The women’s volleyball team of Manhattanville College is looking to make another run for post-season play in the 2016 season. With a squad of 12 players, they are hopeful in receiving a spot in the Freedom Conference championship this year.
The Valiants dropped an important conference match against #14 Eastern earlier in the season. But this setback has only propelled the girls to continue working hard, stay motivated and lead their team to victory.
Leadership responsibilities remain upheld by the upperclassmen on and off the court.
“Our coach makes it the upperclassmen’s responsibility to look after the freshman and make sure they are bettering the teams culture,” says junior Meagan Dattoma, who was named Athlete of the Week earlier in the season.
Datomma, and her teammates make it a priority that if an underclassmen is struggling they help them to the best of their abilities.
“We are always working on building our team chemistry, and that is only accomplished when we successfully integrate every player onto the team; freshman all the way up to senior,” said Dattoma.
“We are a really close team so we always have each other’s back. When we find ourselves down in sets, points, or if coach is getting on one of us, I know I can look to my teammates to pick me up,” said senior Megan Quinabo.
The squad has four seniors this year: Adrianna Alves, Samantha Miano, Megan Quinabo and Emma Banevicius who play a crucial role on and off the court.
“The class that is graduating this year has had such a big influence on this program. They are all such great leaders and their presence will be greatly missed next year on the court. All of them have contributed so much to the culture of our team,” said Dattoma.
“As much stress as it is leaving this team at the end of the season, I use it as motivation. For my last year, I just want to play my heart out one last time. We’ve grown into such an amazing family. I’ve never built such great chemistry with any other team,” said senior Samantha Miano.
In order to set the tone, the team has pre-rituals and traditions before each game, starting with a meal together before warm up. They meet in the locker room and listen to music, get their hair braided for game day, and discuss what they want to accomplish out on the court.
“I personally think it is great hangout together. In order to have chemistry as teammates, we first have to have get on the same energy level and start communicating off the court.
We have yet to lose a home game this season, so I believe our pregame ritual is pretty effective,” said Dattoma.
When the team comes off a tough loss, the squad uses it as a motivation for future games.
“Sometimes we study old footage but most times we just get ready for our next match,” said Quinabo.
“Tough losses teach us a lot more than one can imagine. We learn what we need to work on both individually and as a whole. Knowing this is what dissipates “negative energy” from a loss. We learn, adjust, and apply our knowledge to our next game. It only makes us grow even more,” said Adrianna Alves.
The squad has played very well in other Conference play especially against Misericordia. The girls account for this to be one of their best games this season.
“We gave that game everything we had, we never trailed, and shut them out in 3 sets. We came together so well and had such amazing chemistry during that game,” said Dattoma.
“Beating Misericordia for the first time in a 3 set sweep was huge this season and a program first, which is awesome! Also beating King’s in 4 sets, was another great match! Whenever we play at home it’s always memorable because of our fans,” said Quinabo.
The Valiants have only a few conference games remaining. In order to clinch a spot in the playoffs they will need to be successful in every aspect on the court. As of Oct. 12th, the squad is 3-2 in conference play. The girls had a fantastic game against Delaware Valley, where they honored a fellow Valiant, Robert Schartner’18 who was tragically killed on Oct. 9th by a drunk driver.
“Every game is important to us, whether it’s conference or not. That being said, were a little more than halfway into our season. The amount of games left are winding down, so each game becomes more and more important,” said Alves.
For the four seniors it is their last run at continuing their final season. We are confident that the squad has the talent, commitment, and chemistry to clinch a spot in the MAC Freedom Conference playoffs.