Friday September 7, 2012

LENOX -- A county volleyball coach was recently assessing the teams he expected to make the post-season.

"It’ll be the same few we’ve had the past couple of years," said the coach. "Lee, Greylock, Wahconah, St. Joe."

Conspicuous by their absence was Lenox, a team that has, in fact, made the postseason every year for the past three years.

But Millionaire coach Ed Paquette is fine with that.

"I think we’re going to do okay," he said. "I think we have a chance to be pretty good.

"The past few years, we never had any height," he said. "We’ve always been a good defensive team. But this year, we’ have a little bit of size, and some hitters that can score points."

Not coincidentally, Paquette and assistant coach Derek Malcolm have been here for all three tournament teams.

"This is our fifth year here," said Malcolm. "We’ve made the tournament three of the past four years.".

The year didn’t start out particularly well. There was a very tough 3-2 loss at Wahconah on Tuesday night.

"Wahconah has a very good team," said Paquette. "We made some early-season mistakes, but we have time to fix them."

The Millionaires are a somewhat dichotomous squad: A veteran, young team. Paquette returned 10 varsity starters, but only two seniors. He has eight juniors, as well.

"We only graduated two players," he said.

The Millionaires are led on the court by senior Rachel Cogswell, a two-time captain.


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Cogswell has been with the program since seventh grade. She credits her leadership skills to her former co-captain last year, Sami Patella.

"Sami helped me learn the leadership role last year," said Cogswell. "When the season started this year, I was already prepared."

Cogswell reiterated that the Millionaires may not have many seniors, but they do have a lot of veteran players.

"There are actually a lot of other good leaders on this team," she said. "It’s not really just me."

Paquette and Malcolm are both early-1970s graduates of Hoosac Valley High School. They began playing volleyball after their high school years ended, in the mid-1970s for the Adams Turn Hall team.

"When we started, there weren’t really any other volleyball teams in the county," he said. "We would have to go to Schenectady and Albany for games."

Although there is now a county high school program, Malcolm explained that for most coaches in the Berkshires, teaching at the lower levels is still a must.

"We have 10 brand new kids [on the JV team] this year," he said. "A lot of them have never played. We’ll have to work with them from Day One. But it will pay off."

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile