Volleyball team led by three natural leaders

West Milford. Sam Araujo, Olivia Arciniega and Shayla Stillman ‘all bring a very positive attitude towards the team and are willing to help the younger players improve their skills.’

| 30 Sep 2021 | 11:44

    Time and time again, the coach in charge of a sports team is faced with pivotal decisions that have noticeable consequences. After a decision has been made, a coach may often time’s dwell upon whether it was the correct one to make in that given instance.

    The selection of three captains Sam Araujo, Olivia Arciniega and Shayla Stillman was certainly appropriate, and, yes, correct, for the West Milford High School girls volleyball program. All three captains are members of the senior class.

    “Sam, Olivia and Shayla are all natural born leaders,’’ West Milford head coach Alyssa Forget said. “They take charge both on and off the court and have put in the time over the course of their careers to earn the respect of the rest of the team. They give their best every day and push the other girls on the team to give 100 percent as well.

    “In the five (matches) we have played so far Sam has the second most number of kills with 15 and ranks third in digs with 14. Olivia has 13 assists, 10 digs and six aces. Shayla has four digs and two aces.’’

    There have been plenty of areas of improvement made by the trio of captains throughout the course of this season, which has been recognized by coach Forget.

    “All three of them have really focused on improving their defense and serving since the beginning of the season,’’ Forget said.

    Smart, gifted mentors

    Quite importantly, Araujo, Arciniega and Stillman are leaders where it counts the most-in the classroom.

    “All three of them have over a 3.5 Grade Point Average, are members of National Honors Society and are part of the Heroes and Cool Kids Program, where they mentor younger student-athletes. Sam and Olivia are also in National Science Honors Society.’’

    Not surprisingly the three seniors are always available to help guide their teammates to become more well-rounded on the volleyball court.

    “They all bring a very positive attitude towards the team and are willing to help the younger players improve their skills,’’ Forget said. “They will often stay after practice to work on their own skills or help the other girls with the things they are struggling with.’’

    A winning campaign

    The Highlanders are in the mist of a winning season and, of course, many student athletes have contributed to this successful campaign.

    “Skyler Ribitzki (sophomore, outside hitter) leads the team in kills with 22,’’ Forget said. “Anna DelColliano (junior, setter) leads the team in assists with 39 and is second in digs with 23. Emma Garcia (sophomore, libero) leads the team in digs with 26.’’

    Note: The statistics listed above where from matches through Sept.23. On Oct. 11, the Highlanders have a home match scheduled versus Fair Lawn