Westies fall in Opener
WH drops match to Jonathan Law in season opener
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 6, 2018) 
- West Haven coach Kate Coldren understands the importance of every match, even the contests which open the season. Last season, the Westies missed the postseason by falling two matches short.

Looking to avoid that same fate in 2018, Coldren was hoping to get out of the gates quickly in 2018. That quick start will have to wait.

Dropping their first two games, West Haven rallied to win the third, but fell to Sacred Heart Academy 3-1 in the season opener for both teams Thursday evening in Hamden.

















Irene Ronan and West Haven volleyball against Sacred Heart Academy, September 6, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

"We just had trouble putting everything together," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We would have some amazing plays, but then we would lose intensity and focus. We weren't quite consistent enough in anything to beat Sacred Heart tonight. We definitely know what we need to work on to prep for our next match."

The Westies had hoped to set the tone of the match, but instead lost the first two games 25-18 and 25-19. After losing two close games, the Westies rallied and won another close set, 25-23, in the third. It looked as if the Westies would pull out the fourth game in another nail-biter, but the Sharks inched away and narrowly topped West Haven 25-23. 

















Kara Erickson (c.) returns a serve against Sacred Heart Academy, September 6, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 

"Irene (Ronan) had a really solid performance tonight," Coldren said. "She was our go to for hitting and serving tonight. Nancy (Tapia) played very well on defense as well. Both she and Irene kept us in these games."

Irene Ronan led the Westies with six aces, 14 kills, two blocks, and one assist, while Nancy Tapia added three kills, 10 digs, one block, and one assist. 

Giliana Santaniello did well setting up the offense with 13 assists, and also served well with eight aces. Noelle Noble chipped in three kills and four 4 digs, Celina Condon had three digs, Bria Stanley added four kills, and Thiana Baez had four, 4 digs.


Westies top Lyman Hall
WH picks up first win of season
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 12, 2018)
 - The West Haven volleyball team notched its first win of the season with a 3-2 decision over Lyman Hall Wednesday evening.  With the 25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory,  West Haven improved to 1-1 on the year. 
"It was a total team effort tonight," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "Every single girl on the team stepped up and played their role. We fought for every single point and even when we got down a little, we never quit.  I am so impressed with the heart of this team. I think the girls are finally seeing that if they are going to win they're going to have to do it together and hopefully this is the confidence boost that they needed."

















West Haven volleyball. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Senior Irene Ronan and junior Bria Stanley had solid matches for the Westies as Stanley had 11 kills and five blocks, and Ronan was solid with seven kills,  three digs,  and two blocks.
"Irene (Ronan) and Bria (Stanley) dominated the net in the middle," Coldren said. "They were so solid and consistent that they were our go to tonight.  Nancy (Tapia) had a great all around game in the front row and back row,  and our defense did very well."

















West Haven volleyball. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Senior Jennifer Ortiz ran the offense with 31 assists,  while also playing solid defense with five digs.  Senior Nancy Tapia had a strong game as well for the Westies with 12 kills and six digs. 

In what was a close match, the Westies won the first game and were narrowly defeated in each of the next two games. West Haven showed its resiliency by posting a four-point victory in the fourth game and winning by two in the fifth and deciding game to win the match. 
Junior Noelle Noble was strong on defense with seven digs,  while adding six kills on offense,  and senior Celina Condon and junior Thiana Baez each had three digs. 


Two in a Row
Westies top Hillhouse
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 14, 2018)
 - The West Haven volleyball team won its second straight contest with a 3-0 victory over Hillhouse in New Haven Friday evening. With the 25-13, 25-14, 25-9 victory, the Westies improved to 2-1 on the season. 

After falling in the season opener, West Haven has responded nicely. On Friday, the Westies got off to a quick start with the 12-point win, then finished strong as well, dominating the final game. 
"We played well tonight and it was great to get another win under our belt," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We stayed focused and played our level of volleyball. Nancy (Tapia) and Irene (Ronan) both had very solid performances. Our consistency is so important to our success this season and I hope we keep up the great work that we are doing."

Jennifer Ortiz ran the West Haven offense with 17 assists and three aces, while Irene Ronan had 11 kills and four aces. Noelle Noble was solid with six aces and four digs, and Kara Erickson added six digs defensively. 


Westies fall to Amity
Spartans post 3-0 victory
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 17, 2018)
 - Seth Davis and his Amity volleyball team are still trying to figure out the 2018 squad. With as many as four positions still to be finalized. Davis is looking to see who steps up to fill those roles.
One role he does not have to worry about is that of senior hitter Abby Harbinson. No matter where she is on the court, opponents have to be aware of her.
West Haven found this out first hand Monday evening as Harbinson took over in each game when her team needed her most as the Spartans defeated West Haven 25-16, 25-14, 25-9 at West Haven High. The senior finished with 12 kills, but it was not the number of kills, but when those kills came in the match.

















