Fall sports

Greenwich Academy volleyball team begins season with new coach, numerous first-season varsity players

Photo by David Fierro: From left to right: Casey Brower, Alicia Qin and Sofia Marti are senior captains of the Greenwich Academy volleyball team, which has its sights set on contending for the FAA Tournament championship.

With a new head coach and several freshmen joining the program, Greenwich Academy’s volleyball team has a different look to it this season.

However, GA, of course, wants to produce the same type of results it posted for numerous seasons under former coach Christy Girard.

Girard stepped down as head coach of the Gators after spending 21 seasons at the helm. During her tenure, Greenwich Academy won seven FAA championships, one NEPSAC Class B title and was a consistent contender for the FAA title.

Bryan Coloma begins his first season as Greenwich Academy’s coach. A physical education teacher at GA, Coloma served as an assistant coach on Girard’s varsity staff for one season and has been a part of the school’s volleyball program for five seasons. Stephen Caddy joins Greenwich Academy’s volleyball program as a varsity assistant coach.

“Christy Girard did an incredible job with this program,” Coloma said. “Her legacy will be here forever. She’s been such a mentor for me and I appreciate everything she’s done. Taking over this program has been exciting. I felt the support from the community and I felt the support from GA. Being a teacher here at GA has made it easier for me to connect with the girls.”

The 2021 season saw Greenwich Academy register a record of 13-4, defeat Greens Farms Academy, 3-1, in the FAA Tournament quarterfinals and lose to King in the FAA semifinals.

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich Academy’s back row gets ready to receive a serve during a recent scrimmage.

Among some of the graduates from last season’s successful squad were Evie Kay Girard, Christy Girard’s daughter and Alexandra Trofort. Girard is playing volleyball at the University of New Haven and Trofort is continuing her career at Amherst College.

GA’s 2022 captains are junior Casey Brower, senior Sofia Marti and senior Alicia Qin. The three captains are experienced members of the varsity team. Brower, an outside hitter, joined the varsity squad as an eighth-grader.

“It’s really fun,” Brower said of being a part of the team. “I’ve known a lot of these girls for a while and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know everyone more – people I have been on the team with and new people.”

The Gators began their season by edging Greenwich Country Day School, 3-2, at GCDS in an FAA match. Brower likes the team’s spirit and enthusiasm.

“We have such good energy,” Brower said. “Anytime someone gets a point, everyone will cheer, everyone will be celebrating and I think that it’s really helpful to support everyone so that everyone can play their best.”

Greenwich Academy opened its 2022 campaign with a 3-2 win over Greenwich Country Day School.

Brower will be relied upon to help power the Gators’ offense.

“She is an incredible athlete, an incredible leader – very vocal,” Coloma said of Brower.

Qin is the Gators’ libero – a defensive specialist, who plays on the back row. She’s looking forward to serving as one of the squad’s captains.

“It’s really exciting, this is my fourth year on varsity, so it’s nice to learn from good examples,” Qin said. “They’ve all done a great job before us. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to use my experience to help the team and better the team.”

Qin is impressed with the team’s dynamic.

“We definitely have a very young team,” she said. “Most of our team is underclassmen, but it’s nice to see that we have a lot of new talent. I could tell that the team is going to get better throughout the season and it’s going to be exciting to see everyone grow and get better.”

Casey Brower, right, communicates with Maddie Mendicina, middle, near the net during a recent scrimmage.

Said Coloma: “Alicia has been on the varsity team for four years now. She’s very calm and collected.”

Marti, who has been a member of the team since she was an eighth-grader, is one of the Gators’ setters. She’ll set up her teammates and keep the offensive flowing.

“I’m really excited for the season,” Marti said. “We have a lot of new faces on the team, we have a lot of freshmen. We had a lot of really strong players graduate last year, so I’m excited to see how the team develops.”

“We’re a really good team offensively, we have a lot of strong hitters, so I think that’s going to be really crucial to our success this season,” Marti continued. “Our closeness as a team is a really strong point.”

“Sofia is an incredible leader, she brings a ton of experience and she is one of those kids that is special to coach,” Coloma said.

Outside hitter Devon Mahaffy and middle hitter Issy Fottrell are among some of the freshmen that should help pace the team. Juniors Maddie Mendicina and Hailey Presser and sophomore Natalie Bunnell are among some of the returning players.

Greenwich Academy hopes to make its mark on the FAA volleyball scene this fall.

GA visits School of the Holy Child Tuesday, then travels to Hopkins School on Saturday. Their match against neighborhood rival Sacred Heart Greenwich is scheduled for Oct. 12 at Sacred Heart.

“Our goal as a team is to continue to build where Christy left off and that means competing for every game no matter who the opponent is,” Coloma said. “We have four freshmen on the roster and we’re really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”

“I think we have a lot of potential,” Brower said. “We lost two people who are playing college volleyball right now. That’s hard, but I think we have a really good chance this year, whether it be FAA or NEPSAC – we can get really far.”

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