Holy Child Fall Sports Preview: Veteran Leadership and Youthful Exuberance Pair Nicely for Gryphons

The postseason isn’t just a goal for Holy Child’s programs anymore – it’s an expectation. The Gryphons are loaded with both seasoned and young talent in each of their four autumn sports, and the victories are once again likely to pile up.

Published September 9, 2011 2:50 PM
6 min read


hcthumbThe postseason isn’t just a goal for Holy Child’s programs anymore – it’s an expectation. The Gryphons are loaded with both seasoned and young talent in each of their four autumn sports, and the victories are once again likely to pile up.


By Jim Byrne


The postseason isn’t just a goal for Holy Child’s programs anymore – it’s an expectation. The Gryphons are loaded with both seasoned and young talent in each of their four autumn sports, and the victories are once again likely to pile up.


Field Hockey


hcfhLast season, for the fourth time in five years, the Gryphons – directed by head coach Barbara Lorys – made their way to the NYSAIS State championship game. And although they didn’t take home the hardware as in ’06 and ’08, the fourth-seeded team’s playoff run was an important building block for 2011.


The Gryphons were bolstered by a strong junior class in 2010, a class of seven that return this year as seniors poised to add another State title to the wall of champions inside their school.


“We’ve noticed a huge difference in our seasoned seniors,” said Lorys. “They are much more confident this year, work well together, and communicate well on the field. The girls are positive and determined to be successful. We know they’ll be much stronger as a team.”


Holy Child will be led on the field by captains Helen Brosnan, Catherine Ann Gray, and Jillian Murphy. All three participated in offseason camps, including the Futures Programs, which have allowed them to bring new ideas and techniques to the team.


“Both Catherine Ann and Jillian had sisters who played on one of our State championship teams,” said Lorys. “They watched our games, lived through the excitement, and got a taste of success.”


Lorys also expects returnees Liz McCooey, Grace Jordan, and Mary Clare Manfred, as well as newcomer Jolie Brakey, to contribute greatly this season. McCooey is a strong forward line player with tremendous stick skills who should be a leading scorer. Jordan provides skill at the midfield, while Manfred has been charged with running the defense. Brakey, a sophomore, is speedy and possesses “super stick skills”.


“Our preseason tryouts bring in huge numbers as a result of our successful program,” said the coach. “This gives us the opportunity to choose the very best players. The girls at Holy Child want to be a part of our team and take pride in upholding the successful trend.”


“Success breeds success,” she added. “Perseverance is our key.”


The season begins at home against Hackley September 13.




hcxcHoly Child features a large squad of runners this season, 23, of which nearly half are first-timers in the sport. But, if you know anything about the program and its head coach Declan Foley, it will be no surprise when the newcomers and veterans are blazing through courses together at record times by season’s end.


“The plan is to teach these new girls what our sport is all about, how to properly train for it, and get them on the same page as our veteran runners by the time we get to late October,” said Foley. “Once everyone gets a few weeks under their belts, I expect that the team will be quite competitive within itself.”


In 2010 the Gryphons enjoyed a team-best showing at the Brewster Bear Classic, and ended up finishing fourth at the League championships. Some of the younger girls ran extremely well during the final weeks of the season, which Foley believes has carried over into the new season.
The captains this year are seniors Georgia Crane and Kendra McNulty, and junior Ellen Lautenbach. All three have been with the team for multiple seasons, so they know what to expect from their coach.


“They all understand that you get out of this sport what you put into it, so they will serve the team well by not only leading by example, but also encouraging their teammates to be consistent and patient in order to see improvement,” said Foley. “Away from the running, the girls are very good about keeping things funny, lively, and interesting day in and day out.”


Returning runners Lauren Stricker, Shaylynn Reilly, and Amanda Carlson have all looked good in early workouts. New additions Ryan Hughes, Cameron Kellett, and Elizabeth Curcio are expected to bolster the roster.


“As long as the girls are running well, seeing improvements, and proud of how they have done by season’s end, we will have done our jobs,” said Foley.


The season begins September 17 at the Boathouse Big Red Invitational in Somers.




hcvThe team lost, but you would never have guessed it by the crowd’s reaction. Holy Child’s fans were chanting the school’s name at the end of the Fairchester Athletic Association tournament championship last November, inspired by the gutsy performance they had just witnessed.


Although it was undoubtedly a heartbreaking end to a dazzling season – the 12-10 Gryphons won the FAA regular season title and advanced to the final for the first time since 1998 – the 3-2 (23-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-11) loss embodied the indelible fighting spirit of Holy Child.


Much has changed since that night in November, however. Eight seniors graduated and the head coach departed the program. In her place is Trevene Moody-Smith, a former scholarship volleyball athlete at Mercy College, who also played two years of international volleyball for Jamaica. Moody-Smith has prior coaching experience at the Downstate Juniors, and is excited about a team she says is “full of fight and energy”.


Danielle Riverso is the team’s senior captain. She’ll be charged with keeping that fighting spirit alive as the program makes a transition.


“This year will be a rebuilding one,” said Moody-Smith. “We will focus on working on our basic skills and getting the team on one level. We have some talented freshmen players who will help with this process; hopefully, teamwork will help also.”


Holy Child serves into play September 9 at home against Riverdale.


hcsThe Gryphons are younger than they were last year, but head coach Ernest Harmon says he has a close-knit roster that works hard and plays together as a team.


“We’re not a team based on superstars,” said the second-year head coach. “All the girls are in this together for the common cause of winning.”


Harmon was pleased with his team’s season in 2010, pointing out that teams that routinely defeated them in past years had much greater difficulty doing so last season. Now, with a roster he has mostly promoted and handpicked, he feels the Gryphons are ready to take the next step.


Leading the way will be senior captains Isabelle Despins and Charlotte Elcock. The duo control the pitch from the midfield, and will be relied upon to spearhead a team comprised mostly of juniors and sophomores.


“We’re up-and-coming, but we fully intend on making the playoffs and advancing to at least the second round,” said Harmon. “The bottom line is these girls now know what it takes to be part of a varsity team. The camaraderie is already great, and it will only lead to better soccer.”


The season gets into gear September 9 at Poly Prep.

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