Southern Connecticut Conference All-Conference Team
Amanda DiLeonardo (17)































Southern Connecticut Conference All-Conference Team
Sarah Dunham (5)


Season Over
WH falls to No. 5 Glastonbury 3-0 in 2nd round of Class LL state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(November 12, 2015) -
 The challenge was an imposing one. Travel to Glastonbury and face a top-notch Glastonbury team for the right to advance to the state quarterfinals. 
Unfortunately for the Westies, they got a first-hand look at how good the Tomahawks are. Unable to match No. 5 Glastonbury from the start, the 12th-seeded Westies fell 25-9, 25-15, 25-16 in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament in Glastonbury Thursday evening. 

















Amanda DiLeonardo (17) and the Westies fell to Glastonbury in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Tonight's game was frustrating," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team ended the season with a 16-8 record. "We were flat and we played nervous. I don't blame them for being nervous. They haven't been in this situation before. However, we knew we needed to work hard and shake off errors and we never really did that tonight. We had some moments that showed promise, but we needed more of everything. We needed more energy, more digs, more kills, more communication and it just wasn't there tonight." 

















Alissa Tonucci (6) and the Westies fell to Glastonbury in the second round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament, November 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Glastonbury dominated from the start, never letting West Haven get on track. The Tomahawks won by 16 points in the first game, cruised to a 10-point win n the second game, then battled to a 9-point win in the final game of the match. 
"This team worked its tails off this season and they have nothing to hang their heads about," Coldren said. "They should be proud of everything they accomplished. I'm beyond proud to have had the opportunity to coach such an amazing group of girls. We all learned a lot this season. These seniors set the bar extremely high for the underclassmen. I hope we can make them as proud of us in the future as they have made us this season."
Senior Amanda DiLeonardo led the Westies with eight digs and five kills. Sarah Dunham added four assists and three digs, Ashley Dalton had three blocks. 
 
Moving On
Westies top Kennedy to advance to second round of state tournament
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(November 9, 2015) - 
West Haven seniors Amanda DiLeonardo and Alissa Tonucci knew going into the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament communication was going to be the key.  Using that communication, No. 12 West Haven posted a 3-1 victory over No. 21 Kennedy Monday evening at West Haven High. 
Behind 15 kills from DiLeonardo and nine more from Tonucci, West Haven rallied in two games to defeat the Eagles 25-19, 25-16, 26-28, and 25-16. With the win, West Haven improved to 16-7. 

















Alissa Tonucci (6) with a kill as Julia Bothwell (8) looks on in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament against Kennedy, November 9, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We worked together as a team tonight," DiLeonardo said after also contributing on defense with eight digs. "We came out hitting more. We came out fighting. We talked a lot tonight. That was the key." 
After dropping the third game in which the Eagles overcame a 23-20 deficit after a kill by DiLeonardo, West Haven came out with a purpose in the fourth and final game. A kill by DiLeonardo had the Westies on top 12-7, and another by Hannah Plain increased the margin to 15-10. 
"Amanda was very aggressive tonight," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said of DiLeonardo. "She did not hesitate going after it whether it was in the back row or front row. She was smart too on offense and defense. She played really well. Alissa did too."

















Stefania Vendrella (10), Amanda DiLeonardo, (17) and Samantha Giaquinto (2) in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament against Kennedy, November 9, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After Kennedy's Morgan Fasanelli got the Eagles within 16-11, Ally Marron put West Haven a step closer to the second round with an ace for a 19-13 advantage. Tonucci followed with a kill for a 20-13 lead and added another to increase the margin to 23-16. 
"This is huge for us," Tonucci said. "I thought we played a great game. We communicated well. We all talked out there. That was big for us."
Kennedy battled in the third game to force West Haven to need a fourth game for the victory. Following a kill by Kathryn O'Donnell, Kennedy led 8-2 in the third frame and increased the margin to 10-4 with a West Haven error. 
The Westies came all the way back, using kills by DiLeonardo and Tonucci to even the game at 18. Trailing 23-20, Kennedy's Shelley Evia had two straight kills and Kennedy turned two West Haven errors into a 25-24 advantage. DiLeonardo evened the game at 25, but a kill by O'Donnell sent the Eagles to a fourth game. 
"I was very impressed with how we want out here in that third game and put it all on the line," Kennedy coach Michael Stango said after his team finished the year 10-12. "That was heart right there. We were down 2-0 and we were able to come back and finish it in that third game.They (West Haven) are a good team over there. They have two or three solid hitters over there and we had trouble with that."
The Westies came out of the gates slowly, trailing the Eagles in the first game. After a kill by Joyce Benton evened the game at 15 in the first game, West Haven closed the set on a 10-4 run. Tonucci and DiLeonardo added kills to put West Haven on top and Sarah Dunham's ace gave West Haven a 22-19 advantage. 

















West Haven coach Kate Coldren addresses her team in the opening round of the CIAC Class LL state tournament against Kennedy, November 9, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We came out a little tentative tonight," Coldren said. "It took a while for us to get our feet under us. When we did, we looked solid. That third game was a little rough. I did not think we should have lost that game especially after the way we played in the second game. We have to stay focused. This is big for us as a team. I have not been past the first round. The girls can feel it. They love the fan support. It definitely gives them that added fire."
Evia led Kennedy with 11 kills, 12 blocks and 12 digs. Carson Delaney had 12 assists and Fasanelli added 12 service points and six digs. 
"The SCC tournament is a big tournament but the state tournament is more important," DiLeonardo said. "This is huge for us."
Dunham ran the West Haven offense with 31 assists and Julia Bothwell was solid for the Westies with eight digs, four aces and three kills. Stefania Vendrella had seven digs and three aces, and Marron finished with five digs and three aces. 

Westies fall to Rams
SCC tournament ends with semifinal loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(November 3, 2015) - 
Looking to advance to the Southern Connecticut Conference finals, the West Haven volleyball team knew it would be in for a battle. Unfortunately for the Westies, that battle was against SCC force Cheshire. 
Controlling the match from start to finish, the second-seeded Rams topped No. 7 West Haven 25-12, 25-16, 25-15 in the SCC semifinals at Cheshire High Monday evening. 
"Tonight was a rough night," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team fell to 15-7. "We played really great defense, but couldn't get our offense going. Communication was an issue as well. It was probably our biggest issue tonight. There were far too many unforced errors and the girls were frustrated. We still have the state tournament coming up, so we need to learn from this loss and get ready for next week."
Amanda DiLeonardo led an offense which struggled to get going with seven kills, while Sarah Dunham had 10 assists. On the defensive side, Julia Bothwell and Stefania Vendrella each had six digs, DiLeonardo had five digs and two blocks, and Sam Giaquinto and Ally Marron each had three digs. 

















