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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

The sun sets during spring break in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 17, 2022.
Here or There? Some Travel, Some Stay for Spring Break
Katie Savulak '26, Reporter • April 12, 2024
Nonnewaug freshman baseball player Ashton Elsemore bats during an April 8 game against Shepaug. Elsemore and most baseball players do not travel for spring break because the team has games and practices that week. (Courtesy of Noreen Chung)
Some Play and Some Go During Spring Break
Ava Hirleman '27, Reporter • April 12, 2024
A puddle surrounds second base on Nonnewaugs baseball field earlier this month. Rainy weather has negatively impacted the start of the spring sports season. (Kyle Brennan)
Persistent Rain Puts Damper on Start of Spring Sports (VIDEO)
Izzy DiNunzio '24, Editor-in-Chief • April 12, 2024
Kelly Farrell, a junior tennis player at Nonnewaug, prepares before a match against Wamogo on April 1. (Courtesy of Noreen Chung)
Hirleman: Championship Past in Girls Tennis Produces Positive Pressure
Ava Hirleman '27, Reporter • April 12, 2024
Freshman Elliana Obolewicz runs during a track meet last week. (Courtesy of NHS Track and Field/Instagram)
Track Athletes Get Flexibility During April Break
Arabella Rosa '25, Reporter • April 12, 2024
NHS Greenhouse Plant Production, a UConn ECE course, taught by NHS faculty member Eric Birkenberger, has been busy cultivating an array of plantings in preparation for its public plant sale on May 11th.
NHS Greenhouse students Gathers the Goods for the May Plant Sale
Kylieann Craine '24, Reporter • April 12, 2024
From right to left; Kaylee Jackson, Arabella Rosa, Christopher Pelletier, Lana Manganello, and Karisa Cizauskas setting up their new saltwater aquariums and learning how to control their coral lighting.
NHS Aquaculture Sets Sail on Salt Water
Kylie Healey '24, Reporter • April 12, 2024
NHS Dramas production of Once Upon a Mattress runs April 11-13 in the NHS auditorium. (Conor Gereg)
NHS Drama Sets the Stage for 'Once Upon a Mattress'
Gianna Lodice '24 and Layla Coppola '24April 11, 2024
Adam Lengyels Personal Finance course teaches the fundamentals of investing and responsibly managing finances.
Almeida: Students Should Take Investment Education Seriously
Lucas Almeida '24, Reporter • April 11, 2024
The library at the University of Virginia is one location that a student might visit on a tour of campus. Spring break is an opportunity for students to tour colleges. (Wikimedia Commons)
Spring Break a Great Time to Fit in College Visits
Juliana Bailey '25, Junior Editor • April 11, 2024

Malaspina’s Winning Streak

NHS Volleyball Instagram
Marty Malaspina has been at the helm of NHS volleyball since 2014. Malaspina coaches his team during a 2016 game vs. rival Terryville.

WOODBURY — When spectators entered the Ed Sadlon Gymnasium during the fall of 2014, they’d notice something missing from the walls. The gym walls don the accolades of Nonnewaug’s most celebrated teams, but that same year — Marty Malapsina’s first year coaching — not a single volleyball banner hung. The team, despite decades of existence, had yet to claim its first league title.

That all changed shortly after Malaspina took over.

Malaspina has been a coach for nine years at Nonnewaug; he started playing in his college years then was active in adult leagues, but his love of the sport began at an early age. 

“My cousin played in high school and I watched one of her matches and she sparked my interest in the game,” Malaspina said about his experience with starting his journey in volleyball. 

By the turn of the last decade, Malaspina, relatively new to the sport, decided to hone his craft. The future coach attended multiple clinics and classes so he could prepare himself to run his own high school volleyball program. Here, Malaspina picked the brains of fellow high school and college coaches, gathering the ingredients he’d one day put to use in building Nonnewaug into a perennial contender. 

Malaspina celebrates his Class of 2022 seniors following 3-0 win over Gilbert. (NHS Volleyball Instagram)

Malaspina prepared for the job so well that Nonnewaug claimed its first Berkshire League title during his first year of coaching in 2014.

“Coach Mal was always encouraging and wanting the best from me,” said Maggie Keane, a junior who will be next season’s team captain. “He really drove my passion for the sport.”

Along with collecting many titles after the initial 2014 championship — crowning more championships in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 — the team also made it to the quarterfinal round of the state championships twice in 2018 and 2022, all while Malaspina was coaching. 

“He has pushed me to be the player I can be,” senior captain Mackenzie Pfahl said, “and was supportive in all aspects.” 

After the season, he doesn’t stop supporting his players as he utilizes the high school weight room to help. Weightlifting and beginner plyometrics are taught by Malaspina to increase players’ abilities, like vertical leap and core strength. Players are given a workout sheet they can reference to meet their fitness goals beyond the court.  

Athletic competition is very much in Malaspina’s DNA. Volleyball isn’t his only sport; he is also an avid golfer and spends most weekends in the spring and summer on the greens. 

“I like playing with him because he knows golf, and he can really analyze your golf swing very well and communicate about it,” said friend and colleague Toby Denman. 

“From a very young age I had an interest [in golf], but only started playing seriously after college,” said Malaspina. 

Whether on the fairway or up at the net, Malaspina is driven by competition. He’s a well-respected faculty member in the math department, turning almost any activity into an educational competition, making games out of geometric equations or finding unique ways to bring math to life. 

“Malaspina is definitely a competitive person,” said Keira Buckley, 2022 graduate and former middle hitter on the volleyball team. “It definitely helps with making the team work.”

About the Contributor
Kaylee Jackson '24, Senior Editor
Kaylee Jackson is a senior at Nonnewaug and is in her second year of the Chief Advocate program, now as a senior editor. She has played on the volleyball team for all four years of her high school career, and she enjoys writing about sports and local events. When Kaylee graduates, she wants to go to dental school and become a hygienist.
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