joseph University. Her 30-year professional career includes Food and Nutrition Editor for several magazines and a registered dietitian.

Jeanne Cooper

Jeanne Cooper

Jeanne Cooper is a lifetime sports enthusiast. Playing Volleyball, Field Hockey, Basketball and Softball all four years at North Babylon High School in New York. Captain her senior year on the volleyball team, Jeanne credits her coach Marilyn Cross for instilling in her athlete’s a true sense of sportsmanship and an unwavering competitive fire to “never give up”.

Her collegiate career began at Southern Connecticut State College. Playing volleyball for future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Famer, Lou Albrecht (Class of 2000) and then managed the team under Joan Barbarich another Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Famer (Class of 2000). Both are experiences that solidified her path of excellence. Following up her collegiate career, Jeanne became the Assistant Volleyball Coach at the University of Bridgeport working along side Cindy Laughlin.

The next 16 years, would find Jeanne at the helm of the Hillhouse High School Girls Volleyball team. Coaching the Bulldogs to numerous District League Titles and CIAC State Tournament appearances. In 1982, Hillhouse reached the State Class M Finals against Branford High School. Capping the season off with a ranking of 3rd in the state.

During her high school coaching career, Jeanne was selected as the Head Coach for the Connecticut East All-Star Team. Furthering her commitment to the sport she was a member of the CIAC Volleyball Committee and served as the CIAC Volleyball Tournament Director. In 2002 she stepped down as the Athletic Director at Hillhouse High School to become the

Director of Health Physical and Athletics for the Hamden Public Schools. After a brief retirement, Jeanne became the Director of Athletics for the Laurelton Hall College Preparatory School for Girls.

Jeanne Cooper’s career in athletics spans over 40 years. Including serving on the Southern Connecticut Conference Executive Committee and the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors Executive Committee. She is also a recipient of the Northeast Women’s Hall of Fame Award, the Robert M Duncanson Meritorious Service Award from the CIAC and recognized of by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association for service of 20 years.

In addition, Jeanne has been awarded the “Pathfinder Award” presented by the National Association of Girls and Women in Sports. She also received from the Women and Families Center of Central Connecticut the prestigious recognition of the “Women in Leadership Award”.

Currently residing in The Villages Florida, Jeanne finds herself playing golf, pickleball and mahjong. She volunteers for a non-profit “Friends of SoZo Kids Inc. assisting children living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest, Board member of the Open Circle MCC church and Captain of the Hacienda Hills Village Cup Team.

Ann Marie Bahantka

Ann Marie Bahantka

Ann Marie Bahantka is a graduate of Horseheads High School, and she lettered in volleyball, basketball, softball and track. She represented Central New York Region at three Empire State Games before attending college where she played for the University of New Haven under legendary head coach Debbie Chin!

Ann Marie Bahantka was a key contributor to three New Haven women’s volleyball teams that reached the NCAA postseason, including trips to the Elite Eight in both 1985 and 1988.

Highlighting her junior campaign, Bahantka led the 1987 Chargers in kills (253), hitting percentage (.257) and assists (680). The following year as a senior, she led the Blue and Gold in kills, assists, digs and blocks en route to a 44-6 record and Most Valuable Player honors at the NCAA Regionals. A four-year starter, she earned All-New England Collegiate Conference honors three times and a pair of AVCA All-Region nods.

The Chargers went 141-38 during Bahantka’s four-year career with four NECC Championships. She finished her career with 1,515 assists, 704 kills, 519 digs and 205 blocks.

After graduation, she took over as head coach of Quinnipiac University and led the team to a then-record 32 wins as well as the Northeast-10 regular season and tournament championships. In 1992, she was chosen as the Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year. During her five-year tenure at QU she accumulated over 115 wins.

She has been inducted into the Horsehead’s High School Hall of Fame as well as the University of New Haven Hall of Fame.

I never intended to coach (Debbie Chin made me do it) but I was grateful to have the opportunity to give back. Some of my favorite moments were in Costa Rica, Barbados, St Thomas, New Haven middle schools and throughout the Northeast running and participating in clinics to promote Volleyball. I loved practice, training and teaching possibly more than the matches.

Ann Marie’s biggest influence was International Volleyball Hall of Famer, Debbie Green. “She was the reason I wanted to be a setter! She wasn’t the biggest but she led our Olympic teams with poise, dignity and a fierce competitiveness. My greatest moment was meeting her at the national championships (thank you Fran Vandermeer). She was just as classy if not more in person.”

Ann Marie is the co-owner of The Photography Bar and Executive Director of Production Services for Overabove in Chester, CT. She resides in Manchester, New Hampshire with her partner Holly and their canine son Franklin.