Longtime MacArthur girls’ volleyball coach Diann Sciulla went into the 2023 season expecting a rebuild with heavy graduation losses coupled with competing in one of the tougher conferences in Nassau County.
The Generals are far exceeding expectations thus far though and are positioned for a possible postseason run.
“I was seven seniors and the offense was heavier last year so the girls I did lose came with some heavy swings,” said Sciulla, who is in her 14th season leading the program. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to keep up with the conference that we’re currently in, but the girls have proved me wrong and I am pleasantly surprised.”
A three-set sweep at New Hyde Park on Sept. 23 moved the Generals to 6-1 on the season and 5-1 in Conference IV. MacArthur has dropped just two sets in its six victories.
The offense is led by senior setter Emilie Agnoli, who recorded 14 assists in the New Hyde Park win. Agnoli, who is looking to play on the collegiate level next season, netted 20 assists in a Sept. 21 sweep of Hicksville and 17 assists along with six aces in a four-set triumph versus Jericho on Sept. 18.
Junior middle blockers Natalie Longobucco and Arianna Feiler are also key to the offensive attack. Longobucco and Feiler registered eight and four kills, respectively, in the Hicksville victory.
Senior Maggie Butler and sophomore Ashley Renneisen are also integral parts of the MacArthur offense as outside hitters.
Sciulla has deployed multiple liberos in the early part of the season with senior Madeline Aramini emerging as the main anchor of the Generals’ defense. Aramini recorded 14 digs in the Hicksville win.
“It is her last year here as a senior to put in her all and she has been doing exactly that,” said Sciulla of Aramin. “She has been our most consistent libero.”
MacArthur is looking to keep momentum going in the October portion of its schedule to obtain one of the two available spots in Conference IV for the upcoming Class AA playoffs. The Generals lone loss came in a 3-0 defeat at unbeaten Great Neck South Sept. 13 by set scores of 25-20, 25-20 and 25-17.
MacArthur has three matches this week, capped by a trip to Valley Stream Central this Saturday for a 4 p.m. first serve.
“I’m just hoping that the girls continue to give 110 percent on the court,” Sciulla said.
“I think they have also been shocked as to how well they’ve been playing so I think they’re really self motivated to continue to play this well and hopefully gain that first or second spot from the conference.”
While the playoffs are a long ways away, Sciulla said she would love a chance at a rematch with Great Neck South and avenge the lone September setback.
“My hope would be that we would see them again at some point in the playoffs,” Sciulla said. “That would be a good game to come back to.”