By Jann Wiswall
“You are learning the skills you need to be successful in life,” said ECS Athletic Director Karl Schwartz as he began the awards presentations to the Ellicottville/West Valley volleyball and soccer teams during the Sports Banquet held at ECS on Monday, Nov. 23.
And, perhaps, the most important point he made was that more than half of Ellicottville’s varsity volleyball and soccer teams’ members are scholar-athletes with grade point averages of 90 or above, and all three teams (volleyball, girls soccer and boys soccer) were named NYSPHSAA All Academic Teams.
Of course, all three teams had pretty great seasons as well. Both soccer teams went to the sectionals championships and the boys soccer team went to far-west regionals.
So it was no surprise to any of the hundreds of parents, family members, teachers and coaches at the Monday, Nov. 23 Sports Banquet that the athletes named Most Valuable Player for each team are exceptional athletes and exceptional students.
Junior Marissa Hamilton, the volleyball MVP, was also named to the CCAA first team All-Stars. Senior Cole Lapi, the boys soccer MVP, was named CCAA League Defensive MVP, a Big 30 All Star and All WNY first team. And girls soccer MVP Morgan Zlockie, a senior, was named to the the Big 30 All Stars and the All WNY first team. All three are scholar-athletes, as well.
Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller expressed his pride in all the successes of this year’s fall teams. Miller pointed out the fact that as a small Division D school, Ellicottville regularly plays much larger schools with far bigger teams. Despite those disadvantages, “three teams went to regionals this year” (including the Franklinville-Ellicottville Titans football team). “You give us so much to be proud of,” he said.
Volleyball team coach Katie Auge awarded Caitlin Golley the coach’s award, Linnea Jimerson was awarded most improved player and the Eagle Award went to seniors Liz Dusterhus and Kelsi Belz. Dusterhus also received this year’s Sportsmanship Award. Auge thanked a number of West Valley athletes who have helped bring the program back to ECS and build for the future.
Boys varsity coach Matt Finn, who himself was named the League’s ”Coach of the Year, awarded junior Aiden Rozler this year’s coach’s award and junior Robert Spell was awarded most improved player. Matt DiDonato was named a CCAA First Team A-Star. Finn singled out each of the 14 seniors on the team for their particular strengths and leadership.
Mary Neilon, long-time girls varsity soccer coach, announced that senior-class team co-captains Kaleigh Hunt and Shelby Toth both were named First Team All-Stars. Toth and Hunt then presented a very special award to fellow co-captain Morgan Zlockie, who is Ellicottville’s first-ever career 100+-goal scorer. Zlockie was awarded her 100th goal ball, which was mounted on a pedestal and signed by her teammates.
Please note: The Franklinville-Ellicottville Titans football banquet is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Great Valley Fire Hall.