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VOLLEYBALL 2013


Congratulations to Blair Ludoviconi, Jill Moran and Danielle Bertolini on being named captains of the 2014 team. 

Congratulations to Leah Morrissey and Talon Yahaya on being named to the Southern Connecticut Conference All-Quinnipiac Division team. 

Law sweeps Westies
Solid play early not enough in loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 7, 2013) –
 With the second half of the season under way, West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren was looking for better play to lead her team into the postseason. Coldren will have to wait a little longer.
Two games into the second half, the Westies are still searching for a win. Monday evening at home saw the Westies battle early before falling to Law, 3-0 (25-18, 25-23 and 25-16).
“Tonight’s loss was disappointing,” Coldren said after her team fell to 4-8. “After we lost the first game, we fixed most of our mistakes and had them right where we wanted them. They picked their game up and we panicked and let them take that game from us.  
“We need to learn from this loss, figure out how to stay calm and push through a game and get the win.”
The Westies were in a close battle throughout the first game, but could not get the point to put them out front. Law capitalized and won the game by seven points.
The second game was a different story as the Westies battled all the way through. When Law picked up its intensity, the Westies had no answer and fell by two points.
The third game was all Law as the Milford school had leads of 13-3, 16-7 and 20-14 before finally putting the Westies away with the final three points.
Sydney Mursko and Leah Morrissey led the West Haven defense with a combined 28 digs. Mursko had 15 digs and Morrissey was solid on both sides, with 13 digs and 12 assists.
Talon Yahaya had 6 kills and 2 blocks, Blair Ludoviconi had 5 digs and 4 aces, Kayley Carr added 5 kills, 4 digs and 2 blocks and Danielle Bertolini had 4 digs and 2 kills.“Talon played extremely well at the net, and our defense, especially Sydney’s (Mursko) was on point,” Coldren said. “We need to take the positives out of this match and use them to push through the rest of the week.”

Mini Streak Over
WH falls to Shelton to drop to 4-7
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 4, 2013) –
 Having won two matches in a row and three of its last four going into Friday evening’s match with Shelton, the West Haven volleyball team was starting to get on a roll. Head coach Kate Coldren hoped that role would continue inShelton.
Unfortunately for Coldren and the Westies, the streak ended at a short two matches as the Westies could not contend with the Gaels, falling quickly in three games.
West Haven was out played from the start and never caught up in a 25-10, 25-13, 25-16 loss at Shelton. The setback dropped the Westies to 4-7 on the year and was not exactly the way Coldren had hoped to start the second half of the season.
Leah Morrissey, who has had an excellent season, continued to play well. With West Haven only picking up 39 total points, Morrissey ran the offense with 12 assists. She also played well on the defensive side with seven digs.
Talon Yahaya led the Westies with seven kills.
Nicole Beard was the key to Shelton’s offense with 16 assists, Francersca Testani had 13 kills and Gina Orazetti added 7 aces.  The trio was just as good defensively for the Gaels as Testani had eight digs and Orazetti added seven digs. 

On a Roll
West Haven improves to 4-6 with second straight win
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 2, 2013) –
 West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren wants her team in the postseason. While this goal may not have looked good early in the season, it is looking better as of late.
With a thrilling 3-2 victory over Wilbur Cross Wednesday evening in New Haven, the Westies have won three of their last four matches and have improved to 4-6.
“I’m really looking forward to the second half of the season and getting a few more wins,” Coldren said. “We need to work hard and get to our next goal, which is making it to the postseason.”
After winning the first two games against the Governors, West Haven watched as Cross rallied to force a fifth and deciding game. In exciting fashion, the Westies pulled out the fifth game to prevail 25-23, 25-12, 11-25, 21-25 and 15-11.
“I am very happy we pulled this one out,” Coldren said. “We won the first and second game and then Cross stepped its game up and we didn’t match them. As a result, they took the next two games and it took us until the fifth game to get our game back. We regrouped as a team and realized we would have to work hard to get this win.”
Leah Morrissey and Danielle Bertolini played big roles in the victory. Morrissey was solid running the offense with 19 assists and was just as good on defense with 14 digs.
Bertolini also refused to let any ball hit the floor. Her all out effort produced 18 digs and kept West Haven’s offense going.
“Danielle was amazing in the back row tonight,” Coldren said of Bertolini. “She was determined to get every single ball that came across the net up and playable. Our hitters got things going at the net, especially Kayley (Carr). With such good passing, she was able to get great sets from Leah (Morrissey) and put the ball down.”
Not to be lost in the mix was a solid effort by Sydney Mursko, who also played well on defense with 13 digs and added six kills on offense.
Alex Young played well defensively with seven digs and Blair Ludoviconi and Rania Abu-Sitteh each had four digs.
Kayley Carr was strong up front with eight kills and Talon Yahaya added six kills and four aces in the win.West Haven squeaked out the first game by two points before cruising in the second game. Cross reversed course in the third game to win by 14 points and held on in the fourth game to win by four points, forcing a deciding fifth game.

