By MIKE SMITH
The Mamaroneck volleyball team walloped visiting Hastings on Oct. 11, downing the Yellow Jackets in straight sets to improve to 10-4 on the season. As stellar as that record may seem to an outside observer, the Tigers’ mark on the season is all the more impressive given the recent struggles of the Mamaroneck squad.
Under first-year head coach Stacey Riter, the program has made great strides, something that Riter said was a goal when she hopped on board.
“Seeing as this was my first season, I didn’t know what to expect,” Riter said. “But I know that this has been one of our best years in a while, so we’ve definitely exceeded expectations.”
Despite the fact that the Tigers are a relatively young squad with just one senior on the roster, Riter has been pleased with the way the team has gelled thus far. Against Hastings, that chemistry was evident as they won 25-4, 25-17, 25-17 with relative ease.
“I know it sounds cliché, but our number one strength is that the girls get along so well,” Riter said. “They’re fantastic girls, they’re all on board.”
The Tigers have gotten contributions from a number of girls, starting with captain Emily Holzberg, center Alexa Snyder and hitter Colette Clark, who is the team’s sole senior. So far, Snyder said, the team’s defense has been terrific and the offense is starting to come around.
“We’re starting to play smarter offense over the last few games,” she said. “I’d like to continue to see them keep working on it, setting up opportunities for Collette–who has tremendous power–and our other hitters.”
Although the team is focusing on one game at a time, Riter said, they have also begun to set certain goals for themselves.
“This being our first winning season in a while, what’s been fun for me has been setting goals,” the head coach said. “Stuff like finishing in the top two or three in the league. I think we’ve surprised a lot of teams by winning and doing well.”
Mamaroneck will face a stiff test on Oct. 17 when they host an undefeated Dobbs Ferry team that looks to be the class of the league. After tilts with Irvington and Edgemont, the Tigers will wrap up the regular season with a showdown against cross-town rivals Rye Neck.
“All these games are huge,” Riter said. “But with Rye Neck, even though that’s not a league match, the two schools are so close that people get excited for that, especially because they’re generally a strong team.”