Even bandaged and bruised, Ardsley junior Nicolina Chenard entered this postseason with hopes and dreams of a section title and left it with a championship plaque and her name branded on the Section 1 Class B tournament.
Chenard (pictured right, last year), who suffered a knee injury against John Jay on Oct. 14, played sparingly in the team’s quarterfinal win over Eastchester on Monday before blasting 24 kills in semifinal and championship victories over Hen Hud and Nanuet, respectively. While there is no section tournament MVP for any class, anyone who was at either of those matches (I was at both) could see that Chenard was the clear difference maker for the Panthers in their final push for their first title since 2007.
The junior overpowered defenses with her serve and spikes all week, and as a result, she is this week’s player of the week.
There were several worthy candidates — Nanuet’s Nia Diaz, who recorded a program-record 32 kills en route to sending the Golden Knights to their first-ever section final; Dobbs Ferry’s Alexis Demitrovic, who returned from what is easily the oddest injury I’ve ever covered in four year to lead the Eagles to their second consecutive title; John Jay’s Julia Mines, who had 14 and 17 kills, respectively, in massive wins over Panas and Yorktown in the Class A semifinals and final — but I think that Chenard’s performances this week really stood out above it all.
Since the Section 1 season is over, this will be the final player of the week post until the 2015 season comes around again. I don’t want to pick players from such a small pool through the end of the state tournament, which will be over in two weeks anyway. However, when next season starts up again, The Journal News will continue tot name a new player of the week each Sunday (unless there are extenuating circumstances). Fans and players can nominate hopefuls via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter by tagging me (@Zacchio_LoHud) and using the hashtag #POTW.
When submitting nominees, please list the performance(s) you felt were worthy of their selection and I will consider all nominees, along with a list of players I took note of during the week. Please submit all nominations by Saturday night, so that I can properly prepare the post on Sunday.