East Brunswick senior reaches volleyball milestone with 500 career kills

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Paige Anania, a senior from East Brunswick High School, holds a 500 kill achievement banner with Coach Christian Portera. PHOTO COURTESY OF JODI ANANIA.
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Paige Anania is the second player in East Brunswick history to record 500 career kills. She accomplished the feat on Oct. 21 in a 2-0 win against John F. Kennedy Memorial High School.PHOTO COURTESY OF JODI ANANIA.
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Paige Anania, a senior from East Brunswick High School, holds a 500 kill achievement banner with Coach Christian Portera. PHOTO COURTESY OF JODI ANANIA.
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Paige Anania is the second player in East Brunswick history to record 500 career kills. She accomplished the feat on Oct. 21 in a 2-0 win against John F. Kennedy Memorial High School.PHOTO COURTESY OF JODI ANANIA.

EAST BRUNSWICK – On Oct. 21, Paige Anania became the second athlete to record 500 career kills in the history of East Brunswick volleyball.

A kill is a successful, legal, point-scoring play.

As of press time, the decorated senior at East Brunswick High School had amassed 507 kills, 436 digs and 115 aces. In addition to her individual accolades and achievements, her team remains undefeated with a record of 20-0.

Long before her first game, Anania’s older sister inspired her to play. She became interested in the sport after her sister tried out for volleyball as a high school freshman.

“I was only 9 years old at the time. I had my mom enroll me in clinics that winter and I was able to try out for my first travel team the following year. I started playing club ball for Helios Volleyball Club’s 13 National Team at 10 years old. I stayed with Helios until the club shut down. I have been playing competitively with Princeton Volleyball Club ever since,” Anania said.

By the time she reached high school, she had a goal in mind: 500 kills.

For Anania, the preparation to play began years before. However, the journey to 500 kills officially began at tryouts.

“Reaching 500 kills has been a goal of mine since I stepped foot on the high school court at tryouts my freshman year. There has been only one player in East Brunswick’s history to reach that millstone and that was Jordyn Horowitz,” Anania said.

Although Anania doesn’t remember her first kill, she does remember the on-court lessons she learned about teamwork, positive reinforcement and accountability.

“Being on a volleyball team, whether it be high school ball or a club team, has taught me that your own personal actions can affect a whole team. Positive work can give great results just as negative actions can result in a bad outcome. … A team consists of more than one player being the lead scorer. Everyone needs to work together as a family. Positive encouragement makes a team grow stronger. Every person on my team plays a key role in our team’s success. It doesn’t matter if you were the player that had 10 kills, or a player that had 8 aces, or one with 30 assists, or if you were the player cheering from the bench, every teammate matters,” Anania said.

Anania has fond memories of her time competing and hopes to cement her legacy by winning a championship. Coach Christian Portera and the East Brunswick Bears were set to play again on Oct. 26 for the All-Division GMC Title.

“My greatest memory of playing high school volleyball was winning state sectionals during my junior year. It is also a memory I would like to replay this season. We are going in as the top seed in the state sectional tournament that will be starting soon. … We are striving for another state sectional title as well as an opportunity to play in The Tournament of Champions in mid-November,” Anania said.

As Anania finishes her final season, she plans to seize every remaining moment as a championship opportunity.

“These last few seasons of playing volleyball during the pandemic have taught me to play your best in the moment. Make every game be the championship game because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Put your best out on the court and good things will follow,” Anania said.