The girls volleyball season appeared to be in critical condition heading into the school year, as the Department of Public Health recommended the sport be played outside, if at all, during the 2020 season. Numerous complications arose with the prospect of outdoor play before DPH approved indoor competition as long as all players and coaches were masked, and the season was saved.
These six players made the most of the salvaged season, with entries from six different teams making this year’s All-Herald team, as the crop of talent was widespread across the area in 2020.
New Britain lost a load of senior talent after the 2019 season, including All-State outside hitter Raven Jarrett, and with the new regionalized scheduling putting the Hurricanes in a gauntlet of a schedule with teams like Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central and Avon, the program needed senior leadership. It got that from Audrey Belliveau, who got it done at the front and back line this season. Belliveau led the team with 110 assists on the season, and also led New Britain with 58 service points. Belliveau’s volleyball career with the Hurricanes is over, but she still has a tennis season before graduating.
Over in Berlin, Jessica Boucher marks another first-time entry to the All-Herald squad. The senior outside hitter was a force for the Redcoats this season, and for all of her three years as a varsity contributor. Boucher closes the book on her high school career with 178 kills, 69 service aces, 94 digs and 17 blocks. One of Berlin’s leaders on the court, Boucher also leads the way in the classroom, and is a member of the National Honors Society.
One of our two repeat entries from last year’s All-Herald team comes out of Newington, where senior Madison Massaro-Cook was once again a dynamic performer. After finishing with the most kills on the team as a junior, Cook did it again as a senior, and would have certainly earned herself a third straight all-conference selection had it been a normal season with postseason awards. Massaro-Cook’s career with Newington his over, but her decorated volleyball career will continue at the Division I level, when she takes the short trip to play for Central Connecticut State University next season after officially committing to the school earlier this month.
Our other All-Herald entry making it for the second straight year is Southington’s Rachel Possidento. After putting together an all-conference season in 2019 in which she led the Blue Knights with a 36.8 kill percentage, Possidento led the way again in 2020 with 96 kills, while also adding 22 service aces, 13 blocks and 39 digs. Possidento plans on attending the University of New England next year, and hopes to join the volleyball team.
“Rachel was an extremely effective middle hitter for us,” Southington head coach Richard Heitz said. “She has shown such tremendous growth on and off the court these past couple of seasons.”
Goodwin Tech took home another conference championship this season, and Nathalie Delarosa, the hero of last year’s conference tournament title run, was once again a big part of the Gladiators’ success. Delarosa finished off her high school career by piling on 125 service points, including 57 aces, while also throwing down 107 kills. Delarosa’s production helped Goodwin Tech to an 8-2 record and the CRAL championship after a 3-1 victory over Prince Tech in the final.
Rounding out this year’s team is Innovation’s Patrice Broughton, who put together a historic sophomore season for the Ravens. Broughton totaled 59 kills and 13 solo blocks in 2020, and set a school record by logging 18 kills in a single match. Broughton figures to be one of Innovation’s top performers in the coming years.
“When she was at her best, she was able to take control at the net both offensively and defensively to change matches,” Ravens head coach Matt Lance said. “With two full seasons of development left, her future is bright.”