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IN THE NEWS: MSDA Enjoyed Impressive Volleyball Season

By NANCY D’UVA The Progress Contributing Writer
Nov 13, 2018

CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy volleyball team had a memorable season, finishing with a 25-7 record, winning the Prep Tournament, and advancing in the county and state tournaments.

The Lions also finished in second place in the Super Essex Conference American Division.

“This team came together and worked very hard for a wonderful record,” said head coach Marybeth Olsinski Sabates ’05. “With six returning seniors, these girls knew what to expect for the upcoming season. They set goals from day one and worked hard to have a memorable season.”

Mount St. Dominic won its first Prep Tournament title since 2013 by defeating Lawrenceville in the semifinals and Kent Place in the finals. The Lions were the third seed, Kent Place was the top seed, and Lawrenceville was the second seed. The team also won the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Tournament.

“We started the season with a win at the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Tournament, which was a great confidence booster,” Olsinski Sabates said. “We won the Prep state tournament. It was a close game vs. Lawrenceville. A big accomplishment was beating Kent Place in the Prep Tournament [final].”

In the Essex County Tournament, the Lions were the third seed and advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to second-seeded Verona on Thursday, Oct. 25. They also advanced to the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public Tournament, where they were the seventh seed and lost to second-seeded Union Catholic on Saturday, Nov. 3.

The Lions also performed well in the quad match hosted by Caldwell on Sept. 15, when they defeated Caldwell and Cedar Grove but lost to Verona.

The Lions were led by senior libero Joelle Perrone ’19, senior outside hitter Jessica Sanderson ’19, and senior setter Alexandra Rivera ’19.

“This trio was monumental in the success of this season,” Olsinski Sabates said. “Joelle controlled the back row, Ally set, and Jess hit the ball. Each one needed the other and worked well together.”

Perrone surpassed the 1,000-point mark for digs, and Sanderson did the same for kills. Perrone finished with 587 digs. Sanderson had 483 kills and is committed to Tufts to play volleyball.

Also leading the team was junior defense specialist Tessa Lucanie ’20, who led the team with 229 service points. She also had 340 digs.

The team had several newcomers who contributed.

Bianca Coltenback ’21 (right side hitter) came in with a blocking force; she had 29 on the season as a sophomore,” Olsinski Sabates said. “Junior Theresa McLaughlin ’20 led the team with blocks in the middle with 64 on the season.”

In addition to Perrone, Sanderson, and Rivera, other seniors included Nicole Espinal ’19, Melanie Matarazzo ’19, and Alexa Murray ’19.

“These seniors will always have a special place in my heart,” Olsinski Sabates said. “Their hard work and dedication will be missed. They always wanted to get better and worked together well. I look forward to seeing where life takes them.”

Looking ahead to next season, Olsinski Sabates is optimistic.

“It will be a rebuilding year as we are losing six seniors, all who were starters and have been a big part of the program for the last four years,” she said.

“There are solid returners in Tessa Lucanie ’20, Breanna Munoz ’20, Eva Fiore ’20, Gianna DeLotto ’20, and Theresa McLaughlin ’20.”

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