My colleague Nancy Haggerty made a camp stop at Ossining volleyball on Monday, among her many other stops. Here’s a preview look at the Pride, who stunned virtually everyone in the section behind first-year coach Lauren Riccardi:
Numbers were in no short supply at Ossining’s tryouts on Monday, with 40 kids hoping to join a Pride team that went 17-5 overall last season, falling to Ursuline in a thrilling five-game match in the Section 1 Class A semifinals.
“No one expected us to go that far,” said Pride coach Lauren Riccardi, who previously served as the team’s junior varsity coach for three seasons.
Riccardi (seen above, with last year’s team) said that she will aim to carry 28 girls in total for varsity and junior varsity, but that she may go to an even 30 if players are equal in talent.
The Pride lost eight players to graduation, most notably Saniya Chong, the team’s kills and blocks leader last year. Chong will attend UConn on a full athletic scholarship for basketball this year (she’s pretty good at that sport, I hear).
Riccardi also noted the loss of fellow hoopster star Danielle Gervacio, saying that she had, “court leadership that can’t be taught.”
Ossining participated in the Lower Hudson Volleyball Association summer league at Pelham over the summer, with 10 full-time players from last year’s squad taking to the court again this year — including four front-row players, and most of the back-row.
Without Chong, who Riccardi described as an “all-star, all-around player,” Ossining will likely be “a little more balanced” this year, she said.
Nancy said Riccardi focused on a lot of conditioning exercises, including 75-yard sprints and crab walks, which were performed outside, due to maintenance work being done to the gym. The Pride were slated to be back in the gym on Tuesday.
Riccardi named senior Selena Drinks, who will enter her fifth season on the varsity, as one of the team’s captains for this season, and is still in search of another, more “vocal” leader.
“(Selena) is a quiet leader,” said Riccardi, who described Drinks as a “very disciplined, dedicated, and a hard-worker.”
Ossining will focus more on passing and defense, as opposed to hard-hitting kills to the floor, in order to generate points, hoping that it will lead to opponents making more mistakes, Riccardi said.
The Pride will only be playing in one tournament during the regular season — Hen Hud’s Breast Cancer Awareness tournament on September 7, but plans to get several preseason workouts in.
In addition to South’s preseason tournament, Ossining will be playing in a four-team scrimmage at New Rochelle on August 28, and will host its own four-team scrimmage on August 31.
Photo credit: MaxPreps