Westies thump Green Dragons
West Haven defeats Hamden to improve to 3-6
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 26, 2013) –
 West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren has said her team is a work in progress. The Westies showed the hard work is paying off Thursday evening in Hamden.
After losing the first game to the Green Dragons, West Haven rallied to win the next three games in a 3-1 defeat of Hamden. West Haven won its second game in three decisions to improve to 3-6 with a 14-25, 25-14, 25-12, 25-22 win. 
"It was a great win," Coldren said. "We started off slow, underestimated Hamden and lost the first game. We regrouped, pulled it together and did what we had to do to get this much needed win. 
Danielle Bertolini led the way with 8 aces and 5 digs for West Haven. Kayley Carr added 4 aces and 4 kills in the win. 
"Danielle Bertolini did extremely well and led the team with her serving," Coldren said. "My hitters held their own against Hamden's tough front row. They blocked well and put the ball away when we needed them to." 
Alex Young had 4 digs, Talon Yahaya added 3 aces, 3 kills and 2 blocks and Leah Morrissey had 8 assists. 
"This week we only have two games, but they will be tough ones," Coldren said. "With Wilbur Cross on Wednesday and Shelton on Friday, we are going to have to work hard in practice to prepare. We need to tweak some things to get prepared for the second half of the season."

Work in Progress
WH falls to 2-6 with loss to Mercy
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 25, 2013) –
 West Haven coach Kate Coldren admits her team is a work in progress. That does not mean the losses are any easier.
Struggling to close out the match, West Haven fell to Mercy Wednesday evening in four games. The Westies dropped their fourth contest in five matches with a 25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 25-14 decision against Mercy.
“This was a tough loss tonight,” Coldren said after her team fell to 2-5. “We definitely should have gotten the win. We were ahead almost the entire game three and struggled to pass and made some silly errors at the end which allowed them back in the game. We seemed to dwell on mistakes after that and did not fight for it in game four.”
After a close first game which Mercy prevailed by five points, the Westies won their only game of the match in the second. A game which went back and forth saw West Haven prevail late by four points. 

































Despite the efforts of Leah Morrissey, West Haven fell to Mercy, 3-1, September 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
The third game was a different story. The Westies held the lead for the majority of the game, but could not close out the Tigers.
Needing five points, the Westies could not seal the deal. Mercy fought back, taking advantage of several West Haven errors, and pulled out the swing game.
“They all played a heck of a game defensively and served extremely well,” Coldren said. “We played smart. We just didn’t finish when we needed to. Sydney (Mursko) played really well in the back row and Talon (Yahaya) led the way at the net.”
Mercy’s rally in the third game seemed to take plenty of steam out of the Westies. Mercy jumped out to a quick lead and pulled away for the 11-point victory.
“We are still a work in progress,” Coldren said. “We need to regroup and get ready for tomorrow’s game against Hamden.”Leah Morrissey led West Haven with 11 assists, 6 digs, 3 aces and 1 kill. Danielle Bertolini had 13 digs, Sydney Mursko had 11 digs, 6 aces and 2 kills, Alex Young and Blair Ludoviconi each had 6 digs and Talon Yahaya had 7 kills. 

Streak Over
Westies defeat EH to snap 3-game skid
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 23, 2013) –
 West Haven head coach Kate Coldren was hoping for a team effort after her team lost three straight matches. Coldren got what she was looking for Monday evening.
Behind the setting of Leah Morrissey, the defense of Danielle Bertolini and Sydney Mursko and the offense of Talon Yahaya, West Haven rallied to defeat East Haven 22-25, 25-23, 25-21 and 25-14 at West Haven High.
“Tonight was an amazing win that we needed badly,” Coldren said after her team improved to 2-5. “They are realizing they need to work hard and every single person on the team needs to make their contribution. These teams aren’t going to let us win. They have to want it and work for it.”
With the match even at one game apiece, West Haven rallied in the third game. Trailing 17-15, Yahaya’s block got West Haven within one point.
Mursko evened the game with an ace before errors by each team brought the game to 18-18. Yahaya gave West Haven a 19-18 lead with an ace, before East Haven took a 21-19 lead.
Kayley Carr then came up big for the Westies. Three kills and a block by Carr gave West Haven a 23-21 lead before an East Haven error and a long West Haven rally ended the third game. 

















