(Cayleigh Griffin, a senior captain on the Trinity Catholic High School volleyball team, blogged about her experiences this season. This is the final entry of the volleyball season, but Cayleigh has agreed to continue blogging about her basketball season. Check back soon for her first entry.)
By Cayleigh Griffin
I knew the season was going to go by fast, but I never thought it would go by this fast. I remember writing my first blog, anticipating the season ahead, hoping for the best.
I remember thinking about how far the six seniors have come in four years and anticipating the potential we’d have with all of us on the floor. I remember The Advocate calling us the “sleeper” team, the one to watch out for down the stretch. That is indeed what we turned out to be.
We closed out the regular season with a record of 11-7, clinching a berth in the state tournament as the 13th seed and securing the seventh seed in the FCIAC tournament, giving us a chance to play Fairfield Ludlowe, a team we had taken to five games just a week before.
Another impressive accomplishment was winning the city title for the first time since the trophy’s inaugural year. If you are a Stamford team, that is something to be proud of.
FCIACs came along and we managed to upset the number-two seed, according to several league coaches becoming the first-ever seventh seed to do that in FCIAC history. Our loss to Greenwich in the semifinals was tough, but nevertheless, we stayed confident in our abilities to succeed in states.
We rattled off our first two opponents in the state tournament with relative ease, before facing a more challenging number-five ranked Terryville. Although the match was more back and forth then we hoped, the Crusader volleyball team was able persevere and secure a 3-1 victory.
After that win, nothing could tear us down. We were on cloud nine, so proud of everything we had achieved over the past three months. The last time our school volleyball team accomplished that was back in the 80s, when our school was known as Stamford Catholic.
The semifinals were going to be no walk in the park, and we knew that. We were facing number-one seeded Morgan, which had gone undefeated all season. Our attitudes toward the game, however, never changed.
We did not go into that game nervous, scared or defeated, but went in encouraged, excited and overwhelmingly happy to be in that position.
After four tough sets, we ended up losing. Most people were shocked that not one tear was shed and smiles graced all our faces, even after this loss.
Yes, we were all sad and disappointed that the season had to end, but we were even prouder of everything we had accomplished and how far we had gotten.
The bus ride home was not solemn. Actually, it was quite the opposite. If anyone knows our team, we like to have fun. We made sure we ended on a high note with a bus ride of singing and dancing. If someone were to walk on to our bus at that moment and took a guess at what had just happened to our team, I guarantee they would have thought we had just won the state title.
Writing this final blog for the 2009 volleyball season is especially hard. I have so much I want to say but condensing an unforgettable season is very difficult.
This season has been one of a kind and there is no better group of girls than the ones I had the honor to share it with. What makes it especially unique is the fact that our starting six, and only six, are all seniors. Together, we’ve become such close friends and it transferred over onto the court all season.
Our team theme song was “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and we never did. I’m so honored to have been able to be a member of such an incredible team. I wouldn’t trade this season for anything. We may not have won FCIACs or the state championship, but we had each other.
We have enjoyed each and every day; we’ve had fun together by laughing, singing and dancing constantly. We firmly believed we couldn’t win games unless we were all smiling, joking and supporting each other on and off the court. We have dedicated fans that have attended every single game, lending us support and encouragement when we needed it most.
Although our season is over, I’m still telling myself that I don’t want it to end. The more I think about it, the less I want to let go. Each girl played an important role in our success, adding significance in every position. We depended on each other and put all of our confidence in the other five on the court.
It is going to be extremely weird to not be playing with Kelly, Maddy or Tina anymore. Fortunately, I still get to share the basketball court with Eileen and Clare.
Tina — T, my girl! We have almost every single class together so I will still be seeing you plenty, but we will no longer have volleyball to take over our discussions (I’m sure somehow it will!). You stepped into the role of outside hitter and became such a dominant player. We could not have gone as far as we did without you.
Maddy — There is just so much I can say! I think everyone would agree with me when I say that you were our entertainer. You always kept us laughing and we could look to you when we were feeling down. I mean, even when you weren’t trying, you still kept us laughing, whether it is your obvious questions or the occasional clumsy move. Your serving was BEAST and I knew we could count on you for that final ace to get us to SEMIS!!! We could never have done it without you.
Eileen — EI! Okay, so, we hate each other. Just kidding! We just like to say we do. You completely stepped out of your shell this year and became one of the people I could always go to for a laugh. I loved sharing the back and front row with you and I think we made a pretty good team. We started the ace dance, the “OM NOM NOM,” and the Kelly Palma song and Riverdance routine, which I’m sure will continue to be used for years to come. You’re the best and I’m so glad I still have basketball with you!
Kelly — My partner for life! Together, we managed to do some damage for a pair of middle hitters. I’m so thankful for everything you taught me and helped me out with this season. I could not have been even close to where I am today if it wasn’t for you. You’ve become such a tremendous player and I look forward to watching your success in college. Partner, you better tell me when your club tournaments are because the five of us are coming bearing signs! I’m pretty sure you are NOT ready for this!! Love ya Kell, you’re the best!
Clare — Of course, I leave you for last. My best friend, we’ve shared another season together. Do you remember our freshman year?? Boy, have we come a long way. Our friendship off the court has definitely contributed to some amazing and memorable points on the court. I’m so glad we were able to be passing partners all year and that undeniably prepared us to perform better together in games. It’s a shame that Terp or One never actually worked in a game, but at least we got the posed picture we always wanted! Thank goodness our seasons together are not over and hopefully, you, me and Eileen can lead basketball to some titles! Setter-hitter connection forever!
We’ve come a long way in four years. We’ve put Trinity volleyball back on the map as a force to be reckoned with. As we close off the 2009 season, we can think back on all the amazing things we accomplished.
Three of us are headed back to Walsh court tomorrow for basketball practice, another is headed up to CT Impact for club season, while the other two are headed towards the batting cages and tennis courts.
Wherever life takes us, we will always have the memories and our ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ season to look back on with so much pride.