Milford Girls Volleyball Program Back on Track
By Chris Villani Sports Reporter/Columnist · December 07, 2016
For the first time in four years, the Milford High School girls' volleyball team put together a run in the district tournament, and the season has Hall-of-Fame head coach Linda Zacchilli feeling like the program is headed in the right direction.
"I always felt like we had the talent, it was just a matter of getting the girls to believe they could be successful," Zacchilli said. "I knew it was going to be difficult because of the past four years, they struggled to get into the tournament and had to get used to a number of different coaching styles."
The Scarlet Hawks finished the year 15-6 overall and advanced to the district semifinals before falling to Canton. Senior Ally Zagami and junior Kelley Reichert lead the Hawks' offense, each averaged more than two kills per set for the season. Zagami also lead the team in aces, and seniors Lauren Zouranjian and Allie Collins were among the team's most consistent servers.
Milford is set to return its top two blockers next year, with juniors Gillian Valanzola and Juliana Tracy leading the way in 2016. Kyra Alves, another junior, lead the team in digs with close to 300 on the year. The Scarlet Hawks do lose both of their setters in Zacchilli's offense, with Collins and Zouranjian leading the team in assists this season.
A total of 10 players saw regular time on the varsity floor.
"The hardest thing was trying to find the right positions where we could benefit from the talents of the players in the program," Zacchilli said. "Having never coached them before, it took a bit of time to figure out the best scenario."
The Scarlet Hawks graduate a total of nine seniors and will return seven juniors to next year's varsity roster. Zacchilli said the tournament experience gained this year will help going forward.
"Canton was a good team, but I felt like it could have been a great match if my kids had a little more tournament experience under their belt," she said, describing the district semifinal as one of the most raucous crowds she has seen.
Another boost for the Hawks next year should be numbers, with 48 in the program, including a large freshman class, Zacchilli said.
"Next year looks really good," Zacchilli said. "This 2016 team set the standard and set a high standard, we reached the majority of our goals. The future looks really good."