Stefania Vendrella (l.), Sam Giaquinto (c.) and Julia Bothwell (8), seen here against Sacred Heart Academy, and the Westies could not stop Cheshire as the Rams posted a 3-0 SCC semifinal victory, November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Sarah (Dunham), Stef (Vendrella) and Amanda (DiLeonardo) worked really hard to get us back on track," Coldren said. "Stef worked really hard on defense and serve receive, and came up with some really good passing. Sarah did a great job getting the ball to our hitters. We just struggled to finish. Amanda was aggressive attacking the ball from both the front row and the back row. She found some open spots on the court and did her best to put the ball down."
West Haven never got going, losing by 13 points in the first game, nine in the second and ten in the third. 

Westies top SHA in SCC Opening Round
WH will face Cheshire in quarterfinals
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 30, 2015) -
 West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren and her squad have big-time goals for this season. Those goals are with good reason. 
With a solid defense and potent offense, the Westies are looking to advance deep into both the Southern Connecticut Conference and state tournaments. 
No. 7 West Haven took its first step Friday evening with a thrilling 25-22, 22-25, 28-26, 25-23 victory over No. 10 Sacred Heart Academy in the opening round of the SCC tournament at West Haven High. With the win, West Haven advances to the quarterfinals at No. 2 Cheshire Monday evening at 6 p.m.

















West Haven celebrates its win in the SCC tournament against Sacred Heart Academy, October 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"What an incredible win tonight," Coldren said after her team improved to 15-6. "The girls definitely brought their "A" game and they were determined to win. Their passing was outstanding and their defense was unstoppable. The hitters did a great job finishing plays for us as well. Unforced errors were kept to a minimum and they worked so hard for this win. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy game and we wanted some redemption from the last time we played each other. They were focused and excited. This energy needs to carry into Monday for our next match in the tournament against Cheshire."
In a contest which was so evenly matched each game came down to the final points, the Westies got a total team contribution. 
Senior Sarah Dunham was spectacular running the offense with 21 assists, while adding five kills and two aces. 

















Amanda DiLeonardo (17) puts down a kill in the SCC tournament against Sacred Heart Academy, October 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Amanda DiLeonardo was solid on both sides as she had 11 digs and two blocks defensively and eight kills and four aces on offense. Julia Bothwell was also solid with six kills and three aces on offense and four digs and two blocks on defense. 
Stefania Vendrella had seven digs, Alissa Tonucci had six kills, Ally Marron chipped in five digs, Sam Giaquinto had four digs and Ashley Dalton added another three digs. Mariana Kalander also played well with four kills and three blocks, 

















Ally Marron (13) with a dig in the SCC tournament against Sacred Heart Academy, October 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Amanda (DiLeonardo) and Sarah (Dunham) did very well tonight," Coldren said. "They were consistent on the service line and hustled the entire night. The back row play was solid tonight from everyone, especially Stef (Vendrella) Ally (Marron) and Sam (Giaquinto). They passed extremely well on serve receive and did a great job covering the hitters. They all showed how hard they have been working in practice and we need to keep this momentum going."

















Sarah Dunham (5) sets Alissa Tonucci (l.) in the SCC tournament against Sacred Heart Academy, October 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies knew they were in for a battle from the start,, squeaking out the first game, before being edged in the second. West Haven needed a little extra to win the third game by a pair of points before sealing the match with a nail-biter in the fourth game. 

Westies blank Panthers
Regular season ends with 3-0 victory
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 27, 2015) -
 If the Platt Tech volleyball team is going to make the CIAC state tournament, the Panthers will need to play a lot better than they did Tuesday evening. Making numerous unforced errors and having trouble with the serving of West Haven, Platt Tech dropped a 25-5, 25-8, 25-14 decision to the Westies at West Haven High. 
The loss, which was Platt's sixth in a row and fifth consecutive in shutout fashion, dropped the Panthers to 7-12 on the season. Platt Tech will need to defeat Stratford Friday evening to play in the postseason. 
"We have to bring our "A" game," Platt Tech's second-year coach Britany Kuslis said. "We talk a lot about that. For whatever reason, when we play better teams or teams which are not in our league, we struggle. These kids had been used to losing. We have made a lot of changes. There are different rotations. We are finally poised to be in a position to win. We need to do the things we are capable of doing."
For West Haven, it was an entirely different story. With Sacred Heart Academy up next in the opening round of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament, the Westies know there is much work to be done. 
"We want to come out and make a difference in the postseason," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team improved to 14-6. "We want to make an impact. We want to do some damage." 
While they cruised to the victory against the Panthers, the Westies are focused and ready to begin the postseason. 

















Alissa Tonucci (l.) against Platt Tech, October 27, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"This win is definitely important for us," senior Alissa Tonucci said after leading the Westies with eight kills. "We are focused and we know we have to keep working on the basics. We have to play hard. It is great we are doing well. We are ready for the postseason."
West Haven set the tone of the match right from the start, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the first game. The Panthers never recovered and the Westies cruised to a 20-point victory in the opening game. 
"We still have to play hard," senior Amanda DiLeonardo said after finishing with three aces and three kills. "We play Sacred Heart and they are a tough team. We will need to play as hard as we can."
West Haven again jumped out to a big lead in the second game and two errors by the Panthers gave West Haven a 22-8 advantage. An ace by Marilyn Tran increased West Haven's lead to 23-8, before an error by the Panthers and another ace by Tran gave West Haven a 17-point win. 
"We have to dig in, find that fire and find a way to win," Kuslis said. "Unfortunately, the last couple of games have not come that way."
West Haven jumped out to a quick lead once again in the third and final game, using an ace by Devin Pascale and a kill by Mariana Kalander to take a 3-0 advantage. Kills by DiLeonardo, Tonucci and Ashley Dalton increased the margin to 10-4. 
Leading 12-5, Dalton and the Westies pulled away on a pair of aces and three Platt Tech errors. 

















Ashley Dalton (c.), Julia Bothwell (8) and Amanda DiLeonardo (17) took care of business against Platt Tech, October 27, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Panthers tried to get back in the game as a kill by Autumn Lewandowski brought the Panthers within 20-11. 
West Haven wasted no time answering as two loud kills by Kalander sandwiched an ace by Sarah Dunham for a 24-12 advantage. An ace by Platt's Amber Lewandowski had the Panthers within 24-14, before a service error by the Panthers ended the match. 
"We have really been focusing on our skills," Coldren said. "We want to make sure we are on point. We are back to basics. We were able to get everybody in tonight, which keeps the morale up. It keeps everyone focused. We know how good Sacred Heart is."
Julia Bothwell led West Haven with five aces and three kills, while Michaela Caprio had eight kills. Pascale and Dunham had eight and five assists, respectively, while Kalander had five kills. 

Win streak Over
Westies fall to East Haven
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 23, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team saw its four-match winning streak come to an end Friday evening with a 3-2 loss at East Haven. The loss by scores of 19-25, 25-14, 17-25, 25-22, 11-15 dropped the Westies to 13-6 on the season. 

















