Shelton girls volleyball positions there for the taking

SHELTON - Coach LeAnne Bianchine stood in front of the Shelton girls’ volleyball bench filled with players. It was scrimmage time with Woodland. For many of Bianchine’s charges it was the first time they saw varsity action. It won’t be the last.

“I told them there is playing time out there,” said Bianchine, who has headlined the Shelton program the last 21 seasons. “We have two players that played varsity last season.”

Julia Krijgsman, team captain with senior classmate Giovanna Gonzalez, and junior libero Albana Hima are the returnees.

“Julia will be an outside hitter again,” Bianchine said of the front row player who helped Shelton finish 10-3 and take second in the SCC playoffs a year ago. “Albana was a DS (defensive specialist) and saw action.”

Gonzalez is a right-side hitter. She will be joined up front by Isabella Tomas, Nadya Uyar and Karolina Martins.

“Ella Gildea is our sophomore setter,” Bianchine said. “She gets to every pass and is learning to put the ball up for the outside and the middle.”

Rebekkah Hurlbert and Allie Tou, both juniors, are middle hitters with senior Alexis Moura.

“Sophomore Esther Park is another outside hitter,” Bianchine said. “I told all the girls to step up and play. Then we will see what happens.”

Shelton meets North Haven in its opener at Shelton Intermediate School on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Home away from home

Shelton will be playing its home matches at Shelton Intermediate School. Murray Gym is getting a makeover.

“It’s going great,” Bianchine said of the transition. “Michelle Sedlock is the volleyball coach at SIS. We sat down and put together a schedule that is good for both teams. We try to get to as many of their games as we can and root them on.”

Bianchine has a place in her heart for the old gym.

“My blood, sweat and skin are on that floor,” said the former Shelton basketball standout and 1989 graduate. “I told them to raffle off pieces of floor. I want one. Coach (Howie) Gura loved to hear that screech that comes with legs hitting the floor. Those bruises were badges of honor for us. He and Tony Piccolo (softball) were my two coaches. Everything I do teaching teams I learned from them.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354