YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y.— Yorktown’s volleyball squad is coming off a season in which it finished 15-3 and lost to Hendrick Hudson 3-2 in the quarterfinals of the Section 1 Class A tournament. The Huskers also won at least a share of their sixth league title in the last seven years, including a sectional crown in 2013.
“We have been successful because the girls truly love the sport and have devoted a lot of time outside of the season to improving,” Yorktown eighth-year coach Katy Sherwood said. “We also play together during the club season which I feel has a positive impact on our team chemistry and our ability to work as a team. Volleyball at Yorktown has also attracted a lot of great girls who know their role on the team and willingly accept that role for the betterment of the team.”
Setter Macey Drezek and middle hitter Kayla Knoesel, who are co-captains, are Yorktown’s two returning starters.
“They are really in tune with each other because they have been playing together for many seasons,” Sherwood said. “Together I expect them to lead the offense.”
Junior outside hitter Nicole Rabadi and senior outside hitter Stephanie White are returnees whose playing time will increase this season. Both saw limited action last fall.
“They have worked very hard over the club season and I expect them to add some power to our outside-hitter positions,” Sherwood said. “We also have freshman defensive specialist Jackie Knoesel who I expect will help to keep most balls from hitting the ground in the back row. Senior right-side hitter Marissa Thomas is not new to the team but has been having a strong preseason hitting from the right side and senior captain and setter Amanda Rolle has really fine tuned her setting and serving. She will be a contributor as well.”
Sherwood said that the Huskers’ first three goals are to play every game with as much heart as possible, win at least a share of the league title again and improve upon their sectional showing last year.
“Class A will again be a battle but I think my team has a lot of potential and will fight as hard as they can against anyone we face,” said Sherwood, whose team will open up at Hen Hud at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5. “Our last goal and always an important one is to have fun. I really love this group and the intensity they bring in practice has me really excited and motivated for the season.”
Lakeland also opens on Sept. 5 when it travels to Peekskill for a 4:30 p.m. start.
The Hornets will once again be coached by Steve Fallo, who will be entering his 32nd season coaching Lakeland.
Fallo and company are coming off another playoff campaign in highly competitive Class A. It finished 5-10 and lost to Harrison 3-1 in the outbracket round of the Class A tournament.
“Our goal is to be competitive every match and to improve as a team and as an individual player every day,” Fallo said.
Lakeland will have plenty of key returning offensive players which should put it in good position to make another run at the sectionals this fall. This group includes junior captain/middle hitter Anna Tomasini, junior outside hitter Jess Grosso, freshman outside hitter Caitlin Wisker and freshman setter/outside hitter Emily Kubisko.
A key returning player for the Hornets defensively will be junior libero Christina Kubisko, Emily’s sister.
A newcomer to keep an eye on for Lakeland will be freshman setter Victoria Tsui.
Along with Tomasini, providing leadership to go along with her talent is senior captain Kayla Bugeya. Bugeya displays her leadership by being willing to play anywhere on the court where Fallo needs her but at heart is a true setter.
“My expectation for all players is to play as a team and help each other to get better every day,” Fallo said. “Our team must work hard every day and just do their job as a player to the best of their ability.”