The West Haven volleyball team, seen here earlier in the season, fell to East Haven, October 23, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It was a tough loss tonight," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We played very flat and sloppy. We had far too many hitting and serving errors and we just couldn't seem to shake them off. Despite the errors, we definitely didn't quit. We hustled on defense and made some really good plays in the back row. We know that we have to regroup and get ready for the postseason. We have to work really hard in practice and get our focus back."
Sarah Dunham ran the offense with 24 assists, two aces and one kill. Amanda DiLeonardo had 11 kills, three aces, two digs and two block, Alissa Tonucci added seven kills, and Ashley Dalton had four kills. 
"Alissa (Tonucci) continued her dominance at the net," Coldren said. "There were times we struggled to get her the ball, but when we did, she put it down. Sarah (Dunham) did well tonight too. She worked really hard to put consistent sets up for the hitters to finish."
Stefania Vendrella chipped in four digs and Julia Bothwell had three digs in the loss. 

Westies defeat Indians
Fourth win in row lifts WH to 13-5 record
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 21, 2015) - 
Coach Kate Coldren and the West Haven volleyball team have to love the position they are in. Playing solid volleyball entering the postseason has to have the entire team feeling good. 
The Westies added to those good feelings Wednesday evening when they won their fourth straight match and seventh in their last eight decisions with a 3-0 victory at North Haven. 

















Hannah Plain (11), Sarah Dunham (5), AnnLyssa Asare (24) and Amanda DiLeonardo (17),  seen here earlier in the season, helped the Westies defeat North Haven, October 21, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It was a decent game tonight," Coldren said after her team improved to 13-5. "The first game was fantastic. Everything was clicking and we looked unstoppable. The second and third games weren't quite as good. We let up, made a few mistakes and got sloppy. We gave up far too many points and had to fight back from substantial point deficits in the second and third games. I'm very happy that we came back and won those games. However, we really can't afford to do that. As we finish up the rest of the regular season and get into the postseason, we need to maintain the same intensity throughout an entire match. We have to keep up the high energy and constant communication in order to be successful."
West Haven, which won 25-9, 25-23, 27-25, jumped out to a quick start in the first game and won easily. The Westies were in for a battle in the second two games, pulling out the victories in each. 
Amanda DiLeonardo led the way with eight kills and nine digs. Sarah Dunham had 16 assists and five digs, Julia Bothwell added five digs and four aces, Sam Giaquinto chipped in four digs and four aces, and Alissa Tonucci added seven kills. 
"Alissa (Tonucci) is continuing to play very well," Coldren said. "She is dominating in the middle and is a hitter we can count on every time. Sam (Giaquinto) had a good game tonight as well. She served and passed very well." 
 
Westies blank Panthers
WH wins third in row to improve to 12-5
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 20, 2015) - 
The West Haven volleyball team is on a roll. Looking to peak for the postseason, the Westies are headed in the right direction after winning their third match in a row, a 3-0 decision over Platt Tech in Milford Tuesday evening. With the win, West Haven's sixth in its last seven matches, the Westies improved to 12-5 on the year. 
"We got off to a slow start tonight, but strong, consistent serving got us back on track," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team's 25-13, 25-11, 26-24 win. "As a team, the girls played very well. They stayed on their toes and capitalized on the free balls that came across the net. The win was a great way to start off a busy week of matches."
The Westies rebounded from a slow start to dominate the latter part of the first game, then cruised to a second game victory. Platt Tech battled in the third game, but did not have enough to defeat the Westies. 
"Alissa (Tonucci) played extremely well at the net and her timing was on point," Coldren said. "Amanda (DiLeonardo), Devin (Pascale) and AnnLyssa (Asare) led the team tonight with tough serving. They were consistent and aggressive."

















Alissa Tonucci (6), Sarah Dunham (5), Ashley Dalton (r.) and the Westies defeated Platt Tech, October 20, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Amanda DiLeonardo led West Haven's serving with seven aces, Devin Pascale had five aces and AnnLyssa Asare added four aces. 
Sarah Dunham ran the offense with 10 assists and two aces, Alissa Tonucci had 11 kills, Hannah Plain added four kills, and DiLeonardo and Ashley Dalton both had three kills apiece. 
Julia Bothwell led the West Haven defense with four digs, while Stefania Vendrella had three digs and DiLeonardo chipped in a pair. 






























Stefania Vendrella, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies defeated Platt Tech, October 20, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.

Westies top Green Dragons
WH posts shutout win on Senior Night
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 16, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team celebrated Senior Night with a 3-0 win over Hamden at West Haven High Friday evening. The win, West Haven's fifth in six matches, improved the team to 11-5 on the season. 
"Tonight we honored the seniors' dedication and hard work they have put into the program," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "I was beyond proud of the way they played tonight. As a group that has been playing together since they were ninth and tenth graders, they showed exactly why we have been so successful this season. They are a cohesive group on and off the court. They are a special group of girls and are an absolute joy to coach. They had a blast tonight and we couldn't have asked for a better outcome." 

















The West Haven seniors before Senior Night against Hamden, October 16, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
West Haven controlled the match from the start, winning 25-11, 25-13, 25-18. The second straight win for the Westies helped with postseason seeding as well.  

















Alissa Tonucci (6) makes a play with Ashley Dalton (4) looking on against Hamden, October 16, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven jumped out quickly in the first game and pulled away to win by 14 points. The Westies then cruised in the second game, before winning in a tighter third game. 


Mercy
Westies upset Tigers to improve to 10-5
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 14, 2015) -
 From the start of the season, West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren stated how much she liked her team and the way it played. Coldren had to be thrilled with the team's performance Wednesday evening. 
Two days after a disappointing loss to Lauralton Hall, West Haven responded with a thrilling 3-1 victory over Mercy in Middletown. The 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 25-11 victory was West Haven's fourth in its last five matches. 
"What an amazing win for us," Coldren said. "The girls should be so proud of themselves. They did exactly what they needed to do to get this win. They worked so hard tonight and stayed focused on the task at hand. For the rest of the season, we need to make sure we are playing smart and consistent volleyball. The momentum is on our side and we need to take advantage of that."

















Amanda DiLeonardo (17) and Sarah Dunham (5), seen here against Jonathan Law, came up big in a win against Mercy, October 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The victory came in the play of West Haven during the first three games. Battling in each, the Westies were able to win games which were all decided by five points or less.
"A solid team effort got us this win tonight," Coldren said. "Hitters and servers were aggressive. The back row was confident and determined."
Captains Sarah Dunham, Amanda DiLeonardo, and Stefania Vendrella continued to show their leadership with excellent play. 
Dunham ran the offense with 29 assists, while also adding 4 digs and 3 kills. DiLeonardo had a big day at the net with 17 kills and added 5 digs, while Vendrella was stellar on defense with 10 digs. 

















