MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Jay Melville knows he has a talented team on his hands and it has showed during the first half of the volleyball season.
Mahopac improved to 3-0 in league play with a straight-set sweep of visiting rival Carmel Sept. 27.
“We knew that on paper we’re a better team than they are,” senior captain Claire Felix said. “But we had to make sure we tried our hardest even though we’re supposed to win. We really kept our energy up today. It’s always nice to beat Carmel.”
The Indians took the first set 25-13, won the second set 25-14 and finished off the Rams with a 25-18 third-set victory.
“We cut down on our serve-receiving errors,” said Melville, the Indians’ veteran coach. “We may have been hitting the ball out, which I’m OK with if we’re aggressively hitting. We had strong passes from the setters so we could run the hits. Our biggest problem is usually serve-receive, which costs us points here and there, but today we were getting our passes up to the net.”
It was a game where Melville was able to rotate in his entire roster.
“There are a lot of girls on the team and we really want to make sure they don’t get their spirits down because they don’t play a lot,” Felix said. “We only play like six players. But these matches, it’s important for the starters to play well so the bench players can get in the game and practice. It’ll just improve them for next year.”
Carah Vitkus (five kills, three aces, nine digs, five assists), Julia Dodd (five kills, two aces, three kills), Felix (five kills, two aces, five digs), Francesca Cammarata (12 assists), Gabby Rocchio (three kills) and Ashley Hickey (two aces, five digs) stuffed the stat sheet. Hannah Dorival had her first varsity kill, an ace and three digs.
“Everybody got a chance to play today. That was our goal going in, that the starters came out focused and ready to play,” Melville said. “We got a good lead and things were going well so we could get some other girls in. Obviously the win is more important than anything else playing varsity, but you also want to give everyone a chance to play.”
The Indians defeated host John Jay-East Fishkill 25-21, 25-23, 25-14, on Sept. 25 in a league game.
“Their goal for the regular season is to win the league,” Melville said. “Once we hit the league season, I remind them this is a little more important than a regular match. The Scarsdale match was a tough loss, but losing that was a good learning experience to get ready for league play. They want the league title really badly.”
Vitkus (eight kills, two blocks, seven assists, four digs), Felix (eight kills, six digs), Dodd (five kills, eight digs), Siobhan Hynes (three blocks), Hickey (14 digs) and Cammarata (nine assists, five digs) contributed.
Mahopac (6-2) suffered its second loss of the season when it fell to visiting New Rochelle, 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 16-25, 25-14) Sept. 28. Vitkus (14 kills, three blocks, 10 digs, eight assists), Felix (eight kills, six digs), Dodd (five kills, six assists, six digs) and Cammarata (17 assists) got in on the action.
Mahopac continued its league slate when it traveled to Roy C. Ketcham on Oct. 3. It then heads to Clarkstown North for a 4:30 p.m. game today.
“I think we can definitely make a run in the playoffs,” Felix said. “We’re a really strong team. We’re underestimated a lot, but if we keep our energy up and just play our hardest, I think we can make a run.”