By MIKE SMITH
On Friday, Oct. 24, the Harrison volleyball team began postseason play with a resounding first-round win over a tough Somers squad, beating the Tuskers 3-1 at Harrison High School. The No. 6 seeded Huskies will look to keep the season alive on Oct. 28 against third-seeded Walter Panas.
The Huskies got contributions from a number of players on Friday, including juniors Valerie Sprovieri and Maxine Lieblich who combined for 24 kills and senior Taylor Day who added nine kills and six blocks in the win. After winning the first two sets, Harrison fell 22-25 in the third, before bouncing back in the decisive fourth set to win 25-17. According to Huskies’ coach Candy Light, Harrison’s ability to limit the damage during Somers’ runs was the deciding factor in the first-round matchup.
“We’ve really been able to work through the ups and downs of a volleyball game and we did a nice job with that on Friday,” said Light. “You get into those lulls where the other team gets a few points in a row, but you saw the girls work back to not let the game get away from them.”
Light credits the team’s veterans, like Sprovieri and Day, with keeping the Huskies focused on Friday.
“For sure, the seniors played a big part,” the head coach said. “And so have the juniors who have been on the varsity team for a while now.”
Harrison’s mix of veterans and underclassmen has been a positive for the team all year long, and Light feels that the Huskies are playing their best volleyball of the season on the section’s biggest stage.
“It’s been great to see the team grow as individuals and into a cohesive team,” she said. “There was a learning curve, but I think that the confidence they have in themselves has been increasing all season.”
The Huskies will take on a perennial powerhouse from Panas on Tuesday, Oct. 28 in the Class A quarterfinals.
Although the two squads have not played each other this year, Light knows that her team will certainly be tested against a Panthers team that won its first-round game 3-0. Bridget Walsh and Shauna O’Flaherty combined for 14 kills in the win.
“They’re always a good team, they’re always well coached and we are going to need to work very hard to defend against their big outside hitters,” Light said. “And when we get our chances, we’re going to have to do our best to find the floor.”