Stefania Vendrella (10), seen here against Jonathan Law, had a big night defensively with 10 digs against Mercy, October 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Amanda (DiLeonardo), Stef (Vendrella) and Sarah (Dunham) stood out tonight," Coldren said. "They showed exactly why they were chosen as captains. They took charge and led the team with their calm and confident demeanor."
Julia Bothwell added 9 digs, 4 kills and 3 aces, Sam Giaquinto had 8 digs, Hannah Plain chipped in 5 kills, 3 aces, and 2 digs, and Alissa Tonucci had 6 kills and 3 digs.

Westies fall to Lauralton
Loss snaps three-match winning streak
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 12, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team is looking to improve its seeding in the postseason. Hoping to win its fourth straight match and picked up its tenth win of the season, West Haven could not do so, falling to Lauralton Hall 3-2 in Milford Monday evening. 

















Amanda DiLeonardo (17), seen here against Jonathan Law, and the Westies fell to Lauralton Hall, October 12, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.  
The Westies battled throughout, but did not have enough in the 25-22, 18-25, 26-28, 25-11, 12-15 loss. 
"Tonight was a tough one," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team fell to 9-5. "It was like a roller coaster ride. Some games we were playing perfectly and some games we couldn't get it together. We need to learn from this match that when we have a lead, we need to work our tails off to keep it. There were plenty of times we could have finished the match, but we didn't. We have some things to work on to get ready for Mercy on Wednesday. We need to put this game in the past and keep it moving."
Hannah Plain had a solid game for the Westies as she delivered 14 kills, added 4 digs and 3 blocks defensively, and also had a pair of aces. 
"Hannah had a great game at the net tonight," Coldren said of Plain. "She was in position on her blocks and made Lauralton's hitters think about every swing. She was able to finish a lot of points when we needed her to."
Stefania Vendrella also played well with 12 digs in the back row and 2 aces, while Sarah Dunham led the offense with 25 assists, 3 aces and 3 kills. Dunham also added 7 digs. 
"Stef (Vendrella) played really well in the back row," Coldren said. "She passed almost perfectly on serve receive and her defense was outstanding. Her serving was smart and aggressive tonight as well."
Julia Bothwell added 11 digs and 3 kills, Amanda DiLeonardo had 10 digs and 6 kills and Alissa Tonucci had 6 kills, 3 blocks and 2 digs. Ashley Dalton added 4 kills in the loss. 

Rolling Along
Westies beat Law for third win in row
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 10, 2015) -
 Since falling to East Haven, the West Haven volleyball team has responded quite nicely. With Saturday afternoon's 3-1 win over Jonathan Law at West Haven High, the Westies have won three matches in a row and have improved to 9-4 on the season. 
"Today was an emotional day for the team," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team posted a 25-16, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16 win. "We dedicated the game to Sheila Giaquinto, Sam's mom, who passed away in March from a three year battle with colon cancer. Her birthday is Tuesday and we wanted to do something special to honor her memory. The girls played well. They were definitely thinking about our loss to Law earlier in the season. There were some times they lost a little bit of focus, but they pulled it together to get the win. Next week brings three big division games, so we need to keep this momentum going."

















Stefania Vendrella (10) and the Westies celebrate a point against Jonathan Law, October 10, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Sarah Dunham ran the offense with 27 assists, six aces, and four kills, Julia Bothwell and Amanda DiLeonardo led the defense with 16 and 12 digs respectively, while Hannah Plain, DiLeonardo and Alissa Tonucci each added eight kills. 
"Sarah (Dunham) had a great game," Coldren said. "Her serve was unstoppable. She worked very hard on defense and her setting was on point. She did a little bit of everything today. Alissa (Tonucci), Hannah (Plain), Amanda (DiLeonardo), and Ashley (Dalton) hit extremely well today. They have been working on their consistency and they showed it today. It makes a huge difference in games when the team can count on pretty much any hitter to finish the play We were able to get great swings on the ball because the back row passed well on both serve receive and defense. The team combined for almost 60 digs today. They really hustled, made sure they were reading the hitters and anticipating where the ball would be." 

















Sarah Dunham (5) sets up the West Haven offense against Jonathan Law, October 10, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Stefania Vendrella added nine digs, Sam Giaquinto had eight digs and Ally Marron had seven digs.  

















Sam Giaquinto (2) with a dig against Jonathan Law, October 10, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.


Marilyn Tran (25) with an ace against Platt Tech, October 27, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

























Pictured above are West Haven High's Jeremy Borelli and Stefania Vendrella, who are named the Southern Connecticut Conference Scholar Athletes for the month of November.
Jeremy is ranked number one in the class with a GPA of 4.97, and he has been a 4-year member of the hockey and tennis teams. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Peer Advocates.
Stefania is ranked 8th with a GPA of 4.32. She is a 4-year member and captain of the volleyball and tennis teams. She is on the Class Council and also a member of the National Honor Society.

On to the Postseason
WH qualifies for state tournament with win over Sheehan
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 7, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team is going to the postseason. With its second straight win, a 3-2 decision over Sheehan Wednesday evening, West Haven improved to 8-4 and will play in the state tournament. 
Turning to its leaders, West Haven defeated the Titans 25-22, 20-25, 10-25, 25-14, 15-7. After falling behind 2-1 in games, the Westies cruised to a win in the fourth game, then battled to win the fifth game. 

















The West Haven volleyball team celebrates its bid in the postseason after a win against Sheehan, October 7, 2015. Photo courtesy of Lisa Nichols.
"All in all, the girls played well," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "There were some tough games, but they pulled it together and got the win they needed to get into the postseason. I'm so happy for them and proud of them. They most certainly earned this win. So far, we are 2-0 this week and we need to keep this momentum going."
Amanda DiLeonardo was a key player in the game as she had 12 kills and two aces on offense and 15 digs and one block on the defensive side. 
"Amanda had a very good night," Coldren said of DiLeonardo. "She did a great job mixing up her hits to keep Sheehan's defense on its toes. She was very smart and consistent. She also did extremely well on defense and her stats tonight proved that."
Sarah Dunham ran the offense effectively with 34 assists, and she added two kills and six digs. 
"Sarah had a great all around game," Coldren said of Dunham. "She served extremely well and her sets were on point. She made smart decisions and saw mismatches at the net."
Julia Bothwell played well defensively with 16 digs , while adding six kills and one assist on the offensive side. Alissa Tonucci added 11 kills, Ally Marron had 10 digs and Hannah Plain had eight kills. 
"Julia did a tremendous job on defense," Coldren said of Bothwell. "This is something we've been working hard on and her hard work has paid off."

Top of the Hill
Westies top Academics for seventh win of season
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 5, 2015) -
 Following a tough loss to East Haven, the West Haven volleyball team needed a solid performance to get back on track. That is exactly what the Westies received Monday evening when they hosted Hillhouse at West Haven High.  

















