Bacon Academy’s volleyball player Kiera Stewart was named to the Class M All-State first team by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA).
Stewart, a sophomore setter, was shocked when she received the news.
“I didn’t even know what All-State was or ECC All-Star, so it was really surprising to get those accomplishments,” said Stewart, who was also named All-Eastern Connecticut Conference (ECC) after guiding the Bobcats to a conference crown. “It’s a very big honor. When coach called me to tell me that I made it I was surprised and didn’t know what to say, but inside I was super excited.”
Head coach Scott Dumond called Stewart the team’s “heartbeat on the floor”, adding, “She not only inspires through her play but also through her words. She’s an unassuming young lady that cares about her teammates above herself and does all she can to make them better. She is the first non-senior captain I have ever chosen for this team for next season. I am proud to coach her.”
Stewart started playing volleyball in the 7th grade, joining her older sister, Cameron Stewart, who played for the high school before graduating in 2020. The sisters were following in the footsteps of their father, Dave Stewart, who was a former player and coach.
She found the sport enjoyable and became an instant floor general, settling quickly into her setter role.
“When I play I am not thinking about anything else, I just try and enjoy the game,” said Stewart. “I’m not a super extravert person in daily life but when it comes to the sport I find it easy to talk to people and we can relate because we’re all playing the same sport. I think I just built up confidence over the years by playing with different players on different teams.”
Her freshmen season at Bacon was modified due to the COVID-19 restriction and Stewart was unsure how the team would fare this fall.
Following an up and down start, the team peaked late in the season and went on an eight-game winning streak.
The winning streak included wins over Plainville and New London to win the Division II ECC tournament. In the win over New London, who was ranked #1 in the tournament, Stewart was named the Most Valuable Player.
“Against New London it was a very energetic atmosphere,” recalled Stewart, whose confidence grew as the team started winning. “As we got closer it was reflected on the court because we were more energetic and started communicating more. Everyone was treated equal and that’s why we had the success that we had. The seniors definitely supported me, they were very supportive.”
Following the win over New London, the team won a pair of state tournament games over Lauralton and Prince before falling to Mercy in the Class M quarterfinals.
Overall, the Bobcats won 18 of 24 games and Stewart averaged a team-high 23 assists per game.
Stewart, who enjoys baking in her downtime, said she will play club volleyball in the offseason to work on getting stronger in all areas of her game.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin