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No Littell task: Tech middle balancing volleyball, superior academics

Colette Littell has the potential to earn a college scholarship through academics or volleyball. But if there was Division I women’s juggling, the Brooklyn Tech junior would be a shoo-in.

Littell somehow manages school volleyball season in the fall and club season in the winter and spring — with tournaments on weekends —– all while maintaining a 100 average at Brooklyn Tech, one of the most demanding schools in the city.

When she gets home at night from practice, she routinely has hours of homework ahead of her before waking up at 5 a.m. to travel from her Lower East Side home to Brooklyn.

“It’s a lot of sleepless nights,” Littell said with a laugh.

Littell easily could have rested on her laurels with volleyball. She started playing in middle school, but admits to not being very good. She was a role player at Brooklyn Tech last year. But, like she does in the classroom, she worked extremely hard to stand out.

Littell took her game to the next level with the Aviator club program in the offseason and is now one of the most dangerous middle hitters in the PSAL. She’s fifth in the city in kills (42) and was named to the all-tournament team last week at Seward Park where she led Brooklyn Tech, to the championship match. On Sunday, she was named all-tournament at Secondary School of Law, Journalism and Research.

“She’s so much better,” Engineers coach Rosanne D’Augusta said. “There’s a huge difference.”

D’Augusta thinks that last year in the team’s PSAL Class A quarterfinals match against Cardozo that Littell deferred too much to hitters like then-senior Karolina Kowalska and then-junior Diana Laham. She is much more confident now, even playing the back row for the first time in her career – club or school.

“Now she knows she has to have the ball,” D’Augusta said.

Her development was a blessing for Brooklyn Tech, which graduated two All-City players – Kowalska and setter Margaret Kwateng – last year. Littell’s power and ability to hit even the toughest sets has eased the transition for new setter Elizabeth Barshay.

“We’re doing OK considering how much we lost,” Littell said. “We all played club, so we got a lot better individually.”

The question now is will she play club this year. Littell plans on taking SAT classes in the spring and on top of her already loaded schedule more volleyball is going to be tough. Both her parents are Brown alums and even though she says they love that she plays a sport, school work is still the top priority.

“My mom sometimes thinks it’s too much, because I don’t have a lot of time for my homework and I have to sacrifice a lot of sleep,” Littell said.

That doesn’t mean she isn’t going to try to make it work.

“I’m gonna see how I can work SAT classes in,” Littell said. “It’ll be the middle of the year then, so I’ll already be in my flow.”

That juggling scholarship is waiting.

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