With head coach Kate Coldren and the bench looking on, Stefania Vendrella (10) defends with a dig against Hillhouse, October 5, 2015. Ready to join the play are Julia Bothwell (8), Sarah Dunham (5) and Amanda DiLeonardo (r.). Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Behind the play of Sarah Dunham, Hannah Plain and Amanda DiLeonardo, West Haven defeated the Academics 25-14, 20-25, 25-10 and 25-12 to improve to 7-4 on the season. 
"We played well tonight," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "There were times when we lost a bit of focus and made some mental errors, but all in all, we played well. We were able to turn broken plays into points for us and play our level of volleyball."

















Julia Bothwell with a kill against Hillhouse as Alissa Tonucci (6) looks on, October 5, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
As has been the case all season long, captain Sarah Dunham led the way as the senior ran the offense with 24 assists. Dunham, who now has a team-leading 215 assists on the season, also had two aces from the service line and added two digs on the defensive side. 
Fellow captains Amanda DiLeonardo and Stefania Vendrella also played big parts in the win as DiLeonardo had 11 kills to increase her team lead to 71, and added six digs defensively. Vendrella had a solid game defensively, leading the team with seven digs.
"Stefania (Vendrella) played very well on defense," Coldren said. "Her passing was on point tonight and she wasn't going to let a ball drop without getting a hand on it. She worked hard and hustled like crazy."
Hannah Plain teamed with DiLeonardo at the net to produce a force Hillhouse could not contain. The pair combined for 18 kills, with Plain having seven, as the Westies were too much up front for the Academics. 
"Hannah (Plain) and Amanda (DiLeonardo) had a great game at the net," Coldren said. "They dominated and were able to score on almost every set. They were smart and consistent."
The victory was a complete team effort as 17 different players contributed to the win. Julia Bothwell added four aces, three kills and two digs, Alissa Tonucci had four kills, Ally Marron added three digs and Ashley Dalton had three kills and two aces. Jessica Taylor also chipped in three digs, while Devin Pascale had three assists.
The Westies opened the match quickly, winning the first game by 11 points. After Hillhouse slowed the Westies down and took the second game, West Haven rebounded nicely to roll in the final two games. 
Coldren was able to empty the bench as West Haven won by 15 points in the third game and 13 points in the fourth and final game of the match. 

Westies fall to East Haven
EH rallies for 3-2 win
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 1, 2015) -
 East Haven volleyball coach Craig Brown loves the balance and depth of his team. Thursday evening in West Haven was a perfect example of why.
Trailing two games to one, East Haven turned its game around, dominating West Haven in the final two games to post a 25-17, 18-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-10 win at West Haven High. 

















West Haven celebrates a point against East Haven, October 1, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"A lot of these girls have been with me since I have been here," Brown said after his team won its ninth straight match to improve to 9-1. "They work hard in the offseason. They have put a lot of time in. There is a system, but with their hard work, they make the system look good."
In the match which went five games, the Easties had plenty of support to pull out the victory. Amber Ciscone led the defensive effort with 18 digs, Kara Hanson had 16 digs, Alli Luzzi had 10 digs, and Alyssa Barcomb finished with nine digs. 
With the trio taking care of the defense, East Haven's offense took off. Barcomb ran the offense with 28 assists, sophomore Kylie Schlottman added 16 kills and seven aces, and Luzzi finished with eight kills. 
"This team has always been like that," Luzzi said of her team's ability to battle. "We know we have to fight. We just kept working hard. Part of it is our balance, but we also have great chemistry. Once we start clicking, we get that confidence and know we can do well."
Entering the fourth game down a game, East Haven poured it on early, then held off a furious West Haven rally late. Two aces by Schlottman sandwiched the sophomore's kill to give East Haven an 11-2 lead. 

















Alissa Tonucci (6) against East Haven, October 1, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Looking as if the Easties would pull away, West Haven slowly got back into the game. Trailing 22-11, an ace by Ashley Dalton got West Haven within eight points, before Stefania Vendrella served four straight points to get the Westies within 24-20.
"We definitely battled tonight," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team fell to 6-4. "There were times we should not have been down as much as we were. We almost waited too long to come back. You can't wait that long to come back against a team as good as East Haven. You can't spot them seven or eight points. But, I am proud of the fight we showed."
East Haven won the match by pulling away early in the fifth game. After a kill by Schlottman, she followed with three aces to give East Haven a 12-3 lead. 
A kill by Dalton got West Haven within 12-4 and the Westies got within 13-9 before Barcomb closed the match with a kill. 

















Ashley Dalton (4) with a kill as Sarah Dunham (5) moves in against East Haven, October 1, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"These seniors want to be here," Brown said. "They don't care if they have to be here five games or three games. They want to win. They like to win a lot. They push hard. They provide good leadership."
After East Haven won the first game 25-17, West Haven rebounded to win the next two games. A block by Hannah Plain and a kill by Julia Bothwell put West Haven on top 19-8 in the second game, before Amanda DiLeonardo's kill increased the margin to 23-12. 
East Haven used kills by Schlottman and Megan Doheny to get within eight points, before a kill by Alissa Tonucci closed the second game for West Haven. 
A kill by Bothwell put West Haven on top 16-6 in the third game and Plain added another kill for a 21-15 lead. An East Haven rally got within two points of the Westies, before Bothwell's kill ended the third game. 

Westies blank Indians
Dunham, DiLeonardo lead way to sixth win of season
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 30, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team is looking to get on a run. The Westies are hoping Wednesday evening's performance against North Haven is the start of it. 
Playing solid defense and using crisp passing, West Haven defeated North Haven 25-17, 25-15, 25-23 at West Haven High. The 3-0 victory improved West Haven's record to 6-3 on the season. 

















Stefania Vendrella (10) and Sam Giaquinto (2) against North Haven, September 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"It was a much needed win tonight," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "The girls were back on track with their passing, so we were able to run our offense and play our game. They were relaxed and confident. The girls have definitely learned that they don't play well when they are tense. They will most certainly need to be relaxed and focused tomorrow against East Haven. They are tough and we are going to have to bring our "A" game."

















The Westies, led by Stefania Vendrella (l.), Sam Giaquinto (second from l.) and Amanda DiLeonardo (17), celebrate a point against North Haven, September 30,2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Captain Sarah Dunham continued to play well for the Westies as she dished out 17 assists, and added five kills, four aces and four digs. Fellow captain Amanda DiLeonardo played well defensively with 11 digs, and added five aces and four kills. 
"All the girls did their job tonight," Coldren said. "My hitters did a really great job against some big blocks. Amanda (DiLeonardo), Ashley (Dalton), Alissa (Tonucci) and Hannah (Plain) really shared the responsibility at the net. Sarah (Dunham) played a very good all around game. She recognized mismatches at the net with her setting. She served aggressively and her defense was very consistent."
The Westies battled all night and started with the 8-point win in the first game. After cruising in the second game, the Westies again battled and won the third game by two points to secure the match. 

















