Tigers win first round match

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Junior Eri Kawakami gets ready to serve during an Oct. 14 game at Mamaroneck High School. Kawakami was instrumental in Mamaroneck’s first-round playoff win on Oct. 25. Photos/Mike Smith

On Oct. 25, the spoils of Mamaroneck’s volleyball team’s turnaround season manifested itself in the squad’s first home playoff game in quite some time as the sixth-seeded Tigers took on the 11th seed, RC Ketcham. The Tigers made the most of their opportunity, downing Ketcham 3-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Though the Tigers may have been treading on unfamiliar ground hosting a playoff game, head coach Stacey Riter said, they showed no signs of it leading into the Friday game.

“The girls were excited coming in, because we said all year long that each of their regular season games mattered,” she said. “By getting that six seed, it showed that all their hard work this year had paid off.”
The Tigers found themselves up against an unfamiliar foe in Ketcham and while the Tigers’ coaching staff did it’s best to glean some info about Friday’s foe, they found their searches largely fruitless.

“We weren’t totally sure what we would see from the other team, we were only able to find a short clip of them playing, so it didn’t tell us much,” Riter said. “But I felt 100 percent confident coming in and told the girls that we were the higher seed for a reason.”

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Junior Eri Kawakami gets ready to serve during an Oct. 14 game at Mamaroneck High School. Kawakami was instrumental in Mamaroneck’s first-round playoff win on Oct. 25. Photos/Mike Smith

The Tigers certainly played like the higher seed, winning their first-round match-up handily by taking everything Ketcham threw at them. Riter was especially pleased with the play of two juniors who stepped up in a big way.

“Our defense did a great job, and really I think we dominated them,” she said. “Especially Eri Kawakami and Shirli Samara, our libero. That was definitely a strength for us.”

The Tigers will advance to the second round, where they are preparing for a tilt against rival Scarsdale. The Raiders are coming off a dominant 3-0 win over White Plains and already own a win over Mamaroneck, having toppled the Tigers in three straight sets earlier in the year. According to Riter, Mamaroneck has made great strides since that loss.

“We played three weeks into the season, but we are a very different team then we were then,” she said. “But this is going to be a good challenge for us.”

The Tigers and Raiders will square off on Oct. 29, after
press time.
-Reporting by Mike Smith

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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.