Wins were few and far between on the volleyball court at Carey in 2017, and, as a result, the Lady Seahawks find themselves playing one level down in a league said to be better suited for their current level.
While the team was none too happy with the relegation, especially in light of the fact it returned nearly all of its roster, it has gone with a take-no-prisoners approach and has every intention of returning to Conference A2 in the very near future.
After last Friday’s 25-15, 25-15, 25-23 sweep of Division, the Lady Seahawks improved to 8-1 and stand alone in first place in Nassau Conference A3. Freshman Sofia Barogni (5) and senior Julia Riccobono combined for nine service aces to lead a balanced attack.
“Last season was rough, but we were young and inexperienced,” coach Nicole Sabbatino said. “We would prefer to still be in Conference 2, but this league gives us an opportunity to improve and do well. It’s a season to make a statement. I thought coming into the year that we were the strongest team in the league. Being the team to beat is a good experience for us.”
One of Carey’s strengths is its depth, but junior outside hitter Madison Wakley has emerged as a go-to player. Wakely has terrific control of her hits, and her confidence seems to grow with each match. Junior Carley Vincenzi, who had eight assists in the sweep of Division, is a calm, cool, and steadfast setter.
With Riccobono and fellow senior captains Jenna Lim and Alyssa Fiscella leading the way, the Seahawks have a solid defensive presence on the backline. Each of the three set Carey’s offense in motion with strong serve receive ability. When she’s on, Riccobono’s powerful serve is nearly impossible for opponents to return.
Versatility is a big factor is Carey’s success on the court. Seniors Taylor Verdi, Julia Parrinello, and Julia Flanagan are all effective at the net, and can play multiple positions. Barongi and 6-foot-2 eighth-grader Talia Camacho represent a big part of the present and future of Carey volleyball.
“This is the most complete team I have had,” Sabbatino said. “Every player is team-oriented, there’s terrific senior leadership, and the older girls have gone out of their way to accept the underclassmen. They’re fun to watch, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
Junior Sydney Ramsey and sophomore Emily Zeisler continue to improve. They provide depth at middle for the Seahawks. Senior Gabby Gomes has a strong serve and sees time at libero. Hard-working senior Brianna Stanton rounds out the roster.
“Hopefully, we’ll be a playoff team,” Sabbatino said. “We’re working on playing with a never-say-die attitude, and looking to improve our ability to play offense at an advanced level. When it comes to playoffs, we’ll be playing teams that play at a very high level.”
The Lady Seahawks are back in action this Saturday when they travel to New Hyde Park at 10 a.m.