The Absegami High School girls’ volleyball team is in the history books.
It also has a championship banner, and it’s the center of attention.
The Braves became the first team in history to win a Cape-Atlantic League championship.
Not the first team in school history.
The first team in conference history.
After six years as a team, the Braves took home their first conference championship during the 2012 season. Absegami went 11-9, and made it to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
Three Braves were also named all-stars for the first time, as Erika Hernandez and Christine Lam were named Cape-Atlantic League first team and Monica Sharobeam was Honorable Mention Cape-Atlantic League.
“When we started this program, we had to do it as an independent,” Absegami Athletic Director Steve Fortiss said during the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District’s Board of Education meeting Monday night, Dec. 3 at Absegami. “The Cape-Atlantic League did not have this sport. We could still make the playoffs, but there were no all-stars and no recognition. Then, last winter, we were able to get volleyball recognized in the Cape-Atlantic League.”
Absegami and Oakcrest began playing volleyball at the same time, both as independents. This year, Pleasantville, OLMA, St. Joseph and Middle Township added the sport and the conference was born.
On Monday, the team’s championship banner came in, and Fortiss presented it to the players at Monday night’s meeting.
“We had an amazing season,” Flukey said. “We couldn’t be prouder.”
The players spoke about how much the support of Fortiss, their coaches and the Absegami administration meant to the team. After missing the playoffs in its first season, Absegami made the playoffs the next five. This season, the Braves lost in the first round.
“With the coming conference, we found new motivation,” Hernandez said. Absegami had the most all-stars of any team, and we made the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.”
“We had the opportunity to say we are from Absegami and we are the winners of our conference,” Lam said. “We were honored to be able to represent Absegami and to be on the front page of the newspaper.”
“It’s an honor to see a banner with our volleyball year on it.”
Absegami Principal Dr. Jerri Lynn-Gatto was as proud of the coaches as she was of the players.
“When Kerry Flukey and Zach Mack took over the program, they began it in its infancy Gatto said. “When someone takes on something new, I like to see if they are continuing to do the things that they were already doing well. Flukey is a biology teacher who was affected by cuts from Gov. Christie. She had to change her area of expertise to physiology and environmental science and she never complained as she moved into a new world. Zach Mack is going back and forth between Absegami and Cedar Creek in the Latin program. This puts them high among the teachers at Absegami as far as I’m concerned.”
There were five seniors on this year’s team, which consists of 12 players.
“This was a great team,” Flukey said. “They all worked together. There was no one dominant power.”