Alissa Tonucci (6) with a kill against North Haven, September 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Julia Bothwell played well on defense with seven digs, Hannah Plain had six kills, Alissa Tonucci added five kills and four blocks, Ashley Dalton had five kills, and Stefania Vendrella chipped in five digs on the defensive side. 

Westies fall to SHA
Pacers sweep Westies 3-0
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 28, 2015) -
 After falling to West Haven in a five-game thriller less than a week ago, the Sacred Heart Academy volleyball team did not have to wait long for the rematch. This time, the Pacers made sure the match did not go five games. 
Dominating from the start, Sacred Heart swept the Westies by scores of 25-11, 25-23 and 25-7. With the loss, West Haven fell to 5-3 on the season. 

















Hannah Plain, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies fell to Sacred Heart Academy, September 28, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"This was a very frustrating loss," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "Sacred Heart came ready to play and we didn't. We had trouble on serve receive and defense, so we couldn't run our offense. We couldn't put everything together tonight. When we would finally get a pass, we had trouble setting. When we would get a pass and a set, the hitters couldn't put the ball down and finish the point. There were way too many hitting and serving errors and those errors will kill us every time. We have two more tough matches this week that we need to focus on and work very hard in practice to fix what went wrong tonight."
The Pacers took it to the Westies from the start, winning the first game by 14 points. After West Haven fell just short in the second game, the Pacers cruised to an easy win in the third and final game. 
Amanda DiLeonardo led the Westies with 10 digs, three aces and three kills, Sarah Dunham had nine assists and five digs, Stefania Vendrella and Julia Bothwell each added four digs, and Alissa Tonucci had three kills and three blocks. 
"Amanda (DiLeonardo) worked really hard tonight on both offense and defense," Coldren said. "She didn't let a ball drop and was as aggressive as she could be at the net. She made the necessary adjustments at the net and played very smart. If she had some support tonight, things would have gone much differently."

Westies nip Green Dragons
Close match ends in 3-2 WH victory
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 25, 2015) -
 Following a thrilling victory over Sacred Heart Academy less than 24 hours earlier, the West Haven volleyball team needed to avoid a letdown when it traveled to play Hamden Friday evening. 
The Westies again went to five games and posted a 3-2 victory over the Green Dragons. West Haven won 25-19, 26-28, 25-7, 17-25 and 15-8































Kate Coldren, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies nipped Hamden, September 26, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"This was a tough match for us," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team improved to 5-2. "Coming off the win last night, the girls played tired and flat. We couldn't really put everything together tonight for all the games, but we pulled out the win. We have yet another tough week ahead of us. The girls need to get some rest and we need to have productive practices."
Sarah Dunham led the way for the offense with 22 assists and three aces. Hannah Plain and Alissa Tonucci each had eight kills, while Stefania Vendrella, Amanda DiLeonardo and Julia Bothwell each had four digs. 
"Sarah (Dunham) had a good match tonight," Coldren said. "She did well running the offense, despite some inconsistent passing. She served well and got us some very key points. Hannah (Plain) and Alissa (Tonucci) controlled the net again tonight. They were forced to mix up their shots between tips and hard hits and they adjusted very well to Hamden's blocking." 
 
Westies win Thriller
WH picks up fourth win in 3-2 decision over SHA
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 24, 2015) -
 After winning the first two games against Sacred Heart Academy, the West Haven volleyball team was looking to make quick work of the Pacers. An inability to finish and a resilient squad from Sacred Heart made things tougher for the Westies as West Haven needed five games to finally prevail, 3-2, at West Haven High Thursday evening. 
The 25-13, 25-22, 13-25, 18-25, 16-14 win allowed West Haven to improve to 4-2, while the Pacers fell to 1-5 on the season. 
"This showed how hard we worked and how much we wanted this," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "I think we let up in the third and fourth games, but we came back in that fifth game. It shows the character and heart of this team."

















Stefania Vendrella (10) and Sam Giaquinto (2), seen here against Mercy, and the Westies defeated Sacred Heart Academy, September 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After the Pacers rallied to win the third and fourth games, West Haven trailed 5-1 in the fifth and deciding game after a kill by Sacred Heart's Claudia Capozzo. With Amanda DiLeonardo on the service line, West Haven took the lead on a kill by Sarah Dunham and an ace by DiLeonardo. 
A kill by Alissa Tonucci increased the margin to 9-7, before an ace by Tonucci had West Haven on top by three points at 12-9. The Pacers again rallied to even the game at 13 with a kill by Caitlyn Keish.

















Alissa Tonucci (6), seen here against Mercy, and the Westies defeated Sacred Heart Academy, September 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"They picked up their level of play," Coldren said of the Pacers. 
With the game even at 14 and the Pacers serving, a booming kill to the corner by DiLeonardo put West Haven on top before West Haven closed the match one play later. 
"I am proud of the team," DiLeonardo said. "We worked so hard tonight. This win is really important. We wanted to have the number on the left side bigger than the right. We did not want to be three and three. We wanted to be four and two." 
West Haven got off to a qick start in the match, going on a 9-1 run in the first game to pull away from the Pacers. Kills by Hannah Plain and Julia Bothwell put West Haven on top 16-12, before Plain sandwiched a kill by Dunham for a 20-12 advantage. Dunham's ace put West Haven one point away from winning the first game. 
The Pacers made things harder for the Westies in the second game, playing to an 11-11 tie. Kills by DiLeonardo and Tonucci had West Haven up 18-15 and a kill by Bothwell increased the margin to 23-18. DiLeonardo's kill increased the margin to 24-20 and a block by Plain ended the second game. 
"Our defense was outstanding," Coldren said. "The defense, serve receive and passing allowed us to run our offense. That is the most important thing."

















Julia Bothwell, seen here against Mercy, and the Westies defeated Sacred Heart Academy, September 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Chrissy Chow and the Pacers turned the natch around in the fourth game as the Pacers led 13-10. A 12-3 run followed for Sacred Heart as the Pacers stole the momentum behind a pair of kills by Capozzo. 
"You look at the game scores and you see 3-1, 3-2," Sacred Heat coach Mia Malafronte said. "That does not show how much better we are playing. It does not show how difficult we are making it for other teams to get the wins. We took Hand to five games. Every game we are within two points. We are playing toe to toe with everyone. That is all I can ask for."
Any thoughts of a quick end for West Haven quickly disappeared when the Pacers took a 5-1 lead in the fourth game. Two aces by Chow and a pair of kills from Capozzo gave Sacred Heart a 16-10 advantage. When Kelly Mordecai delivered an ace for the final point of the game, Sacred Heart had forced a fifth game. 
"We came back and worked hard," Malafronte said. "She (Capozzo) has come a long way. She did not play varsity last year. She was fantastic this game." 
Capozzo led Sacred Heart with 13 kills and three blocks, while Keish had seven kills, four blocks and 7 digs. Chow finished with 15 digs and was 26-of -27 serving, with six aces. 
Dunham led West Haven with 39 assists, while DiLeonardo added 13 kills and 17 digs. Plain had a solid game with 10 kills, three aces and three blocks, and Tonucci had 13 kills and three digs. 

