After playing sparingly a season ago, Meghan Cegielski is now making her presence felt as senior leader on the girls’ volleyball team at Glastonbury High School.
Through the team’s first games, Cegielski has already surpassed her statistical totals from a season ago and has filled a major need upfront for a Guardians' team that enters the week with a record of 9-3.
“Last year I felt like I was a little more scared on the court, but this year I feel like I’ve been able to play with more confidence and help the underclassmen,” said Cegielski.
On Sept. 30, the prolific outside hitter tallied career-highs in both kills (8) and aces (6) in a three set win over Avon. The following game she threw down seven kills in a win over E.O. Smith.
She has played a variety of positions during her time at GHS and played some libero a season ago. This fall, she has taken her game to another level and become impactful near the net, racking up the third most kills on the team.
Cegielski said she is excited to be in her new position, playing alongside returning all-conference senior Evelyn Brenton and junior standout Amanda Leclair on the frontline.
Head coach Tony Sanith stated the team was looking for that third hitter this season and Cegielski natural abilities made her an ideal fit.
“We knew we had Evelyn as our returning hitter, but we didn’t know where our other offense was going to come from and to have her step us has helped us out a lot,” stated Sanith. “Meghan has always had the ability to instinctually play well. She is a great hitter and she is smart. We wanted to give her a role where she can play more freely.”
Cegielski, who also plays for the Huskie Volleyball Club in the offseason, said she became intrigued by the game of volleyball after seeing it on television, adding “watching professionals doing it inspired me.”
She is one of eight seniors that are guiding the Guardians, who dropped their first two matches this year before rebounding to win nine of their last ten matches.
Through the first dozen matches, Cegielski leads the team in digs, while Brenton leads the team in both kills and blocks. Rebecca Lavoie has assumed the libero role and freshman McKenna Reynolds is averaging over five assists per set as a setter.
Sanith said that Lavoie’s move to libero has been the key this fall. It allowed Cegielski to move upfront and put Lavoie, who was originally supposed to be the team’s setter, into the defensive role.
Cegielski said the team shook off the early losses and began playing more as a team, adding, “Spending so much time together has made us close and we all knew each other already from years of playing together. We have been able to foster good relations overall as a team.”
Sanith said it took a couple of games to figure out his rotation, but once he did the team started to click.
“We just had to figure out what our best lineup was. I came with the idea of what the lineup could be and we tried it out and the chemistry and fit wasn’t quite there,” added Sanith. “A lot of the players are playing different positions, but they accepted the challenge.”
Glastonbury has a rematch at Conard—who previously beat the Guardians in three sets—this Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. The Guardians returns home on Tuesday, Oct. 18 to welcome Hall to GHS for a match at 6 p.m.
Cegielski said the key to a strong second half of the season is working more effectively as a unit on the floor, adding. “If we can make sure we are focusing as a team, then we could be really good.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin