The Day’s All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year: Lyman Memorial's Callie Nanos
The Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association volleyball banquet was wrapping up on Nov. 30 with the announcement of its final award, the Volleyball Player of the Year, and Lyman Memorial senior Callie Nanos began wondering who might win it.
“When they were describing the award, I was just thinking, ‘Oh, it’s probably going be someone from a large school or some other team that won the tournament, like (CIAC Class LL champion) Greenwich or something like that,'” Nanos said. “'Some big (Class L) or LL school.'”
Nanos assumed wrong.
“Then I heard them call my name and I just sat there for a second, just kind of taking it in,” Nanos said. “I was really shocked that I got it.
“It was a really surprising moment because I didn’t think I was going to get it. When I heard my name, I was honestly shaking.”
Nanos’ latest accolade made her an easy choice as The Day’s 2021 All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter and co-captain helped Lyman Memorial to its third straight Class S championship.
Emily Sciglimpaglia-Vigue, a 2012 Lyman graduate who played on the volleyball team, took over as the Bulldogs head coach this season. Among the things she learned right away was that so many within the state volleyball community knew Nanos.
“Someone made a comment, one of the people that was speaking (at the banquet), about how girls’ sports in general in Connecticut, the girls all know each other (because of AAU and club sports),” Sciglimpaglia-Vigue said. “And Callie always seemed to know somebody whether it was a player or a coach. Everywhere we went, Callie knew somebody or somebody knew Callie. And I think a huge part of her getting that (player of the year) award was she’s just well-known.”
The CHSCA awarded first and second team all-state honors for the CIAC’s four playoff divisions. Coaches could vote for up to 10 players but only for those they either played against, were in their same state division or who they saw play in person, whether it was in high school or travel volleyball teams.
Nanos, who earned Class S first team honors, received the most votes of any player in the state.
“She plays travel volleyball, so she’s just very well known,” Sciglimpaglia-Vigue said. “I reached out to pretty much every coach I could asking them to vote Callie for all-state because she was so well deserving of it. And every single person that got back to me was like, ‘Yes, absolutely — I already had a spot on my ballot for her.’”
Nanos also earned Lyman’s Offensive Player of the Year honor as she led the Bulldogs in kills (372) and aces (99). She also had 180 digs, 17 blocks and 13 assists.
“She absolutely dominated our offense,” Sciglimpaglia-Vigue said. “Obviously, we want her to go up and hit (the ball) hard and give it all if she’s got a good set but I focused with her toward the end of the year about being really smart with her placement. That it doesn’t always have to be a hard kill. Like it could just be a tip over the blocker and no one’s (behind them).
“Between her smartness, her volleyball IQ and her skills and dominant presence on the court, I think that was huge for her.”
Nanos was also the Class S tournament MVP and had a match-high 16 kills along with 12 digs and four aces to lead the Bulldogs to a three-game sweep over Coventry in the state final.
“It was really overwhelming for me,” Nanos said about winning a state title in her final match with Lyman. “Me and our other senior, Fallon (Bailey), this was our third state championship match that we had been in the past (four) seasons and we won them all, so it was just a lot of emotions. Excitement. Happy. I was also sad that our season was now over but it was a great way to end it. It was just a lot to handle at that one time.”
Nanos will continue to play volleyball at Rivier University in Nashua, N.H. She will major in health sciences because she has an interest in paramedicine.
“I’ve always wanted to go into the health care system,” Nanos said. “I started off wanting to be a nurse when I was younger and I guess it just kind of formed into paramedicine. I’m on our (Lebanon’s) volunteer fire department, so I can go on calls. I just find it really fascinating and cool to be able to do stuff like that.”
The Day's 2021 All-Area Volleyball Team
Player of the Year - Callie Nanos (Lyman Memorial)
Fallon Bailey (Lyman Memorial)
Skylar Bell (East Lyme)
Ella Freed (East Lyme)
Lavinia Hutchins (Ledyard)
Katie Lange (Waterford)
Kuranda Ruggiero (Griswold)
Rita Sefransky (Fitch)
Kiera Stewart (Bacon Academy)
Stories that may interest you
Inexperienced starters like Denali Doran and Zaire Wallace helped NFA beat New London on Wednesday night, 37-34, in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I showdown.
St. Bernard rallies in the second half for a 63-58 win over No. 9 NFA in a matchup of two of the ECC's best teams.