Kayley Carr. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
“Danielle (Bertolini), Kayley (Carr) and Talon (Yahaya) really stepped up tonight,” Coldren said. “Talon and Kayley were a force at the net and Danielle’s defense was almost perfect.
“All the girls came through in this win tonight. I am so proud of how they played and their hard work in practice is really starting to pay off.”
The Westies took control of the match in the fourth game and never looked back. Taking an early lead, West Haven pulled away and won the decisive game by 11 points.
Morrissey led West Haven with 10 assists, 9 digs, 3 kills and 2 aces. Bertolini added 11 digs and 3 aces, Carr had 6 aces and 4 kills and Mursko had 9 digs, 3 aces and 2 kills. 
Alex Young also had 7 digs, Rania Abu-Sitteh had 4 digs and Blair Ludoviconi had 3 digs and 2 assists. 

Off the Pace
Westies fall to Sacred Heart, 3-1
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 19, 2013) –
 One night after playing one of its best matches of the season, the West Haven volleyball team was hoping to use a loss against Law as a stepping stone.
Unfortunately for the Westies, the only step they took was back. Having used plenty of energy just 24 hours earlier in a five-game thriller, the Westies could not hang around with Sacred Heart Academy, falling 25-17, 25-27, 25-12 and 25-16 Thursday evening in Hamden.
“After last night’s game, I was hoping the girls would use that momentum to dominate tonight’s match,” Coldren said after her team fell to 1-5. “Unfortunately, they seemed tired and it showed. They made some silly mistakes and struggled with communication. They fought to take the second game and I think they used all the energy they had left. We struggled with passing and got frustrated. We can’t win if we don’t pass.”
West Haven battled but fell by eight points in the first game before rallying in the second game to post the victory. That energy used in the second game seemed to be all West Haven had left as the Westies fell easily in the final two games.
“We need to regroup over the weekend and get ready for next week’s games,” Coldren said. “We need to figure out how to get out of this rut and start winning.
“Every night, I see improvement in different aspects of our game. We just need to put it all together.”Leah Morrissey continues to play well as she finished with 13 digs, 10 assists, two kills and one ace. Sydney Mursko had 12 digs, Blair Ludoviconi had six digs and three aces, Kayley Carr added five kills and Rania Abu-Sitteh and Alex Young each had three digs.

Law Prevails
Westies drop tough 3-2 decision
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 18, 2013) –
 The West Have volleyball team was hoping to get on a winning streak after starting the season with one win in four matches. That streak will have to wait.
In what may have been its most competitive match of the young season, West Havenfell to Jonathan Law 3-2 Wednesday evening in Milford. Alternating games, West Haven fell 25-15, 11-25, 25-14, 23-25 and 15-12.
“It was a very exciting game,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team fell to 1-4. “The girls came ready to play and are starting to realize that they need to work together in order to be successful. They can’t rely on one or two people to carry them. It has to be a team effort. I was very pleased with their play even though we came out on the losing side of the game.”
While the first three games were not close in scores, the Westies battled with their backs to the wall in the final two games. The fourth game saw West Haven battle throughout before prevailing by two points.
The fifth game was just as close, but Law came out on top to pull out the victory.
Leah Morrissey was strong throughout the contest as she finished with 15 digs on the defensive side and 11 assists, four kills and two aces on the offensive side.
Sydney Mursko was impressive on defense as she had 23 digs. Danielle Bertolini and Blair Ludoviconi each added 10 digs, Talon Yahaya had six kills, three aces and three blocks and Alex Young had six digs.
“Leah and Sydney played extremely well,” Coldren said. “They played smart volleyball and made good decisions.“Defensively, they were everywhere they needed to be and read the Law hitters very well. Talon had a great all around game. She was strong and consistent at the net and served well.”

















West Haven and Rania Abu-Sitteh (blue jersey) played well on defense but could not get going on offense in a 3-0 loss to Shelton, September 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

Slow Start
Westies fall to 1-3 with loss to Shelton
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 16, 2013) – 
After picking up its first win of the season Friday afternoon against Platt Tech, the West Haven volleyball team was looking to ride the momentum into Monday evening’s battle with Shelton.
Unfortunately for the Westies, that momentum was nowhere to be found. Getting off to a slow start, the Westies has to continue to battle back and fell to the Gaels 25-17, 25-21 and 25-16 at West Haven High.
“We started off slow and waited too long to put it all together,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team fell to 1-3. “This is a bad cycle that we need to figure out a way to break.
“Our offense is imperative to us winning. My hitters cannot end a match with two or three kills in order for us to be successful. We need to get our passing in order and hopefully the rest will fall into place.”
The Westies did not get out of the gates quickly in the first half and fell by eight points. West Haven inched closer in the second game before falling by four points and finally dropped the third game by nine points.
Leah Morrissey led the Westies on both sides of the ball as she had 11 assists and two aces on offense and nine digs on defense.
Sydney Mursko and Danielle Bertolini also played well on defense as Mursko had 14 digs and Bertolini had 12 digs in defeat. Blair Ludoviconi added six digs and Rania Abu-Sitteh had five digs. 

















