I made a camp stop at Fieldstone Secondary School on Monday to see my alma mater, North Rockland, tune up for the upcoming volleyball season. Here’s the information I gathered:
Slowly, but surely, North Rockland is rebuilding its program to get back to the Class AA-powerhouse it once was.
The Red Raiders, who posted an even 8-8 record last year, have several pieces on the team this year that could form a contending team — it’s all a matter of putting them together.
With the Class AA field evening-out, the Red Raiders could make a deep run in this year’s section tournament, something they haven’t done in three years.
“We definitely want to go far and make our record better than it was last year,” senior Nicole Talamini said. “We have the potential to go (far), but we need everyone there together, communicating and helping each other out.”
Talamini will likely tag-team with junior Natalie Boyd as the team’s primary outside hitters, but the Red Raiders will first need to break-in a new setter so that hitters can perform at their highest level.
The loss of all-section setter Rebekah Sanchez to graduation leaves a massive hole on the court in more ways than one.
Sanchez (right), who will suit up for Roberts Wesleyan this fall, was an all-star setter and the vocal leader of the Red Raiders on the floor. In addition to replacing Sanchez’s talent, the team will need to find someone who can serve as a floor general, as well.
North Rockland head coach Colette Jurman said that junior Dana Wirchansky, senior Patsy Griffin and senior Jenn Morris could vie for the setter position.
From the looks of the practice, Griffin appeared to be an early-front runner for the starting role, while Morris, who appeared to have a ton of raw talent, could be an exceptional hitter if she is not the team’s setter.
“I’ve been playing with Rebekah for a long time, so I think she’s kind of rubbed off on me,” said Griffin, who carries a 3.75 grade-point average and is looking to attend Cornell, NYU, or San Diego State as a chemical engineering or pharmaceutical science major. “I think I should be able to fill in where she left off.”
Look for sophomore Amanda Schweitzer and junior Bria Wright to aid in the Red Raiders’ youth efforts. North Rockland will carry 16 girls on this year’s roster, according to Jurman.
“I think we’ll be strong defensively,” Jurman said. “We have a lot of new hitters that will need to work with the new setter on some timing, so I guess our main focus will be getting the offense to jell.”
North Rockland will play in three regular season tournaments this year, in addition to Clarkstown South’s preseason scrimmage tournament on August 30. The Red Raiders will compete in Hen Hud’s Breast Cancer Awareness tournament on September 7, Clarkstown South’s Alex Valow Memorial tournament on September 28 and Panas’ Panther Invitational on October 12.
The Red Raiders will also host Clarkstown South for its seventh annual “Volley for the Cure” on October 18. To date, the event has raised over $26,000, according to Jurman, who says the goal for this year will be to raise between $5,000-6,000.