October 04, 2006

Southampton Girls' Volleyball Makes Strides

Although the Southampton girls varsity volleyball team has only been around since 2003, it continues to make strides in its quest for respectability among the teams in League VII. And with 11 players on the varsity roster this season, coach Jorgine Buccio will have her largest team since its inception, up from eight in 2005 and up from zero in 2004 — the year the Lady Mariners failed to field a varsity team.

Senior captain Samantha Arnzen is the starting setter for Southampton and has been for the past two seasons. "Her biggest strength is her setting skills and she also has tremendous knowledge of the game," said Buccio. "She's a great leader, a responsible player and a good communicator. The girls really respect her."

Heloisa Carvalho, a junior who also started last season, is one of the strongest players on the team. Her ability to play middle blocker gives her plenty of opportunities to deliver the big hit or a key block when called upon. "Those are two of her specialties," Buccio says.

Starting outside hitter Britney Foster, a junior, is the team's floor captain and her leadership on the court runs from offense to defense to communication. She's also one of the Mariners' better servers.

Sarah Nikolich, a junior defensive specialist in the back row, brings a steady defensive presence to Southampton while Hayley Fitth, another junior and third year player, is a middle hitter who can block at the net as well as hit with the best on the team.

Junior setter Christy Nelson is often called upon for her passing skills and third-year player Bailey Macdonald, also a junior, is an improving outside hitter. Newcomers Carley Raynor (sophomore setter/outside hitter), Elise Finnerty (freshman middle hitter), Kayce Suttliffe (sophomore outside hitter) and Meaghan Cornacchio (sophomore middle/outside hitter) will also see playing time.

Although wins will be difficult for the young Southampton team which has started the League VII season with four losses, Buccio knows that her players will continue to gain valuable experience this season against some of the top teams that Suffolk has to offer. The wins will eventually come.

"As a whole, the team has grown tremendously. Our goals are to implement new strategies on the floor and to play hard, win or lose. We need to bond as a team. Overall, this is a really talented group that has room for growth. We'd like to win, but my goal is to see them play hard for every point. As long as they play their best, wins and losses are not our main focus."

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