RANDOLPH, NJ- On Thursday Oct. 3, the Randolph girls’ volleyball team traveled to Roxbury to take on the Gaels for Roxbury’s “Dig Pink” match. The teams were neck-and-neck all match long, but Randolph prevailed, sweeping Roxbury 2-0 (25-23, 25-22).
The coaching staff was extremely pleased with how far the team has come this season, especially in the serve-receive area. “Completely different team,” said coach Sheri Data. “Serve-receive was pretty much on point tonight.”
Defense was the key for this game, even though Roxbury was on their second-string setter. Juliet Castro, a senior libero, dug nine balls, while Gabby Trinker and Adrienne DeFuria racked up seven of their own.
“I was really happy that we put the pieces together; it was really exciting,” Trinker said.
“We’ve been working on defense and emphasizing you have to go for every ball. They are getting more confident,” Data said.
The art of the block was also unearthed, thanks to Catriona Lucus (2 blocks), and one block for Ana Aksentijevic, Natalie Riback, and Elena Rossetti.
Coach Data had glowing words for her sophomore middle-hitter, Catriona Lucus, “I hope she keeps playing volleyball, she is a pure athlete, picks up things so quickly,” said Data. Lucus also plays on the Randolph Girls Lacrosse team.
Then came Morristown, for the first round of the Morris County Tournament. The two teams faced off on October 7, and No. 16 Randolph swept No. 17 Morristown in two matches, (25-16, 25-15), to advance to the second round.
“We didn’t warm up well, but it seems to be our ‘M.O.’,” Coach Data said, “We don’t warm up well, we play well.”
DeFuria had her top-spin serve going, as usual, mesmerizing the Morristown serve-receive unit. The captain tallied seven service aces. The outside-hitter also added six kills and six digs of her own.
“We’ve been able to come together as a team and being able to push together makes each player more confident,” said DeFuria, who is one of the team captains “We’re all in it to win.”
Randolph kept their mojo going, as they swept the Mount Olive Marauders on Tuesday, Oct. 8. This match carried extra weight, as it was “Volley for a Cure”, a breast cancer fundraiser night. The Rams won the sets by the scores of 25-16, 25-20.
Senior defensive-specialist Megan Pinyan led the defensive effort, with eleven digs.
Communication is still developing among the team.
“We’ve been pushing that [communication], and they had to call everything in practice,” Coach Data said. “That is definitely why their come-back happened—you could see everybody ( On the court for the Lady Rams ) was silent.”
DeFuria again had her serve dancing all match long—the righty tallied ten more service aces, to bring her career total to 75.
The Rams also picked up some points on kills, which usually are not possible unless you have a reliable setter. Elena Rossetti, one of the three captains on the team, added 17 assists, which brought her over the 200-assist milestone.
“It’s all a team-effort, coming back later in the second set, I owe it all to them, getting that serve-receive and that hit,” Rossetti said. The setter has been impressive in that she can also hit if she is in a position to do so.
Randolph fell behind in the second set, but was able to claw back and grasp a lead. Coach Data was very impressed with her team’s resiliency.
“I don’t know where it’s coming from, but it’s working, we talk about stopping a server,” Data said. “They’ve never had that kind of comeback before.”
With their third win in a row, and the awareness and funds raised for a good cause, the night was a success all around.
“It was great having so many of the students, parents, and people from Randolph come out and support us, and a great cause,” said Rossetti.
Randolph travels to Kinnelon on Thursday and will take on West Morris Central in the second round of the Morris County Tournament on Saturday.