For Lynnfield High junior Ella Gizmunt, volleyball is a year-round affair. And boy, has it been a great year.
“She just keeps getting better by the day,” Lynnfield coach Brent Ashley said of Gizmunt. “Since her freshman year, she’s just grown by leaps and bounds. At the rate she’s going, the sky’s the limit for her.”
The stellar year started last fall, when Gizmunt helped lead the Pioneers to a one-loss record and a Cape Ann League title in a strange, COVID-shortened season. Only a sophomore, she led the team in kills, aces and serving percentage. Gizmunt tallied 158 kills across 28 sets, hitting at a 47.7-percent rate.
Gizmunt — who was only the second player in program history to start as a freshman — then carried that momentum into the winter, spring and summer, when she played with her AAU team, SMASH 16U. It was there that she helped establish herself as a true college prospect while also helping lead the team to a national championship — beating Sports Performance 16 C-Fed in Orlando, Fla. back in June.
“I was playing in an environment with a lot of girls who are committed to college,” Gizmunt said of her experience in Orlando. “Taking that experience and bringing it back to Lynnfield, it’s helping build our team and shaping how we play.”
And the Pioneers have certainly been playing well this fall. Behind another stellar season from Gizmunt, the Pioneers, as of Oct. 28, were 14-3 and the No. 2-ranked team in the Division 4 power rankings.
Looking ahead, Gizmunt’s senior season is set to be full of visits from collegiate scouts from all over the country. At 6-feet tall and with an amazing blend of power, athleticism and smarts — as well as a winning pedigree — Gizmunt is a dream prospect for any school.
“To be honest, I’m just glad that we’re going to have her here for another year,” said Ashley. “She’s going to get attention from schools all over the country, and she’s for sure a Division I prospect. She has all the tools, so she’ll have her pick of where she wants to go.”
But for now, Gizmunt is settling into her role as a team leader for the Pioneers. Now in her second season as a team captain, she’s finding her voice both on and off the floor.
“I’m starting to find my voice as I get older,” said Gizmunt. “When I see the ways my teammates can improve, it’s good for me to step in and help them out, to help make our team stronger.”
“Ella is exactly the kind of leader you want on your team,” said Ashley. “She not only leads by example with her incredible play, but she also keeps the other girls together and focused on the task at hand.”
Both Gizmunt and Ashley are hoping that they can cross another item off of the list of goals this year, which is to win a state championship.