People always encouraged Celena Dionne to play basketball. She was tall and it seemed like a natural fit.
There was one problem.
“I was really bad at basketball,” Dionne said.
But volleyball? That was a good fit too.
And there were no problems there.
Dionne became a varsity contributor early in her career at Pilgrim, and this season, she was one of the team’s top standouts. She and a big group of fellow seniors led the Pats to a 10-4 record, the program’s best since 2003.
“It was definitely fun and it was great to end it that way in my senior year,” Dionne said. “It was awesome to finish it off like that. We had a lot of fun.”
The Pats started trending in a positive direction in 2010, when they went 7-7 with a team made up largely of juniors. That group kicked into a higher gear in 2011, finishing third in the division and winning a playoff match.
“We worked really hard,” Dionne said. “The past few years, we were a little goofy. This year, I think we wanted it a little bit more and we worked for it.”
Dionne was at the center of Pilgrim’s success. She was one of the team’s top threats at the net, and her jump serve consistently scored points.
“Celena had a great level of confidence, and I think that confidence was demonstrated while playing in the middle,” said Pilgrim head coach Claire Baggesen. “I think being a senior allowed that confidence to come to its pinnacle point and shine. She did an extremely great job for us. She was a driving force.”
Dionne plans to attend Johnson & Wales University in the fall. She won’t play volleyball there, but she wants to keep playing at the club level. If she didn’t, she’d miss Pilgrim volleyball even more than she already does.
“We were such a fun, good group,” Dionne said. “We all got along. Everything was fun and relaxed. It was just a good team to be a part of. I miss those girls.”