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BEST OF THE BUNCH: Dig into that volleyball dish; there was plenty to go around after all

BEST OF THE BUNCH: Dig into that volleyball dish; there was plenty to go around after all

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MERIDEN — Let volleyball be served. We turn the corner on a new week, a new month and deliver the final set of Player of the Year finalists for the fall season.

Girls volleyball takes its turn at the “Best of the Bunch” table after a 2019 campaign not as tasty as usual in terms of team accomplishment, but plenty rich in individual stars.

Cheshire and Wilcox Tech led the way among area teams with 17 wins apiece. Both of the Rams and Indians have a Player of the Year finalist.

Platt went the deepest in the state tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in Class L. The Panthers also have a candidate.

All three finalists are seniors. Two are going on to play in college. The third was valedictorian of her class.

It was, indeed, a high bar. There were several other worthy seniors, all of them All-Conference players, who were very difficult to leave off the ballot.

Cheshire libero Ari Perlini and Cheshire setter Emma Watkinson? Both were All-SCC First Team selections.

Southington’s Brooke Cooney, who played multiple positions, was All-CCC West. Maloney outside hitter Brooke Lathe was All-CCC South.

Our three finalists were also All-Conference. One was All-State, and that was Cheshire outside hitter Lindsey Abramson, who was named to the First Team a year after being All-State Second Team as a junior.

Abramson’s senior numbers validated the promotion. She led the Rams with 194 kills and 71 aces.

Those stats also returned Abramson to the All-Record-Journal Team for a third time and to the All-SCC First Team for a second.

She and the Rams went 14-4 in the regular season and claimed the SCC Hammonasset Division flag. Their season ended at 17-6 in the second round of the Class LL state tournament at the hands of eventual champ Trumbull. 

Individually, Abramson wrapped up her scholastic career playing in the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-Star Game. She is going on to play Division III volleyball at Kenyon College in Ohio.

Our second finalist will also be playing college volleyball. That’s Caitlyn Hart of Platt, who is heading to Division I Sacred Heart University.

An All-RJ player in both volleyball and softball throughout much of her Platt career, Hart led the Panthers to the Class L volleyball quarterfinals last fall. Platt knocked off New London and No. 4 Naugatuck before falling to SCC champ and eventual Class L runner-up Guilford.

Platt’s final record of 14-8 included the CCC South-Colonial Division title.

Hart, a four-year varsity starter, returned to her setter position as a senior and responded with an All-CCC South season in which she dished 488 assists — including 46 in the Class L upset of Naugatuck.

Hart was also a rock on the back line with 157 digs and a force at the service line with 87 aces. 

Our third finalist also did her work for four seasons on Meriden’s Oregon Road. That was Wilcox Tech’s Chloe LaBissoniere.

The senior captain was truly the cream of the Wilcox Tech’s 2020 crop. A multi-sport athlete, LaBissoniere graduated as class valedictorian.

She was All-Conference and All-Record-Journal in volleyball as a junior and again as a senior. In the latter campaign, LaBissoniere led the 17-6 Indians with 187 kills and 113 aces.

That’s our Big 3 for volleyball. A setter with nearly 500 assists and two hitters on the cusp of 200 kills, with the added treat of 271 aces among them. Volleyball was a full plate after all.

The Record-Journal Girls Volleyball Player of the Year will be announced on Thursday, June 18 during the airing of the “Best of the Bunch” awards video on Facebook at 6:30 p.m. The video will also be available on myrecordjournal.com after that initial airing. Finalists in the various awards categories will be unveiled now through June 18. Up next: Boys Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

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