Glastonbury High School’s Paul Giliberto is part of a robust group of seniors that are guiding boys’ volleyball during the program’s most successful campaign in two decades.
Like many of the Guardians’ players, Giliberto is wearing multiple hats, serving as one of the team’s setters and playing outside on the front line.
Head coach Tony Sanith recently named Giliberto a GHS Difference Maker, which recognized the school’s athletes for their various contributions in and out of competition.
“Paul always shows up to practice and treats all the coaches and his teammates with the utmost respect which allows him to become so approachable and build great connections,” stated Sanith. “Also, he respects the sport of volleyball and how it should be played. He is a student of the game and looks to improve each day.”
Coming into the week the Guardians have been thoroughly dominant, downing all 15 opponents and only losing a total of five sets along the way.
“Having eight seniors on the team really helps,” Giliberto said. “We got a lot of experience last season and we played club volleyball in the offseason, so we’re a lot more developed and this year the chemistry is a lot better.”
Giliberto leads the team in both aces and assists. He is averaging over an ace per set, highlighted by his dozen aces in a win over Lewis Mills on April 8. On May 6, he served up a season-high 29 assists in a four-set win over Conard.
Outside of the arena, Giliberto is part of DECA (a business club) and part of the Psychology Club at GHS.
Prior to high school, Giliberto had never played competitive volleyball and decided to join the team to stay busy during the spring.
The group used the last four years to learn the game and create cohesion on the court.
Last spring Giliberto earned All-Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) honors after totaling 385 assists as the team’s primary setter.
Following his all-conference junior campaign, he played offseason club volleyball for the first time and said the experience gave him even more confidence entering his senior year. He was able to expand his game and further develop his serving, mastering the technique of the float serve.
After graduating fellow all-conference players Liam Scales and Peter Sposito, Giliberto and the returning seniors knew they had a chance to springboard off a 17-win season from a year ago.
Giliberto, Matt Herrera, Stephen Dayton, Jack Niland, Zach Kridler, Ryan Hoffman, Eric Rose, and Ryan Barcikowski are the eight seniors that are engineering the Guardians undefeated spring.
“We have a lot of fun and I think that has shown in the games,” said Giliberto. “We are all very close and have fun together to take the edge off to not feel the pressure.”
Giliberto and his senior brothers are hoping this season ends like it did back in 2002 when the program won a Class L state championship.
“We started out wanting to prove ourselves, so we had a lot of fire to start the season and now the win streak is still going,” added Giliberto, who will attend Villanova University to study math and statistics next year. “I think as we get closer to the end of the regular season and into the playoffs it will be even stronger.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin