MAHOPAC, N.Y. – It was a solid fall season for the Mahopac volleyball team, who started out slow but played their best volleyball at the end of the season when it mattered most.
The Indians finished 8-11 (4-4 in league play) under 13th-year head coach, Jay Melville.
Mahopac‘s season ended in the playoffs, with the No. 11 Indians falling to No. 3 Arlington.
Mahopac lost one of their best players during the first week of the season, and the Indians had to adjust.
“Our best hitter, Leah Vitiello (a junior), suffered a stress fracture in our first week, and unfortunately for us her return was delayed,” Melville said. “We really missed her. Losing her had a huge impact on our season. But we adjusted well, Jenna Palmiero and Maddie Stark both did very well on the outside for us.
“Some inconsistencies did cost us some matches,” Melville added. “But we did get better as the season went on, we were more competitive when we saw teams for the second time. We played better at the end, our defense stepped up. Scarsdale was a good first round matchup for us, there was a little revenge factor going. But Arlington was a much better team, and presented more problems. Still, we competed much better than we did the first time we saw them.”
Earning post-season honors was third-year varsity senior captain Gabby Rocchio, who was named All-Conference and All-League. Third-year senior captain Bella Marinelli earned her second All-League honor. Second-year senior Diana Kone was also named All-League, and Palmiero, a senior captain, earned All-League Honorable Mention honors.
“Our captains were great, vocal, and were very active,” Melville said. “They were on-court leaders, and helped the other girls who were new to the team. They were solid multi-year players. And Diana had a slow start, but really picked up the offense as our season went on. She picked up the hitting, and led the team in kills in most of our matches as the season came to an end.”
Mahopac loses five seniors, including four starters, to graduation.
“The last few years we’ve had a solid defensive group,” Melville said. “Losing Gabby and Jenna, we’ll be losing two of our best defenders. We’ll see who can step up and pick up where we left off. Having Leah back will be big, but we do have some other question marks - hitting and defense. We have a lot more questions than we’ve had the last few years. It will be interesting to see how the players develop in the off-season.”
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