West Haven's Danielle Bertolini has one of her 12 digs in a loss to Shelton, September 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
The telling part of the match came with the low kill totals on the team. Talon Yahaya led the team with just four kills, while Mursko added three kills.“Leah and Sydney both played very consistent volleyball and worked extremely hard tonight to try get something going,” Coldren said. “The rest of the team needs to follow their lead.”

















Taylor Lambert with a dig against Shelton, September 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

















Blair Ludoviconi led West Haven to its first win ofthe year against Platt Tech, September 13, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

In the Win Column
WH beats Platt Tech for first victory of year
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 13, 2013) –
 After losing the opening two matches of the season, the West Haven volleyball team was looking to get on the winning track. A dominant performance in Milford Friday evening did exactly that.
Led by the serving of Blair Ludoviconi and Sydney Mursko and the solid defensive play of the entire team, West Haven picked up its first win of the year with a 25-7, 25-15, 25-9 decision over Platt Tech. With the win, West Haven improved to 1-2 on the season.
“The team played very well,” West Haven head coach Kate Coldren said. “They stayed focused, worked together and pushed through for the first win.”
In what was a total team effort Mursko and Ludoviconi led the way as Mursko had eight aces at the service line and Ludoviconi seven. Ludoviconi also had four digs. 
Leah Morrissey ran the offense with eight assists, and Kayley Carr and Talon Yahaya each had four digs in the win.

















Talon Yahaya played well against Platt Tech, September 13, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
“All of the girls had very good all around games,” Coldren said. “This is how they need to play throughout the season in order to be successful and win.
“The goal is to carry over the momentum from this win into next week because we have some very tough matches coming up.”
West Haven wasted no time setting the tone of the match, jumping out to a big lead in the first game and cruising to the victory. After winning by 10 points in the second game, West Haven cruised to another win to close out the match in the third game.  

Foran blanks Westies
West Haven falls to 0-2 with 3-0 loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 12, 2013) –
 The West Haven volleyball team was looking to get in the win column Thursday evening. After opening with a loss to Lyman Hall, the Westies felt a few adjustments here and there would right the ship.
Those adjustments are still in progress. Against a solid Foran team, the Westies fell 25-13, 25-13 and 25-16 Thursday evening in Milford to drop to 0-2 on the season. Foran improved to 1-1.
"The team in general played very flat," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "There was very little energy so we had a difficult time getting things going. Foran had some verey strong servers and we struggled with passing, therefore we were not able to run our offense. 
"It was a little disappointing because I thought they would be more pumped to play after our opening loss on Tuesday."
Leah Morrissey led the West Haven offense with 10 assists, while Sydney Mursko played well on the defensive side with 10 digs. Morrissey also added six digs and Talon Yahaya had six kills in the loss. 
Danielle Bertolini, Alex Young and Blair Ludoviconi each had four digs in the loss for the Westies. 
"In general, the team needs to work together and communicate better," Coldren said. "They need to recognize when certain players we rely on are struggling and step up their own game. That's what being a team is all about." 
The Westies were unable to stop the trio of Abby Amann, Fallon Bevino and Janae Owen as the three combined for 22 kills. Amann and Bevino also combined to deliver nine aces as West Haven struggled from the start.

Just Short
West Haven falls to Lyman Hall in opener
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 10, 2013) –
 In hopes of getting off to a quick start to the 2013 season, theWest Haven volleyball team knew it was in for a battle against Lyman Hall in the season opener Tuesday evening. In what was a hard fought match, the Westies came up just short, dropping a 25-21, 19-25, 25-19, 25-22 decision at West Haven High. 
"The girls played very well and never gave up on any of the games," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "Unfortunately, they got themselves in a hole in all three games we lost and had to try to come back."
The Westies battled throughout but could not close out the games. After a four-point loss to start the match, the Westies followed with a solid second game.
With the game even at one game each, West Haven fell by six points in the swing game, then dropped a tight fourth game by three points. 
"Not letting so many points get away from us in a row is something we clearly need to work on," Coldren said. "No question, it is a match we can build from and fix our little errors. Against Foran, we need to come out strong and play consistent volleyball." 
Leah Morrissey led the Westies on both the offensive and defensive sides. Offensively, Morrissey ran the offense with 11 assists. On the defensive side, she had 14 digs.
Danielle Bertolini also played well for the Westies. Along with Sydney Mursko, each had 16 digs on the defensive side. Bertolini added four aces and two kills, while Mursko had three kills and two aces.
"Both Leah (Morrissey) and Danielle (Bertolini) played very well and lead the team by not giving up," Coldren said. "They hustled after every ball and recovered from their mistakes quickly."
Alex Young, (9 digs), Blair Ludoviconi (4 aces, 4 digs) and Kayley Carr (5 kills, 2 aces, 2 assists, 1 block) also played well in the loss.  

