Article by Phoenix writer Justin McKenzie ’24
November 3rd, 2023 was a joyous scene at SUNY Old Westbury where the Girls Varsity Volleyball team rejoiced in celebration after winning the League Championship against the Sacred Heart Spartans.
The Lady Firebirds’ dominance has been displayed throughout the season as the team went 14-0 in league play this season and finished number one in the NSCHGAA League. This championship performance came after a 3-0 win against St. John the Baptist in the semifinal rounds.
The final kill of the season came in dramatic fashion after two hours of hard-fought competition where the Lady Firebirds won each set by scores of 25-21, 25-15, and 25-22 respectively.
In each set, key serves down the stretch came in clutch to lead the team to victory.
Senior Middle Hitter Kennedy Mayers shared, “Our team Acronym ‘GHAME’ (Grit, Humility, All In, Mudita, Embrace) helped me. When we won all I could feel was pure happiness. My favorite thing about the team was that we always worked together as a unit. We did well this season because we had so much fun, and we enjoyed the moments when we were together.”
Players on the team were also recognized for their individual talents throughout the season.
Junior Setter Bianca Sapano won the MVP of the game after a great performance that included 27 assists and 7 blocks.
Junior Outside Hitter Stella Becker won the NSCHGAA Offensive Player of the Year.
AVCA’s Best & Brightest Award, which is meant to honor individual high school senior athletes who excel on and off the court, was awarded to Grace Canade, Olivia Orphanos, Alyssa Bargellini, and Julia Maniscalco.
Coach vonShoenermarck also won Coach of the Year.
When asked about the team, Coach vonShoenermarck had this to say: “We’re 47-1 in the past 3 years. The players this season knew how hard it was to fight for every single point, so every single point became its own game. It makes you focus on the present moment. That’s very important in a mental game like volleyball. A lot of the girls were on the team last year so they had nine months to reflect on last year’s championship loss. The girls have left behind a legacy of committing to improving everyday. They had professionalism on the court and in the classroom, and after this season I’m sure they will wind up with such incredible leadership qualities no matter what they do.”
The girls’ hard work and determination throughout the season has paid off with this championship win.