RYE, N.Y.— Kim Kelly couldn’t have envisioned a better start to the season for her Somers volleyball team.
All of the hard work in the offseason is already paying dividends. The Tuskers won the Rye tournament Sept. 9 along with two matches last week.
“The key is these girls worked really hard in our preseason,” Kelly said. “A lot was asked of them physically this year and they met the challenge head on. I began talking to them about preseason in the spring. (I told them) that our approach would be different—more demanding, more intense and to be ready. And they were. They gave me maximum effort and it’s paying off on the court.”
Somers played a total of 14 matches on Saturday and defeated the host Rye Garnets in the championship match of the tourney. The finals were a best of three format and the Tuskers won 2-1.
“In pool play Saturday, we fell to Rye but faced them again in the finals where we pulled out the win,” Kelly said. “They never let up, even when they were behind. They kept their focus and their communication on the floor never shut down. The tank wasn’t on empty at the conclusion and they got to bring home the trophy. I’m very proud of them and their efforts.”
Alyssa Klee was named the tourney’s MVP with Chloe Pittman receiving all-tourney honors.
“They were both well-deserved,” Kelly said. “Alyssa played tremendously well throughout the day both on offense and defense. Our lefty right-side hitter Chloe Pittman was unstoppable when she and Liz Spencer connected on the set.”
A number of other Tuskers made significant contributions to lead the team to the title.
“Our serve-receive patterns utilizing Vicky Levy, Christina Vitale and Alexa Casciano produced good results on Saturday,” Kelly noted. “Christina’s defense as libero was incredible throughout the day. She really took ownership of the backcourt and that’s a critical role to fill on a team.”
Tournaments are important for any volleyball team as they get to experiment with their lineup and figure out what works.
“It’s an opportunity to see which combinations on the floor produce results,” Kelly said. “I talked with them about staying open to position placement and keeping their focus on what their job is in each game because it won’t necessarily be the same throughout the day. They were receptive to this and that’s exciting because the take-away is that everyone’s contribution matters.”
The Tuskers opened the season with a dominant straight-set victory over host Carmel: 25-4, 25-16, 25-11. Spencer had a big game distributing the ball, dishing out 30 assists on Sept. 6. Pittman (10 kills), Delaney Killeen (eight service aces) and Vitale (eight digs) rounded out the production.
Somers topped host Gorton 3-0 (25-6, 25-6, 25-13) on Sept. 7. Spencer had 19 assists, Casciano added eight service aces and Klee connected on six kills.
Rye got some revenge on Somers (2-1) as the Garnets defeated the host Tuskers in straight sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-14) on Sept. 11.
Somers faced Nanuet on Sept. 13 and is scheduled to host Edgemont at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 15 and then welcomes Fox Lane for a 4:30 p.m. game on Sept. 18.