Looking Up
Westies ready for 2013 season
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
The West Haven girls’ volleyball team won only three games last season. With the 2013 campaign quickly approaching, head coach Kate Coldren has plenty of reasons to be optimistic just one year later.
While the team has just two returning players with considerable varsity experience, discipline and team work will be the trademarks of this year’s squad.
Senior captains Leah Morrissey and Sydney Mursko will be counted on to lead an inexperienced squad when it comes to varsity action. Morrissey plays the perfect position as she can control the offense from her setter position, while Mursko is an outside hitter.
“They are both outstanding leaders,” Coldren said of Morrissey and Mursko. “The younger girls look up to them, respect them and they have earned it. They work extremely hard and I look forward to working with them this season. They made a positive contribution to the team last year so I am hopeful their experience will lead the way this season.”
Morrissey and Mursko were key players on the defensive side last season as Morrissey finished with 72 digs and Mursko had 58 digs. 

















Sydney Mursko (c.) looks to lead the Westies back to the postseason in 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Along with her senior captains, Coldren has a solid junior class to work with. Danielle Bertolini will be another outside hitter, Rania Abu-Sitteh is a libero and Kayley Carr and Talon Yahaya are middle hitters.
“I have a strong group of juniors who will be making their debut on varsity this season,” Coldren said. “Danielle Bertolini is my other outside hitter and she is a strong all around player. Rania Abu-Sitteh has been a libero for the past two seasons on junior varsity and I fully expect her to make a strong contribution on serve receive and defense.
“Kayley Carr and Talon Yahaya are our middle hitters and they are very strong hitters and blockers and will be a strong force at the net. I have several girls that will come off the bench and help out in the back row with passing/defense.” 
Coldren likes what she has seen thus far from her team and believes the togetherness of the group will be a key component of the team’s success.
“Our goals always revolve around getting into the postseason,” Coldren said. “Making states is our most important goal. As their coach, I would like to see them play to their potential and be a positive cohesive group.
“Discipline and team work will take this team far. The girls are friends on and off the court so that level of trust is already established, which is super important in this sport. So far, I have seen a competitive nature and the will to win. They want to improve and work hard to make the necessary corrections.”
West Haven opens the season September 10 with a home match against Lyman Hall at 5:15 p.m. 

Ride Over
Late season run ends in loss to South Windsor
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(November 4, 2013) –
 Using a late season run to qualify for postseason play, the West Haven volleyball team hoped to use that as a springboard to a long run in the playoffs.
After an early exit in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, the Westies had another chance in the CIAC Class LL state tournament. That chance was quickly ended.
Traveling north to play at No. 9 South Windsor, the No. 24 Westies played hard but fell 25-8, 25-23 and 25-9 in first round action Monday evening. 
"It was a very tough loss," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We got off to a rough start with a lot of unforced errors. We struggled to serve receive and didn't make the proper adjustments soon enough. When we finally did part way into the second game, things really started clicking and we were able to make it a game. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. We weren't able to run our offense, which we have to in order to win games.
With the loss, West Haven concludes its season with a record of 8-14.

"The girls had a great season and I am very proud of their hard work," Coldren said. "They achieved their goal and although we would have like to go further, we have something to build on and we will raise the bar for next season. 
"I can't thank my seniors enough for their commitment to this team and their constant leadership throughout this season. I wish them nothing but the best of luck with the rest of their senior year and all their future endeavors."
Sydney Mursko led West Haven with 7 digs and 4 aces, Leah Morrissey had 7 assists and 4 digs and Danielle Bertolini added 8 digs, 2 aces and 2 assists. Blair Ludoviconi had 5 digs and Taylor Lambert added 4 digs in the defeat. 

