Sports Person of the Week
Bietz Makes All-State at Setter
Junior setter Allie Bietz earned All-SCC and All-State honors on behalf of the Branford girls’ volleyball squad this fall. (Photo courtesy of Allie Bietz)
After growing up playing basketball, Allie Bietz decided to try her hand at volleyball after being encouraged by her mother Jane, who played the sport in high school. When she got to Branford High School, Allie’s skills started to flourish as a member of the Hornets’ volleyball squad, leading the junior setter on a path to All-SCC and All-State accolades this fall.
“My mom played when she was in high school, so she would work with me on drills. I really started enjoying it,” says Allie. “When I started to set, that’s when I really, really liked volleyball.”
Allie began playing volleyball as a 6th-grader at Walsh Intermediate School, becoming a setter right away. Allie has continued playing the setter position into her junior year at Branford and feels completely comfortable holding that role.
“It feels really good to be the setter. I can control the entire offense,” Allie says. “I enjoy being a leader on the team. When someone gets a kill off your set, there’s nothing like it. It feels so good.”
Allie played volleyball at Walsh through her 8th-grade season, while also doing clinics with the Connecticut Juniors. As she approached the high school level, Allie felt ready for the challenge.
Allie was immediately thrown into the fray by starting varsity from day one with the Hornets. While it took her a little time to get acclimated to high school volleyball, Allie found her footing as her freshman season went on.
“It took some time to get used to. But once I got it, I was in with the team,” says Allie. “I went from there. It was fun. I really liked the people I was playing with, so I had no problems. I really enjoyed it.”
Now a junior, Allie has been starting at setter for Branford for the past three campaigns. This year, she helped the Hornets record 16 victories and earn one win apiece in both SCCs and states. When the season came to a close, Allie was named to the All-SCC First Team alongside senior captain Marzia Johnson, marking her second-straight All-Conference honor. Allie also secured a spot on the Class M All-State Team for her excellent performance at setter.
“When I heard I was All-Conference, I was so excited, and I was so excited for Marzia. It was really cool for both of us. Having my skills recognized was really awesome,” Allie says. “When I was nominated for All-State, I was completely shocked. I did not expect it all. It was an amazing feeling.”
Mike Martone just finished his first season as head coach of the Branford girls’ volleyball team. Coach Martone has seen Allie put in plenty of work in order to become one of the best setters in Connecticut.
“Allie Bietz is the hardest worker on the floor. She is one of the most skilled setters in the state and continues to build her skill set and grow constantly,” says Martone. “Allie has a desire to win and is an absolute student of the game. We are very lucky to have Allie playing for Branford volleyball.”
Allie plays volleyball during the winter and still plays basketball on the AAU circuit. Allie says that basketball has been a tremendous help in terms of her hand-eye coordination and footwork. She adds that attending Branford CrossFit has helped her get stronger on the court. Even more than her physical skills, Allie feels that her biggest improvements in volleyball are her decision making and leadership skills.
“When I was a freshman, I was a little bit hesitant in my decision making. But now that I’ve matured as a volleyball player, I can make good decisions on who to set, when to set, and when to use my hands,” Allie says. “I’ve grown as a leader. I understand how the game works, and I can push myself and lead my team with positivity.”
Allie feels grateful for the impact that volleyball has had on her life. Every time she steps on the floor, Allie feels proud to wear her Hornets’ jersey and have her community’s support in her corner.
“To play and have a whole town behind you in the stands watching you play is really fun,” says Allie. “I’ve enjoyed every opportunity that has been given to me by my coaches. I’ve gotten everything I could have wanted and more.”