Volleyball: Spikers set on postseason return

Coming off of a 6-14 campaign, the Shelton High girls volleyball team will look for a return trip to the state tournament this fall.

Coach LeAnne Bianchine’s Gaelettes missed out on qualifying last year, hampered by an 0-8 mark in the ultra-competitive Southern Connecticut Conference Housatonic Division — which featured four teams that qualified for states with winning records, including Class LL runner-up Cheshire High.

“One of our main goals is to make the state tournament,” Bianchine said. “The outlook is very positive. We have solid group of seniors and a talented group of juniors and sophomores on the rise.”

Shelton lost seniors Nika Marczak, a steady offensive contributor, and defensive leaders Gina Orazetti and Brook Grande to graduation.

But, the Gaelettes return a strong core, led by senior co-captains Jill Ortoli and Saarah Vohra.

“I believe they will be very good leaders for our team,” Bianchine said.

Juniors Samantha Stevens and Mackenzie Bures are expected to be big contributors as well.

“I’m expecting big things from those two,” Bianchine said.

After facing some of the best teams in the state last year, Shelton put in a big effort over the offseason in an attempt achieve its goal of postseason play.

“We struggled last season,” Bianchine said. “And I believe that was the reason behind why the girls worked so hard in this past offseason… I have complete faith in this team to put us back in contention for tournament time, as well as having a successful season.”

The Gaelettes will open their season on Friday at 5:30 p.m. with a road game at Wilbur Cross in New Haven.