PITTSFIELD >> Thursday's volleyball jamboree at Pittsfield High School gave four North Division teams a chance play against each other in game-action situations. Mount Anthony, Mount Greylock, Pittsfield and Wahconah played six 20-minute, running clock matches, as every team faced off twice.
Players used the time to perfect fundamentals and positioning, in addition to post-kill celebrations and pre-game handshakes. Coaches found the jamboree useful, as well, as they try to cement their regular-season rotations. Teams such as Pittsfield and Wahconah were hit hard by graduation, so preseason jamborees are very important when evaluating new personnel.
"A lot of [the jamboree] is about getting more comfortable," Pittsfield coach Brian Lawton said. "You can scrimmage against yourself, but you don't really get a good idea of where you're at until you play somebody else."
Pittsfield earned a Western Massachusetts tournament berth with a 9-9 record, but now the Generals must replace their entire offense. Setter Riley Nichols will be important in helping ease the transition.
Mount Greylock looked to be in regular season form, as the Mounties return a strong senior core. Dagny Albano returns at setter, while Serena Chow showed off her powerful spiking ability. Add in Jenna Benzinger's spiking and blocking prowess, and the Mounties appear ready to improve on last year's Western Mass semifinal appearance.
"We want to do better than we did last year and go further," Greylock coach John Albano said, "beat the teams we couldn't beat and play better volleyball."
Improving is the main focus for Berkshire County's newest volleyball team, the Mount Anthony Patriots. The Patriots completed their first season as a varsity program last season, after playing as a club team in Vermont previously. Coach Katie Contrada said the players are playing with more confidence after getting their feet wet against Berkshire County competition. She added that improved fundamentals will help her team continue to make positive strides.
Wahconah will have a mix of experience and youth, but the team seemed to be playing as a cohesive unit on Thursday. Coach Dave Lussier said his junior varsity team had a very successful season last year, and those players are continuing to play well on varsity. Emma Parkington is a key returnee, and she'll have help from several new faces as well.
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252