The highlight of the banquet tends to be 1) the video and 2) naming of the captains. This year was no exception.
Jeff Mate' put together a great introduction to popular music, with the senior parents hamming it up...with the oversized Senior Night volleyballs. Including the Senior Night speeches was a great touch.
Mayor Rob Dolan presented team members plaques with a key to the city.
Coach Celli thanked the people of Melrose and a number of contributors who have helped make the program successful. I was glad to have him recognize one of the "First Ladies of Melrose Volleyball", my wife Ellen. Coach Wall played a message from his son...some infant crying. Nice touch.
The coaches summarized their seasons, JV 21-2 and the varsity winning the state title, and showed thankfulness for the players, families, and each other. It was clear that the coaches work closely together and have a great deal of mutual respect. The current captains noted that within the school, the program has become known as the Volleyball Cult.
Coach Wall awarded Amanda Cain the MVP (voted on by players) and Meri Lessing the most improved. Both earned callups to the varsity for the playoffs. The Boosters awarded the players framed reprints of a Boston Globe season recap.
Coach Celli handed out a number of awards...I should have taken notes.
- Top Server, Amanda Commito 97.5 percent
- Top Defender, Rachel 'The Rock' Johnson
- Dedication Award, Sydney Doherty
- Unsung Hero, Jen Cain
- Most improved, Kayla Wyland
- MVP, Sarah McGowan
- Coach's Award, Brooke Bell
One of the many strengths of the program is the consistency of the culture (not just the cult status the program has engendered). Young adults may not always agree with the rules and discipline, but they contribute to both long-term and short-term success. The coach reiterated that regardless of where the season ended, all positions and playing time are open, and that improvement and performance guide time on the court.
He also made it clear that the goals for next season are unchanged from those of this season, winning the Middlesex League title, the North Sectional, and the State Championship. Establishing demanding goals is part of the culture of success that Coach Celli has brought to Melrose volleyball. Players who (with family support) have made the sacrifices to be successful have set a high standard for future teams to challenge.