Quick Out
Westies ousted from SCC Tournament
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 26, 2013) –
 Needing the last match of the regular season to qualify for the postseason, the West Haven volleyball team went into the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament on a high note.
Branford needed all of three games to end the first leg of the postseason for the Westies. Despite battling all game, No. 12 West Haven fell at No. 5 Branford by scores of 25-20, 25-19 and 25-15.
“The girls came ready to play and played very well,” West Haven head coach Kate Coldren said after he team fell to 8-13. “A few careless mistakes late in the first two games really killed us. I’m extremely proud of how they fought in this game, even though we came up on the losing end.”
Leah Morrissey continued to play well as she set up the offense with 14 assists and played a solid defense with 14 digs. Danielle Bertolini also had 14 digs, while Sydney Mursko added 11 digs and 6 kills.
“Leah and Sydney had great all around games,” Coldren said. “As a team defensively, we were again outstanding. Danielle had 14 digs and Alex (Young) had 9 digs. Defense kept us in the game.”
Talon Yahaya had 5 kills and 4 blocks, Kayley Carr added 5 aces, 3 kills and 3 blocks and Blair Ludoviconi added 4 digs.
“Now, we spend next week preparing for the state tournament,” Coldren said. “We have to keep our focus and work on mental toughness so we can keep this season going a little longer.”
The Westies battled from the start, playing the Hornets evenly in the first game before falling by 5 points. The second game was more of the same as Branford squeaked out a 6-point victory.

















Talon Yahaya prepares for a kill as Leah Morrissey (14) and Danielle Bertolini (r.) look on, October 24, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.

Playoff Bound
Westies defeat Cross to qualify for postseason
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 24, 2013) –
 It took until the final match, but the West Haven volleyball team is going to the postseason. With a dominating performance in the regular season finale, the Westies improved to 8-12 and will play in both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments.
“They fought as they always do,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team improved to 8-12. “That has been our goal all season. We did what we had to do.”
The match was never in question as West Haven controlled play early in each game and won by scores of 25-22, 25-18 and 25-17 on Senior Night at West Haven High Thursday evening.
“This is awesome,” West Haven senior setter Leah Morrissey said. “I have seen such improvement from the first game until now. We are a team. We are a big family. We work well together.”






















Leah Morrissey blocks a shot against Cross, October 24, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Ahead 2-0 in games, the Westies made sure their ticket was punched to the postseason in the third game. With Danielle Bertolini on the service line, the Westies connected for seven straight points on a pair of aces and several Cross errors for an 8-2 lead.
“This team has been persistent all year,” Coldren said. “They had this goal in mind all year. The early leads set the tone early.
“We stressed that last night. We said we had to come in ready to play and keep the lead. We did that.”
Kills by Morrissey gave West Haven leads of 15-6 and 19-7 before the Governors made a short run to close within 19-13. The Governors got no closer and when Talon Yahaya ripped a kill for the final point, West Haven was back in the postseason. 




























Leah Morrissey prepares to set up the offense against Cross, October 24, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“She (Morrissey) has done it all season,” Coldren said. “She knows what to do in the right situations. I do not have to coach her out there. She knows where to be and has that volleyball sense.”
West Haven took control of the match in the first game when kills by Yahaya and Bertolini sandwiched an ace by Sydney Mursko for a 12-6 lead. After Cross drew closer, a kill by Kayley Carr and an ace by Blair Ludoviconi gave the Westies leads of 20-18 and 23-20.
Game two was more of the same as the Westies raced out to an 8-1 lead. Kills by Yahaya and Carr gave West Haven leads of 14-4 and 20-6 before Morrissey followed with an ace for a 21-6 lead. 

















Alex Young with a dig as Kayley Carr (1) looks on against Cross, October 24, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Cross got within 23-18, but Carr ended any thoughts of a Cross comeback with an ace, then watched as a Cross error ended the second game.
“It was Senior Night,” Morrissey said. “All my family and friends were here. I didn’t want to leave. We have more games to play.”Morrissey led West Haven with 12 assists and 9 digs. Mursko added 16 digs, Yahaya had 7 kills and Rania Abu-Sitteh had 7 digs.


Down to the Wire
Loss to Foran leaves Westies 1 win from postseason
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 23, 2013) –
 With two matches left in the regular season, the West Havenvolleyball team was hoping to qualify for the postseason before its final match. Unfortunately for the Westies, their playoffs will begin Thursday night in the regular season finale against Wilbur Cross.
If the Westies win, they will play in the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments. A loss would end West Haven’s season. 
"We came out ready to play and with lots of energy," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We went point for point with a very good Foran team and I was very pleased at how we played tonight. 
"We were outstanding on defense. Danielle (Bertolini) had a very good game defensively and her serving was on point. My hitters got off to a slow start, but once Kayley (Carr) and Talon (Yahaya) got in the zone, they were awesome."
The crucial match Thursday evening was set up with a 3-0 home loss to Foran Wednesday which dropped West Haven to 7-12. The Westies battled in the first game, before Foran took over in the final two games to win 25-23, 25-15 and 25-18.Leah Morrissey led the way with 10 assists, 8 digs and 1 ace, while Danielle Bertolini had 12 digs. Sydney Mursko added 8 digs, 3 kills and 2 aces, Talon Yahaya had 7 kills and 2 digs and Kayley Carr had 4 aces, 4 digs, and 3 blocks. 
"We need to take this momentum into tomorrow's game against Cross and get this much needed last win to make it into the postseason."

