Monday, May 17, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Ciocca Sets the Stage for Guilford

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Olivia Ciocca has 193 assists to her name as a senior setter for the Guilford girls’ volleyball squad this fall. Photo courtesy of Olivia Ciocca

Olivia Ciocca has 193 assists to her name as a senior setter for the Guilford girls’ volleyball squad this fall. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Ciocca )

Senior Olivia Ciocca is doing an excellent job of setting up the Guilford girls’ volleyball squad for success this fall.

Olivia was a dedicated gymnast for several years, but she also found a love for volleyball after starting with the sport in 7th grade. Ultimately, Olivia decided to stop doing gymnastics in order to fully focus on volleyball and is now holding a prominent role as a senior setter for the Guilford girls’ volleyball team.

“It was a really tough decision, but I found it really hard to balance gymnastics with my schoolwork and taking college-level classes while also playing volleyball,” says Olivia. “So, I decided that it was best for me to stop competing.”

Olivia won a state title on the floor routine as a member of her club team, the Nutmeg Twisters, at her final gymnastics meet this winter. While it was a difficult decision for her to give up the sport, everything seems to be working out just fine for Olivia on the volleyball court. In her senior season, Olivia has dished out 193 assists for Guilford, which owns a record of 10-0 and has only dropped two sets all year.

“I am hoping that we have an undefeated season and that we win the tournament experience that we are given,” Olivia says. “This season was not what we expected, but we are trying to make the best of it and are extremely happy that we’ve had an opportunity to play together for one last season.”

Olivia took a liking to volleyball from the second she began playing the sport. Olivia started bonding with her teammates right away and credits that initial experience for fostering her love of volleyball even more.

“Being on a team with such amazing and talented players is what really got me into the sport,” says Olivia. “I have had the privilege to play with some of the best volleyball players in the state, and they’ve always been great role models and have always supported me.”

Olivia will forever cherish the connections that she’s made with her Guilford teammates. Olivia feels proud to call her teammates some of her best friends.

“My favorite aspect of the sport is spending time with my teammates on and off the court and always having that constant support,” Olivia says. “We’ve become a family through the years, and it’s something I am so grateful to be a part of.”

Head Coach Laura Anastasio says that Olivia is playing an integral role in Guilford’s success this season. Anastasio has been pleased to see Olivia make some serious strides at the setter position.

“As a setter, Olivia runs the offense. She has improved her court presence, and her confidence has grown from last season,” says Anastasio. “Olivia is very coachable. She is always positive and works very hard. She listens to her teammates and hitters and is not afraid to try new things. Olivia really deserves to have her senior year and moment as a setter of a successful team.”

Olivia felt honored to help Guilford win the Southern Connecticut Conference Tournament with a 3-2 win versus Shelton last fall. Guilford then advanced to the Class L state final on its way to an overall record of 23-4.

“My favorite moment last year was definitely winning the SCC championship,” Olivia says. “We worked so hard all season and truly fought for that title. It felt amazing to earn it.”

Aside from volleyball, Olivia enjoys spending time with her friends and family, playing with her dog, and baking goods. Olivia isn’t sure where she’s going to college, although she knows what she wants to study.

“I have not decided on a college yet, but I hope to major in biology,” says Olivia. “I’m most looking forward to living in a new environment and taking classes that are focused on my specific interests.”


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