No Mercy
Westies struggle in 3-1 loss
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 22, 2015) -
 West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren knows her team will go through tough stretches throughout the season. It is how the Westies respond which Coldren is interested in. 
Tuesday night at West Haven High was not what Coldren was looking for as Mercy took advantage of West Haven's struggles, defeating the Westies 25-22, 25-18, 23-25 and 25-16. 
"We beat ourselves tonight," Coldren said after her team fell to 3-2. "We didn't play our caliber of volleyball. We didn't pass well so we couldn't run our offense. Our defense struggled. We were a half step behind almost every ball. We have quite a bit of work to do to get ready for Sacred Heart and Hamden."

















AnnLyssa Asare (24) goes up for a kill against Mercy, September 22, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Coming off an impressive victory over Lauralton Hall, Coldren had hoped the Westies would take the momentum into the contest against Mercy. 
That never happened as Mercy took control of the game immediately, winning the first two games. After the Westies rallied to take home the third game, Mercy answered with a thorough win in the fourth game to seal the victory. 
"Hannah (Plain) and Alissa (Tonucci) worked really hard at the net tonight," Coldren said. "They had some really good hits and blocks. They were consistent and made adjustments when necessary."

















Alissa Tonucci (c.) works hard at the net with AnnLyssa Asare (24) and Sarah Dunham (5) looking on against Mercy, September 22, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Sarah Dunham ran the offense with 13 assists  and added three kills, Hannah Plain had four kills and two blocks, and Alissa Tonucci added four kills and three blocks. Julia Bothwell and Stefania Vendrella each had five digs on the defensive side.

WH blanks Lauralton
Westies improve to 3-1 with 3-0 victory
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 19, 2015) -
 West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren was hoping her team was ready to shake off a tough loss to Jonathan Law two days earlier. Coldren got exactly what she wanted Saturday afternoon as the Westies bounced back with a convincing 3-0 win over Lauralton Hall at West Haven High. 
The 25-13, 25-11, 25-21 victory allowed West Haven to improve to 3-1 early in the season. 
"Strong serves and solid defense won this game for us today," Coldren said. "We had a ton of energy and the girls were ready to play. They played consistent volleyball, which is going to be the key to us winning this season. It is something that we are continuing to work on. They also recovered quickly from mistakes and got right back into the next play and the next point. This was something we struggled with against Law , so it was good to see them do that."
Sarah Dunham continues to play well for the Westies as she distributed the ball everywhere in the win. Dunham finished with 11 assists to go along with her three kills, three digs and two aces. 

















Sarah Dunham (5) prepares a set for Amanda DiLeonardo (17) against Lauralton Hall, September 19, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.  
Alissa Tonucci had six kills, Julia Bothwell had six digs, five aces and two kills, and Ally Marron had seven digs. 
"Alissa (Tonucci) played very strong in the front row today," Coldren said. "We could count on her for some big hits and her timing was very good on her blocks. She was able to force some easier hits and errors. Julia (Bothwell) had a great all around game today. Her serve led us in this win and her defense and passing was outstanding. She also had some really smart plays at the net. She found holes in the defense and was able to use some off speed shots to get us points."
Hannah Plain added four kills, Amanda DiLeonardo had five digs, four aces and three kills and Sam Giaquinto finished with three digs. 

















Hannah Plain (11) prepares for the kill with Amanda DiLeonardo (17) and Julia Bothwell (8) looking on against Lauralton Hall, September 19, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
West Haven raced out to a quick lead and never stopped as the Westies jumped out to a double digit lead in the first game and won by 12 points. West Haven continued the pressure in the second game and cruised to a 14-point win. 

Westies fall to Law
Loss is first of season for WH 
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 17, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team was looking to make it three wins in a row to start the season when the team traveled to Milford to play Jonathan Law Thursday evening. Unfortunately for the Westies, that was not the case. 
Playing a hard fought battle from start to finish, West Haven fell to Law 3-2 to suffer its first defeat of the young season. The scores of the match were 25-21, 18-25, 20-25, 25-20 and 13-15. 






























West Haven coach Kate Coldren, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies fell to Jonathan Law, September 17, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Although we won the first game, the energy wasn't there," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team fell to 2-1 on the season. "Law came back strong and we didn't. We finally got some fire in the fourth game, but it was too little too late. We made far too many unforced errors." 

















Amanda DiLeonardo (17), seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies fell to Jonathan Law, September 17, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
The Westies narrowly took home the first game, before Law amped up its play to win the next two games, taking a 2-1 lead. 
"Our offense got very frustrated because Law played great defense," Coldren said. The hitters weren't getting their normal kills and didn't make the right adjustments quickly enough. I applaud the girls for fighting and not quitting."




































Stefania Vendrella, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies fell to Jonathan Law, September 17, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven rallied to win the fourth game, but could not complete the comeback as Law took home the fifth game by two points. 
"This is definitely a learning experience for them," Coldren said. "We have some tough games coming up this weekend and next week so we have some things to work on. I really believe the girls are frustrated enough with this loss, they will come back against Lauralton ready to go." 































Sarah Dunham, seen here earlier in the season, and the Westies fell to Jonathan Law, September 17, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Sarah Dunham led West Haven with 29 assists, six digs and three kills, while Hannah Plain added 10 kills. Amanda DiLeonardo also played well with 12 kills, seven digs and six aces, while Alissa Tonucci added eight kills and Ally Marron had eight digs. 

Off and Running
Westies shut out Sheehan
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 14, 2015) -
 West Haven volleyball coach Kate Coldren knows her team will not post shutouts in every match. She also knows strong starts will be the key to any success the Westies have this season. 
West Haven got another strong start, defeating Sheehan 25-10, 25-21 and 25-17, Monday evening to improve to 2-0 on the young season. 

















Sarah Dunham (5), Julia Bothwell (8), Stefania Vendrella (10) and Amanda DiLeonardo (17) celebrate in a win over Sheehan, September 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We played an outstanding game tonight," Coldren said. "As a team, we started out the match really strong and we controlled the pace the entire time. The girls were focused and energetic. They made adjustments quickly and didn't let mistakes get to them. As a result, they were very successful."
Senior captain Sarah Dunham had a stellar performance for the Westies. Dunham set up the Westie hitters perfectly throughout the night and finished with 20 assists. Dunham also had seven kills and four digs. 

















