In a game delayed 90 minutes at the request of the visiting Sleepy Hollow team, the Rye Neck Panthers came out swinging anyway and took the first game against the Headless Horsemen 25-18.
By Mitch Silver
In a game delayed 90 minutes at the request of the visiting Sleepy Hollow team, the Rye Neck Panthers came out swinging anyway and took the first game against the Headless Horsemen 25-18. Coach Kristin Desio’s squad then rolled to a 3-0 victory, insuring themselves of another winning season of volleyball.
“We really want to get back to the Section finals,” the coach told me. “We’ve been knocked out the last couple of years, so it’s a goal of ours.” League champs in 2010 and 2011, the Panthers look primed for another strong run.
“We have strong senior leadership,” Desio said. “With Juliette D’Errico and Rachel Cohen, our captains, it’s like having two little coaches out there. Kaitlyn Pillig has been on the high school team since seventh grade, and Lindsay Walther…well, her teammates call her ‘The Sparkle.’ Her positive attitude buoys up everyone when we need it most.”
The coach admitted the season is something of a bittersweet experience, knowing her seniors will be moving on in a few short games. On the other hand, two ninth graders are playing important roles for the team. Olivia Beach is a big hitter up front, while Samantha Yannuzzi is the libero, the glue that holds everything together. Of her the coach said, “I tend to set things up a little more defensively. Sam and her digs make it all go.”
The spotlight seems to shine on a different Panther in every match. Against rivals Blind Brook October 2, Jackie DeCicco had eight kills to lead the team to a 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 victory.
How does the rest of the schedule shape up? “Both Dobbs Ferry and Blind Brook won their respective leagues last year, so nothing’s going to be easy. And Keio is always a contender,” said Coach Desio.
The march to Sectionals continues. The girls took on Dobbs and Irvington post-press time, and visit Keio October 14 at 4:30 p.m.
Conceptual dance? No, it’s Kaitlyn Pillig, left, and Samantha Yannuzzi anticipating the serve.