BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -  The 27th seeded Gov. Livingston girls volleyball team (10-9) closed out a strong season with a nail-biter defeat to No. 6 seed Madison (25-15, 26-24) in the first round of the NJSIAA Group 2 State tournament to end their 2018 season.

During the last week of the Lady Highlander's regular play, the squad celebrated their seniors with a senior celebration where their 9 seniors and team manager were recognized for their dedication to the program. "Tonight we honor 9 of the kindest, most sincere athletes at Gov. Livingston," said Gov. Livingston Head Coach Dana Hilaire. "These girls have been coming into this gym daily, for the past four years, and putting in the hard work it takes to reach this level."

Hilaire credits her seniors for building the team culture and for being role models for the entire program. "As some of our earliest GLVB members, they have contributed more than just stats. Our hope is that each of the younger girls in the program today and our future teams will step up to match their focus, resilience and positivity."

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Seniors honored: Alyssa Aguiles, Maddie Charbonneau, Colleen Granelli, Jordan Miller, Captain Bella Napoli, Vic Pantina, Captain Mikayla Sanchez, Captain Bella Sottosanti, Natalie Zoladkiewicz and team manager Georgia Oddie. In addition, New Providence seniors Lydia Voss and Sophia Miskulin were recognized.

Coach Hilaire changed her usual line-up to give her seniors more court time. Senior Bella Napoli had three digs, while senior defensive specialists Colleen Granelli and Maddie Charbonneau also gave strong performances with digs and serve receive assists. Their strong performance in the back row only made senior setter Bella Sottosanti’s game that much better, as her seven assists gave her hitters the chance for success. Senior Mikayla Sanchez also continued her dominance at the net this season, raking up two kills and three service points.

New Providence's determination to send the ball over the net, hard offense, and overall clean play ultimately brought them to a two set victory (25-16, 25-13).  Senior Lydia Voss, a strong outside hitter, had a great game with six kills and one block. The Pioneers collectively had a crushing offense scoring 21 kills combined. These kills were as a result of the setters Molly Eng and Aliya Silbahar, raking up 20 assists --Siblahar also tallied five service points in the win.

Editor's Note: The Highlander section features articles written for The Highlander, Gov. Livingston High School's student newspaper.