Julia Bothwell serves in a win over Sheehan, September 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Sarah Dunham had an outstanding all around game," Coldren said. "She is running our offense efficiently and effectively. She made super smart plays and knew who to set and when to set them. She also made decisions about pushing the ball over on the second hit that were timed perfectly."
Hannah Plain and Alissa Tonucci also played well as Plain had five kills and Tonucci had four kills and two aces. Amanda DiLeonardo was a force once again with nine kills, five digs and four aces. 
"The middle hitters, Hannah (Plain) and Alissa (Tonucci), are doing a great job blocking and placing the ball on their hits," Coldren said. "This is going to be critical to us being successful as the season progresses. Amanda (DiLeonardo) had a great game. She was on fire tonight at the net. Her hitting was on point and her back row play was strong too. She had a great all around game."
































Samantha Giaquinto had three digs in a win over Sheehan, September 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies started strong, never letting the Titans get in a groove in the opening game to win by 15 points. Sheehan battled in the final two games, but the Westies had too much in the end. 
"There were a few times in the match the girls let up on their intensity," Coldren said. "That is something that we have been working on in practice and we need to continue to work on."

Nice Start
Season opens with 3-0 victory over Hillhouse
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 11, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team was hoping to get off to a quick start against Hillhouse in the season opener for both teams, 
West Haven did that and more, winning the opening match of the season, 3-0, over Hillhouse in New Haven Friday evening. 
The Westies, who won 25-9, 25-14, 25-18, controlled the match from the start, posting a shutout in the first match of the season. 
"It was a great way to start the season," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "It was a total team effort. As a team, we communicated well and were able to play our level of volleyball. I definitely saw some great things and some things that need tweaking. The girls were able to take advantage of broken play situations and turn them into points. So far this season, we have been working very hard on maintaining our focus in every play in every scrimmage. I thought they did a pretty decent job with this but we still have some work to do. We had a few too many unforced errors, and in closer matches, that can't happen."
Senior captain Sarah Dunham led the way for the Westies as she had 12 assists to go along with 6 aces. Captain Amanda DiLeonardo had 5 digs, 4 kills and 2 aces and Alissa Tonucci added 5 kills, 2 aces and 1 dig. 





























Sarah Dunham. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Sarah Dunham did a great job tonight," Coldren said. "She was very consistent with serving and led us on some runs that we needed to pick up the pace of the match. Her setting was very good too. She made very smart decisions and we were able to run a successful offense. All the hitters played very consistent tonight and came up with important kills when we needed them. Because our passing was pretty consistent, they were able to mix up their shots and play smart volleyball."
Julia Bothwell added 3 aces and 3 kills, Hannah Plain had 4 kills and captain Stefania Vendrella had 4 digs.  

Set for Success
Westies optimistic about 2015 
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 6, 2015) -
 The West Haven volleyball team suffered a pair of tough postseason losses to end the 2014 season. With the 2015 season right around the corner, the Westies are looking to write a different script. 
If the Westies are to be successful in 2015, they will have to do so by replacing several graduated seniors who were among the leaders in most categories one season ago. Gone to graduation are Talon Yahaya, who led the team with 184 kills, Kayley Carr, who led the team with 80 aces and 43 blocks, and Danielle Bertolini, who led the team with 213 digs. 
Throw in the leadership of the graduated Blair Ludoviconi, Alex Young and Jill Moran, and the Westies have plenty to fill in from a team which went 12-10, suffering first round losses to Hand in the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament and Hall in the state tournament. 
Leading the way for West Haven will be senior captains Sarah Dunham, Amanda DiLeonardo and Stefania Vendrella. 



























West Haven captains (l. to r.) Sarah Dunham, Stefania Vendrella, and Amanda DiLeonardo look to lead the Westies back to the postseason in 2015. Photo courtesy of Kate Coldren. 
"The team always votes on the captains so I know they are already respected," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "There is no question they will lead us. We did lose a lot of seniors, but we also have a lot of seniors. Amanda DiLeonardo and Sarah Dunham started last year. Stefania Vendrella saw playing time last year. You can say we are inexperienced, but experienced. These girls have been playing with me for two years. We want to transition to the next group. These girls want to pick up where we left off last year and win in the state tournament. They worked really hard in the offseason. They put in a lot of hours on the court practicing."
Dunham, who led the Westies with 311 assists in 2014, will be the key to the offense as she will look to spread the offense around. Coming off a strong season a year ago, Dunham will be counted on to run the offense for Coldren. 
"She did a good job as a junior last year," Coldren said. "She is a leader on the court. She does everything well. She is really smart with her decision making. She has very good court awareness. That helps the team jell together."

















Sarah Dunham (5) and the Westies are looking for a return trip to the postseason in 2015. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.  
The Westies, who have goals of making the postseason and advancing further than last season, also have plenty of upperclassmen to help lead the transition. 
"We lost two really good middle hitters to graduation, but we have two really good middle hitters coming in along with Amanda DiLeonardo. Amanda improved a lot over the summer. She is hitting a lot stronger and a lot more consistent. She leaves everything out there. She hustles all the time. Everyone needs to see that. Stefania Vendrella is my go to in the back row, I want every ball to go to her. She is a really consistent passer  on defense and serve receive. The three of them (captains) together are really good leaders. They work well together."
Bothwell will also play on the right side, junior Sam Giaquinto is a defensive specialist and senior AnnLyssa Asare will also be on the right side.
"Hannah is a really strong hitter with good placement, Alissa is super consistent and is a really smart player and Julia is a really strong server who really works hard," Coldren said. "AnnLyssa blocks well and has really good timing for blocking and hitting.
"We have to communicate if we are to be successful. The girls worked hard in the offseason. They can't let up now. They are used to playing with each other. They feed off each other's energy. So far, our hitting and serving look really good. Just the general attitude of the girls is really good. They want to continue and carry on what we did last year and do better. They are focused."  
The Westies open the season Friday, September 11 at Hillhouse at 5:30 p.m. West Haven plays its first home game Monday, September 14 against Sheehan at 5:15 p.m.

Amanda DiLeonardo with a kill against Sacred Heart Academy, September 24, 2015. Double click to view full screen. 

Alissa Tonucci (6) with a block against East Haven, October 1, 2015. Double click to view full screen. 

Alissa Tonucci (6) with a block against Kennedy, November 9, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

Mariana Kalander (29) with a kill against Platt Tech, October 27, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

Amanda DiLeonardo (17) with a kill against Kennedy, November 9, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

Julia Bothwell (8) with a kill against East Haven, October 1, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

Hannah Plain with an ace against Sacred Heart Academy, September 24, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

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Julia Bothwell (8) with an ace against Kennedy, November 9, 2015. Double click to view full screen. 

Amanda DiLeonardo (17) with a kill against Platt Tech, October 27, 2015. Double click to view full screen. 

VOLLEYBALL 2015

Amanda DiLeonardo (17) with a kill against East Haven, October 1, 2015. Double click to view full screen.

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