Nancy Tapia (23) against Amity, September 17, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
“We know we were not playing our best,” Harbinson said. “We were making a lot of errors on our side. We want to improve and see how that improvement shows in one game alone.”
After pulling away from a close game in the opener to win by nine points, Amity found itself in a battle with the Westies in the second game. With the Spartans leading 13-12, Harbinson took over.
Three straight kills by the senior had the Spartans in front 16-12 and Amity never looked back. A block by Megan Carpenter put the Spartans up by five points before West Haven’s Irene Ronan blasted a kill to get the Westies within 20-14.
“She certainly did take over,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said of Harbinson. “That is about where we stopped playing. They get some momentum going and they just took over. We were unable to stop them. You cannot give her or that team free balls. They take advantage of that.”
The Westies never got closer as a run of errors kept the Spartans in control. Those errors helped Amity close the second game on a 16-2 run.
“It all starts with our passing,” Amity coach Seth Davis said. “If we can control our side of the court, we play a lot better. When we control our side, we can play with a lot of teams.”

















Bria Stanley (13) against Amity, September 17, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
The win in the second game by the Spartans took some steam out of the Westies as Amity cruised in the third and final game.
Harbinson opened the final game with a kill and a dink, before another Ronan kill for the Westies has the Westies within one.
An ace by Zoe DiZenzo and another kill by Harbinson had the Spartans up five and West Haven never got closer. A pair of kills by Carpenter put Amity up 12-4 and 17-5, before a kill by West Haven’s Jennifer Ortiz was answered by two more Harbinson kills.
“There are still three or four positions we are trying to figure out,” Davis said. “We are trying to see where we have the perfect fit.”
Kills by Maddy Smith and Mariam Tkeshelashvili put the Spartans closer to clinching the match, before three West Haven errors helped seal the win for the Spartans.
DiZenzo ran the Amity offense with 17 assists, while Tkeshelashvili had five kills for the Spartans. Ronan led West Haven with five kills and one block, while Bria Stanley added four kills. 
















Irene Ronan with a kill for West Haven against Amity, September 17, 2018. Video courtesy of Mike Madera. 
















Irene Ronan with a kill for West Haven against Amity, September 17, 2018. Video courtesy of Mike Madera. 


Heartbreaker
Hamden rallies to top Westies 3-2
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 20, 2018)
 - There are losses and there are tough losses. The West Haven girls volleyball team suffered on of those tough losses Thursday evening. 

Leading two games to one, West Haven could not seal the deal and watched as Hamden rallied to win the final two games to post a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Westies at West Haven High Thursday evening. With the heartbreaking 25-17, 14-25, 25-14, 21-25, 14-16 loss, West Haven fell to 2-3 on the season. 

















Bria Stanley (13) against Hamden, September 20, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
"Tonight was a very tough loss and the girls were full of emotions," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "They worked very hard and still came out on the losing end. The good news is they know they don't like this feeling, so hopefully they will do everything it takes to make sure this doesn't happen again. We definitely had far too many unforced errors and they seemed to happen at the worst possible time. They have to stay focused and disciplined in order for us to be successful and get these wins."

















Nancy Tapia (23) against Hamden, September 20, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
Jennifer Ortiz ran the offense with 26 assists, had three digs on the defensive side and played well all around.  Nancy Tapia also had a solid all-around match with 13 kills and six digs, while Noelle Noble was equally impressive with seven digs and four aces. Irene Ronan was solid up front with 10 kills, Celina Condon had three digs, and Bria Stanley added four blocks and two kills. 

"Nancy (Tapia), Jen (Ortiz), and Noelle (Noble) played well on defense tonight," Coldren said. "They were scrappy and kept us alive during a lot of plays. Nancy and Irene (Ronan) did well at the net. We needed to be a little more consistent but overall they played well."


Another Heartbreaker
Cross comes back to top Westies 3-2
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 21, 2018) 
- The West Haven volleyball team seemingly loves excitement. Unfortunately for the Westies, that excitement has not been kind to them. 

Watching as Cross stormed back in the final game, West Haven lost its second straight five-game heart breaker, 25-17, 19-25, 12-25, 25-17, 13-15, at West Haven Friday evening. 

















Celina Condon with the dig against Cross, September 21, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.

With the third consecutive loss, West Haven fell to 2-4 on the year. 
"It was a very frustrating night," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We won the first game and then played really flat in the next two games.  Even though we won a couple of games, we couldn't put everything together and get our offense going. There were a lot of breakdowns in communication and unforced errors again. We really need to get over this hump and get back to winning, but it's going to take a total team effort.  This past week of matches we definitely beat ourselves in most cases and we have to get back on track."

















West Haven against Cross, September 21, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.

