Quartet of New Britain girls volleyball players earn All-CCC recognition

Published on Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:31


NEW BRITAIN - Michelle Abraham couldn’t think of a better way to describe her core four players from this season.

When the New Britain girls volleyball head coach talks about Raven-Symone Jarrett, Nataly Hernandez, Angie Lugo and Audrey Belliveau, one phrase often comes to mind: tone setters.

“They came to every practice and every game with the intent to improve,” Abraham said.

Jarrett, Hernandez, Lugo and Belliveau certainly showed that on the court this season.

Belliveau, a junior setter, finished with 400 assists. Hernandez, a senior middle, tallied 53 kills, 29 blocks and 47 aces. Lugo, one of the Hurricanes’ senior outside hitters, recorded 102 aces, 279 service points and 119 kills. Jarrett, also a senior outside hitter, ended her season with 308 kills, 50 aces and 174 digs.

Those eye-popping stats helped each member of the quartet to be named to the CCC’s all-conference team and for many of them, it wasn’t the first time they received the honor. Hernandez and Lugo each earned their second All-CCC selection, while for Jarrett, it was her third.

“Those three seniors had made it last year and the hope was they would make it again and continue to grow, which they did,” Abraham said. “I was a little surprised Audrey made it looking at the other setters in the conference and the strength of those teams, but she was willing to learn and get better. Obviously, she played well for us.”

Jarrett could be in line for an even more prestigious honor Abraham hopes. After making Second Team All-State in Class LL each of the previous two seasons, Abraham believes Jarrett is worthy of First Team All-State recognition. She’s already made the Connecticut Senior All-Star Game, which will take place on Nov. 25 at Maloney High School at 6:30 p.m.

“Her stats speak for themselves,” the head coach said.

But perhaps what was most impressive part was the opponents the quartet was able to consistently compete at a high level against.

New Britain finished the regular season with a 12-8 record and 12-10 overall with the CCC Tournament and the Class LL state tournament included, but it wasn’t an easy season by any means for the Hurricanes, who played a much more difficult schedule this year than they had in the past. There were matchups against some of the best competition, perennial state title contenders, Connecticut had to offer. New Britain took on RHAM twice, Southington, Farmington, and Bristol Eastern. But every match, the quartet showed they more than belonged on the court.

“I won’t shy away from strong teams,” Abraham said. “I tell the girls all the time, ‘if you want to be better, you have to play the better teams.’ And I think more games than not, they rose to those occasions. They wanted to beat those top teams and competed every night.”

But for this group, it was more than just talent. There was incredible amount of team chemistry that had to be developed along the way. Lugo transferred in from Goodwin Tech, while Belliveau had to keep pace with Jarrett and Hernandez, who had been playing together since their freshman year.

“It’s a team sport,” Abraham said. “You see Raven and you see she gets kills every night, but it’s not the Raven Jarrett show. If we don’t get a pass to our setter, there are no kills. It takes a team to meet its goal and accomplishments. You have to create that chemistry. It’s been rewarding to see them grow and to see them mess together.”

It’s led to plenty of memorable moments for New Britain and its quartet, with Jarrett, Hernandez, Lugo and Belliveau recognized as being among the best in the region.

“I’m extremely proud of the four of them,” Abraham said. “They set the tone hopefully for better things to come in the future with our younger players.”

David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or dglovach@newbritainherald.com

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:31. Updated: Tuesday, 12 November 2019 21:33.