Katie Aoki of the Town Crier’s WHS All-Decade Volleyball team

Katie Aoki, shown here during the 2010 season, is among the selections for the Town Crier’s WHS All-Decade Volleyball team. (file photo).

WILMINGTON – Over the last decade-plus, there's been five different times in which the WHS Volleyball team fell one or two wins away from qualifying for the state tournament. The last time the Wildcats qualified was back in 2004, which was also the last winning season.

From 2005-2009, the program went 27-70 under then head coach Mark Staffier, which included finishing 9-11 in the 2009 season. Meghan Sheehy then came on and coached the team for the next six years and fell short several times, including an 8-12 mark in 2011 and then a 7-13 record in 2013. Her teams finished 33-79.

After that, Bruce Shainwald served for the following four years and compiled a 32-48 record, which included four straight seasons of seven wins or more, with marks of 7-13, 9-11, 8-12 and 8-12. He recently resigned and currently the varsity position has yet to be filled.

The program finished with a decade record of 65-127.

As for the All-Decade team certainly there has been some strong individual talent and that's displayed here with the selections to the first and reserve teams.

ALL-DECADE TEAM:

Lauren Bennett: Defensively, she was arguably the best player in the decade. At 6-foot-3, she really could dominate games. Offensively, it took her a while but that grew significantly when she went from a D2 high school program that finished 8-12 to a Division 1 collegiate program at UMass-Lowell where she had a phenomenal career.

She is now coaching at Pentucket Regional ... maybe she hasn't heard that the Wilmington job is open.

Christa Brent: She was a back row specialist and certainly she was a defensive wiz on the court. Extremely athletic, extremely quick, it seemed like she got to everything. She was selected as a Lowell Sun second team All-Star in 2013.

Brent, making her second appearance on a TC team, went on to play basketball at Springfield College.

Hannah Brown: When I covered the team back in the early part of the decade, hands down, I didn't think there was anyone else better on the court. She was as a good of a middle hitter as I have seen in the program.

She was a four-year player, who improved drastically year-to-year. Today she is on the front lines as a nurse saving people from Covid-19.

Morgan Bresnahan: The only player this decade to be named as a Lowell Sun First team selection. During the 2017 season, Bresnahan switched from middle to outside hitter and put together a phenomenal season which included 143 kills, 85 serving percentage and 11 blocks. She was named to the Middlesex League All-Star team.

Bresnahan is currently a member of the Endicott College Women's Basketball team.

Chloe Castellano: A real solid athlete, Castellano played four years with the Big Club. She was the team's top setter each year and also strived as a back row defensive specialist. She was also a great leader serving as a captain and I'll never forget the Senior Day, 'Dig Pink' event – pretty emotional event.

Antonia Kieran: Known more for belting doubles in the gaps of softball fields, Kieran finished up a solid volleyball career during the 2017 season. She was a versatile player on the court, first as a defensive specialist, then moving to outside hitter and then she settled into the libero spot as a senior.

She was named as a Lowell Sun second team All-Star for a team that finished 9-11, the best record of the decade.

Michelle Woods: A former Town Crier Athlete of the Year, who lit it up in the basketball world in college, Woods was a very solid volleyball player, who could play any position because she was a true athlete. She was everywhere on the court, was named to the Sun's second team and was a true leader as well.

Katie Aoki: It's hard to imagine that there was someone else in this program who improved as drastically as she did throughout her career, but especially in 2010, the only year of eligibility for this team.

At 5-foot-11, she really came into her own on both sides of the ball as an all-around player who was named to the Middlesex League All-Star team and as a Lowell Sun second team all-star all for a team that finished 4-14.

RESERVES:

Dishan Bagayao, Katie Bischoff; Kim Donoghue; Taylor Hanley, Robin Hollenbeck, Megan Hydorn, Amanda Keane, Michelle Murray.

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