Jennifer Ortiz ran the offense with 18 assists and four aces, while also adding three digs defensively. Nancy Tapia and Irene Ronan each had 10 kills, Noelle Noble played well in back with 10 digs, and Celina Condon also added five digs. 

"Noelle (Noble) had a good night in the back row and Nancy (Tapia) continues to play well in the front and back row," Coldren said.   

Tapia added four digs, Bria Stanley had four kills, and Kara Erickson added three digs.


Lauralton tops Westies
WH drops fourth straight
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 24, 2018) 
- The West Haven girls volleyball team lost its fourth straight match with a 3-0 decision at Lauralton Hall Monday evening. With the 25-19, 25-15, 25-20 defeat, West Haven fell to 2-5 on the year. 

"We played with very little energy," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We can't shake off mistakes and stay focused on our game. It's become a very frustrating situation for everyone. At some point, we have to regroup as a team and figure this out because we are capable of so much more."

Jennifer Ortiz had nine assists, Nancy Tapia added five digs and four kills, Irene Ronan had five kills, and Noelle Noble had eight digs. Giliana Santaniello chipped in four aces, two kills, three digs, and four assists, while Bria Stanley added five kills. 


Westies drop fifth in row
Shelton blanks WH 3-0 
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 26, 2018) -
The West Haven volleyball team was looking to play better after a midseason slump extended. While the Westies did play better, they could not snap the skid. 

​Battling from the start, West Haven could not prevail, falling on the road against Shelton 30-28, 25-20, 25-14. The fifth consecutive loss dropped the Westies to 2-6 on the year. 

"Although we lost, we are definitely playing better," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We still need work on our confidence and staying positive through our mistakes. But, as long as we are making steps in the right direction, we can get back on track.  We just need to keep pushing forward."

Nancy Tapia played well with six digs and three kills, Noelle Noble had five digs, Jennifer Ortiz added five assists and four digs, while Irene Ronan had four blocks, two kills, and two aces. Giliana Santaniello also played well with three kills, three assists, and two digs. 
"Noelle (Noble) had a very good game," Coldren said. "She passed well and she played smart all the way around. Gilly (Santaniello) also had an all around solid performance."  


Skid Over
Westies top Career 
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(September 28, 2018)
 - The skid is finally over. After dropping five consecutive matches, some in tough fashion, the West Haven volleyball team got back in the win column with a 3-0 victory over Career Friday evening. 

The Westies started quickly and never stopped in defeating the Panthers 25-17, 25-11, and 25-20. The home win allowed West Haven to pick up its third victory of the season and improve to 3-6. 

The key to the match was ball control for the Westies. Making too many of its own errors during the skid, West Haven had a different focus Friday evening. 
"We played very solid and consistent volleyball tonight," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "We had very specific goals coming into this game and the girls did a great job meeting those goals. One of those goals was free ball passing as perfect as possible so we could get our offense going and we did just that. We served and hit more consistently tonight then we have in a few games. We're starting to get a rhythm back and we need to keep working hard to maintain it."

Giliana Santaniello started the rhythm by leading the offense with 11 assists, while Jennifer Ortiz had eight assists and Nancy Tapia two helpers. 

Tapia was solid on both sides as she had six kills and six digs. Noelle Noble was solid with nine digs and four kills, Irene Ronan had five kills, and Bria Stanley added four kills. 

"Jen (Ortiz) and Gilly (Santaniello) both set very well tonight which made it possible for Nancy (Tapia), Irene (Ronan), and Bria (Stanley) to dominate at the net," Coldren said. "Defensively, everyone did a great job reading and being in position. It was a strong team effort tonight."


Two in a Row
Westies nip Lyman Hall 
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 1, 2018)
 - After dropping five matches in a row, the West Haven volleyball team is starting to heat up. Rallying in the final two games, West Haven posted a 25-21, 14-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-10 victory over Lyman Hall Monday evening.

With their second consecutive victory, the Westies improved to 4-6 on the season.
"It was a great win tonight and an important win tonight," West Haven coach Kate Colden said "We were up and down. I believe we felt comfortable after winning the first game and we let up. However, we fought back and didn't quit. We really need to use the momentum and energy we have and push forward. We got our offense going early in the match and that's obviously important. We spread the ball around and the hitters did their job. We all worked together tonight and that's what it's going to take to get these wins to get us into the post season."

Nancy Tapia and Noelle Noble were stellar on defense leading the way with 13 digs, while Noble had 10 digs. 

Irene Ronan had 10 kills and four aces to lead the offense. Noble also had six kills, while Giliana Santaniello finished with 15 assists, six digs, and four kills. Bria Stanley finished with six blocks in the win.  
"Nancy (Tapia), Noelle (Noble), and Gilly (Santaniello) held us together in the back row, and Irene (Ronan) and Bria (Stanley) were tough in the front row. Gilly (Santaniello) had a very good all around performance tonight and made really smart and consistent plays."  