Not Yet
West Haven falls to Lyman Hall as postseason has to wait
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 21, 2013) –
 The West Haven volleyball team was hoping to clinch a postseason bid before the final game of the season. Not wanting the postseason to ride on the final match, the Westies are coming dangerously close to this.
Following a 3-1 loss at Lyman Hall Monday evening, West Haven fell to 7-11 and needs one win in its final two home matches against Foran (Wednesday) and Wilbur Cross (Thursday) if it hopes to play in the postseason. 
"It was a very frustrating night," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We didn't have the same energy and intensity that we had last week. Knowing that we only need one more win to get to the postseason, we need to be playing with a sense of urgency that just wasn't there. Both defense and our hitting were off. We just couldn't get things going.
"Hopefully, we can come back fighting in these last two games of the season and get that final win that we need."
The Westies looked to get the clincher in Wallingford but fell 25-14, 25-17, 23-25 and 25-14. The Westies battled in the second and third games but were no match for the Trojans in the first and fourth as Lyman Hall pulled away in each.
Talon Yahaya led the offense for West Haven with 8 kills. Alex Young and Danielle Bertolini led the defensive effort as Young had 9 digs and Bertolini had 7 digs.
Carly Montie led Lyman Hall with 27 digs and Stephanie Napierkowski had 11 kills and 6 digs. 
"Alex (Young) played well on defense, even though, as a team, we struggled," Coldren said. "She read the hitters very well and was where she needed to be to keep the ball in play. 
"Kayley (Carr) and Talon (Yahaya) did well at the net but we had a tough time getting things going on offense, which has been a problem all season because our passing hasn't been as consistent as it should be."























Talon Yahaya, seen here against Hamden, and the Westies defeated Platt Tech to move within one win of the postseason, October 17, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske 

One More
Westies one win away from postseason
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 17, 2013) –
 After a slow start to the season, it all comes down to this. Win one of the last three matches and the Westies are going to the postseason.
With its second win in a row, this one over Platt Tech, West Haven improved to 7-10. The final scores of the match were 25-7, 25-8 and 25-12.
“We played very well tonight and I feel like we are really clicking right now as a team and it couldn’t come at a better time,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said.  “We have three games left and need one more win to qualify for the SCC and state tournament. We need to stay focused and work hard.”
The Westies were never challenged in the contest, winning in thorough fashion in each game. Leah Morrissey stood out among many players who had a solid match as Morrissey had 18 assists, 4 aces and 3 digs.





















 

Blair Ludoviconi and the Westies defeated Platt Tech, October 17, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Danielle Bertolini also played well with 9 aces, 3 kills, 4 digs and 1 assist and Kayley Carr had 5 kills, 4 blocks and 2 aces. Talon Yahaya also had a solid match with 6 kills and 5 aces 

















Leah Morrissey (14) sets for Kayley Carr (1) against Hamden, October 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

Closing In
Westies closer to state tournament with win over Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 16, 2013) –
 The West Haven volleyball team is inching closer to the state tournament. After a slow start to the season, the Westies moved within two games of a postseason berth with a win over Hamden Wednesday evening.
In a match which was hard fought from start to finish, the Westies came away with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-18 victory at West Haven High. The win allows West Haven to improve to 6-10, needing two more wins to play in the postseason.
“This was a fantastic win tonight,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. “I think the girls are finally on the same page and the only way they will be successful is if they work together as a team. They were ready to play from point one in game one and that is critical.
“We need to be ready with that same intensity and sense of urgency for tomorrow against Platt Tech.”
The first two games were nail-biters as the Green Dragons battled the Westies throughout West Haven battled to win the first game, then had to work even harder to take the second game by two points.
The third game started in West Haven’s favor as the Westies took a 6-0 lead. Two aces by Danielle Bertolini and two more Hamden errors led to the six-point lead.
Hamden battled back to even the third game, before an ace by Kayley Carr and a Hamden error had West Haven in front 9-7. 



















Danielle Bertolini against Hamden, October 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
The Westies played well on defense in the third game, allowing only 11 more points to the Green Dragons.
Leah Morrissey led the defense with 12 digs, Bertolini, Alex Young and Sydney Mursko each had seven digs and Blair Ludoviconi had six digs. 

















