NEW CITY — North Rockland let up on the gas during its match against Clarkstown North on Wednesday and it almost cost the Red Raiders.
After jumping out to large leads at the start of the third and fourth games against Clarkstown North, the Red Raiders allowed the Rams to climb back before eventually finishing them off in a four-game effort, 25-20, 16-25, 25-22, 25-18 at Edward J. McGrath Court.
North Rockland led 8-1 to open Game 3 before Clarkstown North tied it at 19-19. The Red Raiders then grabbed leads of 12-1 and 23-11 in the final game before the Rams cut it to 23-18.
“(The early leads) didn’t relax them at all,” North Rockland head coach Colette Jurman said of her team. “We just have to keep the momentum on our side, and make sure that we don’t give up two, three, four points in a row. Our focus is to just break that.”
The Red Raiders downed their Class AA and league foes with a balanced offensive attack that included five players with at least six kills each.
“We played a little scrappy, but we definitely played (well) together,” said Red Raiders senior hitter Nicole Talamini, who led all players with 10 kills. “We give ourselves little goals like ‘push to 15’ … just little goals for ourselves so we can bring it all the way up to 25 (points) and hopefully win the game.”
Talamini (pictured left) had a stellar, spinning kill down the left side of the court to open the fourth game. North Rockland ended the match with another sensational kill by Danielle Abreu.
The match was also a homecoming of sorts for Red Raiders libero Jocelyn Zepeda, who played for Clarkstown North as a freshman before transferring to North Rockland.
The junior spent half her freshman season on junior varsity before getting promoted to varsity, where she was teammates with many of the current Rams.
“It’s really awkward, but I really want to beat (Clarkstown North),” said Zepeda, who had a match-high 33 digs. “It motivates me to play better.”
Here’s my video recap. I can only imagine what got the girls so “fired up” for this match…
All photos were shot by The Journal News’ Joe Larese. View Joe’s complete gallery from this match here.