(l-r) Amber Murphy, Jenna Murphy, Julia Borrelli, and Jordan Murphy are leading East Hampton volleyball this fall. Jenna and Jordan are twins and Amber is the twin's younger sister. Borrelli is the Bellringers senior captain.
East Hampton’s girls’ volleyball team is state tournament-bound after winning 12 regular season games.
The young Bellringers, featuring only four seniors, have created a family environment in more ways than one.
“A lot of the girls played last year. We’ve seen tremendous growth and I kind of expected that after last season. It’s been really nice to see,” said fourth-year head coach Molly Grabowski. “It was hard last year because we only had ten games and I don’t think they got the reps that they needed to get going. It was a tough season. This year it is a different story. They have really come together nicely.”
Senior captain Julia Borrelli changed positions this season to fill a need. Borrelli was an outside hitter during 2020’s shortened season and is now focusing on the defensive side, handling the libero duties.
Grabowski said, “It was a position that she had to learn and has continued to learn. I’ve been really impressed with her overall.”
“I definitely feel more comfortable this season. I feel libero is a position I was meant to play,” said Borrelli, who finished with a team-high 260 digs in 17 regular season games.
The captain added that she’s learned from previous captains, “I’ve had great role models in the past. I’ve had some great examples going back all the way to my freshman year. The volleyball team has always been very close with each other, we’ve always been a tight-knit family.”
The Bellringers have created a family-like atmosphere on the court and three of the players are literally related.
Twin sisters Jordan and Jenna Murphy, along with younger sister Amber Murphy are leading a powerful line upfront that is both producing points and protecting the net.
Jordan and Jenna are juniors and Amber is a sophomore. The trio has combined for 60% of the team’s kills and 63% of the team’s blocks this fall.
“I love playing with them. It’s nice because I hope to be just as good as them and be able to hit just as hard and be as confident as both of them,” Amber said of her older siblings. “I’ve always looked up to them in every way and I feel like they are great role models for the entire team. I’ve looked up to all the players on the team, especially the seniors.”
She joked that her older sisters sometimes have “twin telepathy” on the court.
Jordan registered a team-high 177 kills in the regular season, saying, “I love playing with them, it’s been a dream to play together. I feel like we have a lot of trust on the court. I can trust everyone on the court and I’ve learned something from everyone. It allows me to play better knowing I have people that I can trust.”
Jenna, who led the team in blocks, added “It’s pretty great. I feel more comfortable. I like it a lot better this year because last year it was such a mess with COVID.”
The sisters all agreed they have a competitive nature that drives them to be better and Grabowski described the sisters as “supportive of each other”.
Helping the three sisters upfront are senior Paige Botsacos, sophomores Mackenzie Player and Delaney Russell, and freshman Sonja Venetianer.
Distributing the ball is sophomore setter Chelsea Woods, who racked up team-highs in assists (375) and aces (40) this year.
Grabowski said Woods has been “outstanding”, adding, “She is self-motivated, she asks the right questions, and she’s always trying to do the right thing. She takes feedback well and she’s always trying to make herself better, which is big for a sophomore.”
Together the team creates a force on the court and a family off of it.
“These girls really support each other,” said Grabowski. “Being young, we have room for growth everywhere. We’re targeting a variety of things to improve all the time. Day to day, game to game they are improving. Our youth shows sometimes but each day it shows less and less.”
Borrelli said they are a “giggly group” that jokes around, which has allowed them to loosen up, but added they are all business when it comes to competing. “We have always been a super hard-working team that sees an opportunity and goes for it. We’ve never taken a single game for granted, not even a single set. We just work hard all the time.”
The Shoreline Conference wraps up this week and next week is the state tournament, starting Monday, Nov 8. The Bellringers finished the regular season with second best winning percentage in the SLC and eighth best winning percentage in Class S.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin