BEDFORD, N.Y.— Five talented starters return for Mahopac’s volleyball team and coach Jay Melville and the girls have high expectations this season.
Following a five-set loss to Scarsdale, the Indians rebounded to defeat host Fox Lane in straight sets on Sept. 15.
“The key was us limiting our mistakes,” Melville said of the win over the Foxes. “(The Scarsdale loss) was an upsetting match. I felt we were the better team and at times we played like it. We had a lot of letdowns in that match where we gave too many free points away. Our goal today was to limit our free points to [Fox Lane]. We still made some mistakes but compared to what we did against Scarsdale it was an improvement, so I was happy.”
The first two sets were tight, as Mahopac ground out 25-23 wins against a perennially tough opponent. Senior captain Julia Dodd spiked one to the floor with the assist coming from fellow senior co-captain Claire Felix to end the second set.
“You just have to stay positive with your team,” junior Carah Vitkus said of what it takes to pull out tight games. “Don’t get down if you mess up. Just push it aside and get the next one.”
Mahopac (3-1) ended the match with a 25-20 victory in the third set. After a few unsuccessful tries, Vitkus emphatically slammed down a kill to end it.
“Our other captain (Claire Felix) and I said, ‘Let’s win, we got this,” Dodd said. “We’re a better team and we can put this away.”
Vitkus, a versatile player who is a middle hitter in the front row and a setter in the back row, led the way with an all-around effort of 15 kills, 12 assists, 11 digs and two blocks.
“She’s one of our strongest hitters,” Melville said of Vitkus, who has been on varsity since her freshman year. “She’s hands wise our best setter and she’s a very good passer. I try to work the lineup out to give her the opportunity to hit and set. It’s easy to run the middle with her. She can adjust to any set. She’s a nice weapon to have.”
“She’s a very good all-around player,” Dodd added. “Normally we don’t have people that diverse.”
The junior standout said that communication and perfect passes were critical in the win.
“If we don’t have a perfect pass, then we can’t run our offense,” Vitkus noted.
Dodd (nine kills, nine digs), Felix (six kills, 13 digs), Ashley Hickey (11 digs), Francesca Cammarata (three aces, 10 assists), Dorinda Murray (two aces) and Siobhan Hynes (four assists) contributed to the Indians’ cause.
“Franny Cammarata, who’s the other setter in the 6-2, had a good match today and got a lot of sets to our hitters in places where we could do well,” Melville said. “Claire Felix, who struggled a little bit against Scarsdale, really stepped it up and kept a lot of balls off the floor. But the whole team did. A lot of balls that fell against Scarsdale, we were more aggressive getting to and keeping off the floor today.”
In Mahopac’s five-set loss (25-19, 11-25, 25-18, 16-25, 20-25) to Scarsdale, the Indians gave up a 2-1 lead on Sept. 13.
Dodd (14 kills, two aces, 12 digs), Vitkus (12 kills, five blocks, 14 assists, two aces, 16 digs), Murray (eight kills, three aces, two blocks), Felix (seven kills, 20 digs), Cammarata (19 assists, two aces, 18 digs), Hynes (three blocks) and Hickey (12 digs) stuffed the stat sheet.
The Indians defeated host Horace Greeley 3-1 (24-26, 25-20, 26-24, 26-24), pulling out three tight games after dropping the first set on Sept. 18.
Vitkus (16 kills, 22 digs, 11 assists), Dodd (13 kills, 18 digs), Felix (four aces, 13 digs), Bella Marinelli (five kills), Cammarata (14 assists), Hynes (two aces, two blocks), Murray (two aces, two blocks, four assists) and Gabby Rocchio (10 digs) did the job against the Quakers.
Mahopac started its league slate on Sept. 19 when it hosted Arlington and is scheduled to travel to John Jay-East Fishkill for a 4:30 p.m. league game on Sept. 25.
“They’ve shown signs of being a very good team and a very strong contender this year,” Melville said of his squad. “It’s just a matter of them playing consistent and showing it throughout the season.”
His senior captain concurred.
“We have high expectations,” Dodd said. “We haven’t been playing well yet but we’re getting it together. I’m excited to see where we go.”