Three Straight
WH tops SHA to move to 5-6
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 4, 2018) -
The West Haven volleyball team is on a roll. After a streak which put the Westies under the .500 mark, West Haven won its third straight match with a 25-22, 25-18, 25-22 victory over Sacred Heart Academy Thursday evening in West Haven.
















West Haven against Sacred Heart Academy, October 4, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
“We are finally starting to play like I know we can,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said after her team moved to 5-6. “We stayed positive and energetic throughout the entire game. We served tough and we did a great job mixing up our hits.  It was another solid team effort tonight and we need to keep this momentum going.”
Jennifer Ortiz ran the offense with nine assists, while Bria Stanley had eight kills. Nancy Tapia added seven kills and six digs, Irene Ronan had four aces, four kills, and three blocks, while Noelle Noble chipped in five digs, three aces and three kills. Celina Condon had seven digs, and Giliana Santaniello had eight assists and seven aces. 
“Nancy (Tapia) and Noelle (Noble) hit very well on the outside tonight and their defense was outstanding,” Coldren said. “CC (Condon) did a great job in the back row tonight and Irene (Ronan) and Bria (Stanley) had another strong performance in the middle.  Our offense is looking very good, we have a lot of weapons and we need to use them.”  

Four in a Row
Westies at .500 mark
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 5, 2018)
 - The West Haven volleyball team won its fourth straight match with a 3-0 victory over Hillhouse in West Haven Friday evening. The scores of the match were 25-22, 25-13, 25-18 and allowed West Haven to improve to 6-6 on the season..
















West Haven against Hillhouse, October 5, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
“We started off a little flat and unfocused tonight but we got back on track and came out on the winning end,” West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. “We served tough which forced Hillhouse to send a lot of free balls over the net and we were able to turn those into points.  We played well as a team tonight and it feels like we are putting everything together at the right time of the season.  We have a few more wins to get into the post season so we need to keep working hard.”
Jennifer Ortiz had nine assists, Giliana Santaniello had seven assists and five aces, Nancy Tapia had five kills and five digs, and Irene Ronan had six kills and three aces. Noelle Noble chipped in five digs, four aces and four kills. 
“Irene (Ronan) and Noelle (Noble) played great at the net,” Coldren said. “They found openings in Hillhouse's defense and placed the ball well. Gilly (Santaniello) and Lauren (Kenney) have been serving tough and consistent for the past few games and tonight was no different.  Passing has been much better in general and all the work we've put in is really starting to pay off.”


Winning Streak Over
Westies fall at Amity
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 10, 2018) - 
The West Haven girls volleyball team has done everything possible to get back to the .500 mark after a slow start to the season. That also included a four-match winning streak. 

Looking to climb over the .500 mark for the first time since earlier in the season, West Haven traveled to play one of the top teams in the conference in Amity. When all was said and done, the Spartans were too much for the Westies and ended West Haven's winning streak with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-17 victory over the Westies at Amity High Wednesday evening. 
















West Haven against Amity, October 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
"We played well in the first game," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "After that, we had some trouble staying consistent with our passing, so it was difficult to keep our offense going. Against a team like Amity, we have to be aggressive and play smart. We had some really positive spurts and then we let up. We just have to learn from our mistakes and get ready for the Cross on Friday."

Giliana Santaniello ran the West Haven offense with 10 assists, while also adding three digs, three kills, and two aces. Nancy Tapia had six digs and three kills, Jennifer Ortiz added four digs and three assists, Noelle Noble added five digs, and Irene Ronan and Bria Stanley each had four kills each.
















West Haven against Amity, October 11, 2018. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske. 
"Jen (Ortiz), Noelle (Noble), and Nancy (Tapia) played really well on defense," Coldren said. "Irene (Ronan) and Bria (Stanley) got some really good touches on the blocks that slowed down the ball and made it easier for our defenders.  They were also really effective hitting when we were able to get them sets."  


Westies fall to Cross
Governors blank WH 3-0
By MIKE MADERA
Westie Blue
(October 12, 2018)
 - After winning four consecutive matches to get back to the . 500 mark, the West Haven volleyball team has been unable to sustain the momentum. Losing two consecutive matches, West Haven fell to 6-8 on the year. 

West Haven's latest loss was a 25-11, 25-18, 25-16 decision against Wilbur Cross in New Have Friday evening.
"I'm not sure where my team was tonight, but they definitely didn't show up for this game," West Haven coach Kate Coldren said. "It was a frustrating night and we really need to regroup and get back on track. I know we'll bounce back from this and be ready for next week."

Jennifer Ortiz had seven assists and four digs, Nancy Tapia had seven digs and four kills, Irene Ronan added six aces and five kills, and Celina Condon had seven digs. Giliana Santaniello added four digs, four assists, two kills, and two aces. 

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