By Mike Smith
On Sept. 3, about a week before schools officially opened, Harrison’s volleyball team took to the court for their season opener against Croton-Harmon. Although the team is a young one, it is off to a good start following a 25-13, 26-16, 25-22 win over the Tigers.
According to Huskies coach Candy Light, the season-opening win was an encouraging sign of things to come. Harrison’s serves were on-point in the win, as the team missed just one serve in the entire game.
“I think the girls really stepped up and started to come together,” said the head coach. “They were definitely communicating with each other, and we were earning each point that was given to us.”
Harrison enters the season with just three seniors on the roster. Zoe Rheingold and Maddie Bilbrey were both on the squad last year, while the third senior, Miho Iwasa, is a transfer student from Japan who will serve as one of the primary setters on the club. Light is also expecting big things from a pair of sophomores, Maxine Lieblich and Valerie Sprovieri.
“They played on the varsity last year,” Light said. “They’re going to be our big hitters this year.”
For a team with so many younger girls, however, Light said that coming together won’t be something that happens in just one game, it will be a work in progress as the season rolls on.
“When you’ve got a team with players from 8th to 12th grade, the first part of the puzzle is getting each of them to play together and know each other,” the head coach said. “You’ve got to start with the team-building type of atmosphere.”
After that, she said, the Huskies’ success is going to come down to passing–not the most glamorous aspect of the sport, but arguably the most critical.
“The serve-receive aspect is the most important thing,” Light said. “Most players, it’s not what they want to practice, they’d rather be hitting the ball, but it’s something we definitely have to work on.”
The season kicks off this week in earnest, with Harrison taking on another non-league team in Ossining. The Huskies will do battle against old rivals like the Garnets from Rye, as well as burgeoning foes like league opponent Fox Lane, with whom the Huskies have played their share of thrillers over the past few seasons.
“Playing before school started, that opening game, it was kind of weird,” Light said. “But we’re definitely excited to be getting the season under way, playing two, three games a week. But it was definitely nice to get that first win under our belts.”