Will move from Class C to D in playoffs
By Skip Pearlman
The Haldane High School volleyball team has a mission: reclaim the Section 1 trophy the squad lost last year to Valhalla after claiming the title in 2016 and 2017.
This year the team will be chasing the Class D prize, rather than Class C; the state athletic association occasionally shifts teams based on enrollment and Haldane teams have played in both classes.
The Blue Devils return virtually their entire line-up, including seven starters, although they lost two stalwarts to graduation: four-year middle-hitter Morgan Etta and two-time All-Section selection and team captain Willa Fitzgerald.
Seniors and captains Melissa Rodino, Olivia Monteleone and Grace Tomann (who will play next year at the University of New Hampshire) head the list. Starters Sophia Immorlica, Sofia Viggiano, Maria Barry and Ashley Hotaling also return, along with senior Taylor Farrell, junior Zoe Silverman and sophomore Meghan Tomann. Juniors Desirea Hyatt and Rachel Lavicoli are new to the squad.
“Our three captains lead by example, which is all a coach can ask for,” said Kelsey Flaherty, a 2012 Haldane grad who is in her fourth season at the helm. “They can all play three positions, so they can also mentor other girls.
“With such a veteran team, we have a lot of confidence that this group can take it all the way” and reclaim the title, Flaherty said. “We’ve learned from our mistakes last year, and they’ve been to the sectional final. They know what to expect.”
Although the team will move to Class D, and “there is great competition in both classes,” Flaherty said the smaller class “could be more schools like us. It could possibly give us a better chance to reach our goal.”
Haldane is scheduled to open its season on Friday, Sept. 6, hosting Rye Neck at 6 p.m. The Blue Devils will compete in a 15-team tournament at Hendrick Hudson High School the following day that will raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.