SPRINGFIELD, NJ – Pamela de la Llave, Head Coach of the Jonathan Dayton girls volleyball team, awarded varsity letters to eight of the players on the team at the 2017 Sports Awards Night. Senior Sophia Barilla is a four-year gold letter winner and was named All-Conference. Junior Ava Ginefra and Sophomore Rianna Cordiero were given Honorable Mention for All-Conference.
Before giving out the letters, Coach de la Llave thanked many in the Administration for their help and support. She then gave a “…very big thank you to my assistant coach, Coach Fabi. This was his first season with us and he did a great job.” She also thanked the two student Team Managers Portia Shaheed and Tyler Kwinta, and the parents “…for all of their support and commitment to their children.”
She highlighted “Our 4th Annual Dig Pink Rally. It is an event that we hold in October to raise money for grants for breast cancer research and support for families fighting the battle against cancer. As always, the girls were incredibly excited and we had overwhelming support from the parents, the school community and local businesses. The turn-out was amazing and we were able to surpass our goal of raising $3,500 dollars for the cause. Great job ladies!”
The players receiving letters:
Senior Setter and Captain Isabella Vierea is a first-year varsity letter winner. The coach said she came into the with the team lacking a setter and “Izzy raised her hand, gave it a try, and our new setter was made.” Vierea started her career in volleyball on the practice squad barely seeing the court. Now four years later she is a captain and starter on the varsity team. She never gave up.
Senior Sophia Barilla played Middle and is a four-year gold letter winner. The coach said, “Sophia loves volleyball and she is always looking to get better and improve. I remember trying to convince her to play volleyball for me when she was in middle school – never playing before. To think that she went from not knowing how to pass the ball to the player that she is today is remarkable. One of her major skills she brings to the table for us is her blocking and net play – she’s awesome at it, there is no other way to put it.”
Sophia finished her career at Dayton ranked fifth for service points, fourth for aces, second for kills, second for all time digs, and first in career blocks. Along with her records, she was named All-Conference.
Senior Kristina Boettcher played Senior Libero and is a second-year varsity letter winner. Coach de la Llave said, “Butchy played defense for us in the back row. She did a great job getting her platform under the ball and passing the ball up to our setter. She has one of the most important jobs on the court, because without a good passer in the back row, you won’t get any swings on the ball. I hope the younger girls learned something from watching her play. Her personality and passing will be missed next year.”
Junior Ava Ginefra plays Opposite and is a third-year varsity letter winner. She was also given Honorable Mention for All Conference. The coach said, “Ava was our opposite and at times would step in and set for us. The position requires fast transitions, quick thinking, and smart decision-making. She did a great job on the court and was a real leader for the girls to look up to. One of her greatest skills is her serve and when she was on, opponents had a really tough time returning the ball.”
Junior Maura Duffy plays Junior Middle and is a first-year varsity letter winner. The coach said, “Maura was one of the few players who had prior volleyball experience before coming to us freshman year. She has great form when passing in the back row and she had some big blocks for us in the front row. She really became a lot more confident and comfortable on the court and we definitely saw her come out of her shell as the season went on. She has one of the nastiest serves in our division.”
Junior Middle Oluchi Emeana is a first-year varsity letter winner. According to the coach, “Oluchi came out this year with a focus and determination I haven’t seen before from her. She worked incredibly hard every day at practice, divng all over the place to make digs, working the net and getting blocks, just overall tremendous improvement. The starting spot in the lineup was well deserved.”
Sophomore Outside Hitter Rianna Cordiero is a second-year varsity letter winner. She was also recognized and given Honorable Mention for All-Conference. The coach said, “Rianna did a great job in the Outside Hitter position. Outside hitter isn’t her first choice when it came to positions, but it is where her team needed her to be and she took on that roll. She showed her ability to adapt and take on challenges.”
Sophomore Casey Janker plays Outside Hitter and is a first-year varsity winner. Coach de la Llave said, “When people hear that Casey has only been playing volleyball for us for two years they can’t believe it. She picked up the skills of the game very quickly and earned her stop in the starting line-up for us. She is a natural athlete and if she keeps working on making little changes to her approach, she is going to be a great volleyball player.”
The coach finished by saying, “Girls…Thank you again for an amazing season, I wish you, and all the seniors here tonight, the best of luck!”