Above: Team captains Matt Carasotto and Leo Kaldor hold the state championship plaque, flanked by fellow captains Oliveia Shaughnessy and Mia Schenenga. Submitted photo
The EGHS Unified Volleyball team won their second state championship in a row Sunday, Nov. 6, against Bishop Hendricken, in straight sets (25-20, 25-19). It was the icing on the cake of a pitch-perfect season.
The Avengers started strong and gained a wide lead in the first set. Hendricken came on to it a closer game but they were never able to score more than 2 or 3 points at a time, with EG holding the lead through the first set. Serves were strong as was play at the net from all players.
“The partners passed the ball remarkably which enabled perfect sets,” said Coach Patty Carasotto. “They were not letting anything drop. Seniors Robert Brooks and Mia Schenenga had strong plays and presence on the court which set the stage for others to follow.”
In the second game, Hendricken took an early 4-1 lead. EG was able to shake off a few errors and come back point by point.
“We had remarkable play by all our athletes, especially from senior captains Leo Kaldor and Matthew Carosotto. They hit every ball over the net that was set to them along with strong back court serves,” said Coach Carasotto.
She added, “Overall, there was just an overwhelming sense of calm with all the players even when we had errors. We played our game and that has always been our philosophy never getting rattled by what the other side is doing. Each player knew that the coaches and bench were behind them. They were locked in the minute we all walked into the gym unified. We had so many practices this season, more than we ever had and that truly made the difference. Their skill level and unity together created an atmosphere of family. This will be a game many will remember.”
Carasotto said the fans in the stands provided a huge boost.
“We have never had that many fans. That also made an impact on our play. People who never saw us play were there. What a treat for them to see the best game of the season.”
She also gave a shout out to the Hawks. “They played a great game and are always a strong team. We had not played them all season so we had not idea what they were like until yesterday. Some of the volleys went back and forth 8-10 times. The crowd cheered for both teams during those times. How could you not?”
In addition to Carasotto, the team’s coaching staff including assistant coach Marie Therese Shaughnessy as well as former Unified athletes Mike Carne and Liam Shaughnessy.