By Mitch Silver

How good was Cayla Brown’s season for the Rye High Volleyball team? Beyond the usual accolades from her coach and teammates, Pelham Coach Mark Finnegan’s words spoke volumes after the Garnets knocked his team out of Sectional play in five thrilling sets — 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20.

“You get into these tight, close matches and whose great player is going to take over? And it was Cayla Brown. She made every play. I mean, I don’t even know if she made a mistake. I’m sure she did, but I don’t remember it.”

The unassuming Brown, who will make a tour of colleges this month, follows in the footsteps of older sister Courtney, who plays volleyball for Hamilton College. “My entire family has been incredibly supportive. My sister, being a player herself, has been great.”

And there’s more to the league’s Player of the Year than high school, club, and beach volleyball. Winter finds her playing varsity squash, though Cayla’s favorite athletic endeavor is gymnastics. “I learned at the Rye YMCA, and I spend my summers teaching gymnastics to kids from 4-14 at the Y.”

The honoree, chosen for the award by the Rye Lions Club and the RHS Athletic Department, gave a special shout-out to a couple of mentors: Mr. Murolo, her AP Calculus teacher, and her two-year volleyball coach, Geri Jones. “Ms. Jones is so easy to talk to, on and off the court. She can be funny, and serious when she needs to be, and she’s there to talk about anything.”

In the classroom, Cayla’s favorite course is Advanced Placement Digital Photography, her third such course at Rye High. Is photography in her future, too?

“I love the work you do at the computer after taking the picture, Photo-shopping and the rest. Then again, I could see my self becoming a medical researcher.”

Before she has to declare a major and choose a career, Cayla will join the other monthly Lions Club winners at a year-end dinner at The Osborn, where Rye’s Player of the Year will be announced. She’ll be in the running.

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