Alex Young with a dig against Hamden as Kayley Carr (1), Danielle Bertolini (18) and Sydney Mursko (r.) look on, October 16, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
“Leah got us started with her defensive hustle and everyone really followed her lead,” Coldren said. “Danielle, Blair, Alex, Sydney and Rania (Abu-Sitteh) worked hard to make sure nothing hit the floor.
“Our hitting was a little rough when we started off, but we worked the kinks out and started to find the open spots on the court. We played really smart volleyball tonight.”
Morrissey ran the offense with 16 assists, Bertolini had 6 aces, Kayley Carr added 7 kills and 3 aces and Mursko had 4 kills and 2 aces. Talon Yahaya also played well with 5 kills, 4 blocks, 2 aces and 1 dig.
“Talon, Kayley and Sydney came through and got us clutch points,” Coldren said. “Danielle’s serving was outstanding. She really kept us alive in the second game and continued to serve great in the third game.”

Slipping Away
WH postseason hopes fading with latest loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 14, 2013) –
 The goal all season long for the West Haven volleyball team has been to get to the postseason. With a handful of matches remaining, the Westies are getting close to missing out on that goal.
After a slow start Monday evening, West Haven tried to rally but fell short in a 25-5, 25-22, 25-15 loss at Mercy. With the defeat, West Haven falls to 5-10.
“It was a rough night tonight,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. “We started off way too slow and had trouble passing on serve receive. We did shake off the first game and played much better in the second game and third game.
“This was another game where we struggled to run our offense. We gave Mercy way too many easy balls over the net and they definitely used them to score points on us and beat us.”
The Westies never got going in the first game and were thoroughly outplayed. The 20-point loss woke the Westies up for the second game, where they battled to the end but fell by three points.
 Despite Leah Morrissey running the offense, Sydney Mursko playing solid defense and Talon Yahaya trying to control the net, the Westies fell in the third game by 10 points.
“Talon (Yahaya) tried her best to get things going at the net,” Coldren said. “She challenged them with her blocks and she was able to put the ball away when she had the opportunity. Sydney had a good game defensively and was able to sneak in a couple of much needed kills.”
Yahaya led West Haven with 6 kills and 4 blocks. Morrissey had 9 assists and 6 digs, Mursko had 8 digs and Kayley Carr had 5 aces and 4 digs in the loss.
“As a team, we have to put this loss behind us and focus on our next game,” Coldren said. “We have to get mentally and physically prepared to play Hamden.” 

Back in the Win Column
WH rallies to defeat East Haven
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 11, 2013) -
  After dropping three consecutive matches and falling in two straight games, the West Haven volleyball team knew Friday’s match was one the Westies could not afford to lose.
Behind Leah Morrissey, the Westies snapped the losing streak, improved to 5-9 and moved within three games of a postseason bid.
“Tonight was a must-win and the girls did their job,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. “They have been working really hard in practice and it paid off tonight with a true team effort from all of them.”
The match was a battle from the start as West Haven won the first game, 26-24, the second game 25-20 before falling 25-20 and 25-20 in the next two games.
The Westies got off to a big start in the decisive fifth game, pulled away and won by a score of 15-7.
“As we are getting into the last two weeks of the regular season, we need to stay focused and be ready to play from the first point in the first game,” Coldren said.
“Talon (Yahaya) once again was a force at the net and her serving was outstanding. Defensively, Leah (Morrissey) and Danielle (Bertolini) didn’t quit on any play and their hard work tonight made the rest of the girls step up their game.”
Morrissey led the Westies with 14 digs defensively and 14 assists to run the offense. Danielle Bertolini had 12 digs, Sydney Mursko had 8 digs and Kayley Carr had 5 kills and 5 blocks.Talon Yahaya finished with 7 kills, 6 aces, 2 blocks and 2 digs and Blair Ludoviconi had 4 aces and 2 digs. 

Slipping Away
Third straight loss drops Westies to 4-9
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 9, 2013) –
 If the West Haven volleyball team hopes to play in the postseason, it needs to right the ship. In the midst of a slump with three straight losses, the Westies have fallen to 4-9. 
“We are in a slump right now that we need to snap out of,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. “We still have a goal to make it into the postseason, but we need to believe that we can do it and then prove it on the court.”
West Haven hoped to get on track against Sacred Heart Academy Wednesday evening. Instead, a 3-0 loss by scores of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-19 put the Westies in a hole.
The Westies battled in the first and third games but came up short. In the second gamer, the Pacers had everything going their way as they cruised to the 10-point victory.
“Once again, Talon (Yahaya) and Kayley (Carr) held their own at the net,” Coldren said. “We didn’t use them enough and we have to in order to win games.
“We all need to get on the same page and turn this around. Our serving was off tonight and passing and defense were not our best either. Not having those skills in check makes the game very difficult to win.”
Leah Morrissey led the way for the Westies a she ran the offense with 15 assists and had six digs on the defensive side. Kayley Carr led the offense with seven kills and Talon Yahaya added six kills and four aces.
Defensively, Sydney Mursko had six digs, Alex Young and Rania Abu-Sitteh each had four digs and Blair Ludoviconi added three digs.