LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — It was quite a night to remember, as Sullivan West hosted a varsity volleyball senior night game against the Lady Hambletonians of Chester Academy on Thursday, October …
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — It was quite a night to remember, as Sullivan West hosted a varsity volleyball senior night game against the Lady Hambletonians of Chester Academy on Thursday, October 10.
The home team Lady Bulldogs were outfitted in special pink jerseys emblazoned “2019 Sullivan West Volleyball Pink Out,” in recognition of the team’s fundraising efforts on behalf of the local chapter of Rise to Survive Cancer.
In welcoming the audience to the evening’s special round of events, John Meyer, coach of the Lady Bulldogs, said, “Tonight we celebrate the accomplishments and careers of our four senior ladies. We thank you for your hard work and determination to make our volleyball program better. We wish the four of you all the success and best wishes as you leave Sullivan West and move on to the next chapter of your lives.”
Kerintin Burr (#9) was greeted mid-court by her mother Christina and father Brett, her sisters Lezlie and Michaella, along with her grandma and grandpa. She is in her sixth year playing volleyball, plans to attend SUNY Sullivan and SUNY Cortland and hopes to continue playing.
Alexa Minckler (#18) was accompanied by her parents Connie and Gerald. Now in her fifth season of volleyball, after graduation, Minckler intends to enroll in the nursing program at Keuka College.
Carly Simpson (#6), who is wrapping up her third year playing volleyball, was greeted by her folks Allison and Todd. She plans to attend the College of St. Rose to study criminal justice.
Carrie Sykes (#10) was met by her mother Amy and her mom’s boyfriend Kyle Kerber. This is her sixth year on the court. Post-graduation, Sykes plans to major in psychology at Marywood University, where she will carry on her favorite sport.
Prior to the evening’s game, Glorianne Ellison spent more than 24 years as an oncology nurse at Catskill Regional Medical Center. A few years ago, according to Ellison, she and her friend and Tara Passante were diagnosed with breast cancer, and the fight for their lives was supported by their wide circle of family, friends and the local community. In essence, this motivated them to kick-start the area’s chapter of Rise to Survive: a story she shared with the audience.
In the wake of this experience, the they created a local branch of Rise to Survive Cancer, led by a board of nine women, as means of empowerment, support and a way to raise funds for those in need.
Before the start of the match, Ellison told a powerful and compelling story about the creation of the organization to the players, coaching staff and the attendees.
Afterwards, she talked with this sports scribbler about her experiences and how the community has responded to their cause.
“The community just rallied around us to help ‘pay it forward,’” Ellison said. “What our schools and community have done is absolutely tremendous, every school district in Sullivan County was given to our cause… Volleyball, basketball, soccer, you name it.”
As part of their mission, the local Rise to Survive Cancer group tries to provide funds for folks who may not be able to pay for a second opinion, often a critical step combating the disease.
“We’ll find a way for them to go… get the emotional support. It’s a real community effort, and the kids are doing their part,” she added.
The hard-fought match blasted through five sets. In the final frames, the score was tied several times as the lead in set see-sawed back-and-forth: (CA 25, SW 19), (CA 21, SW 25), (CA 27, SW 29), (CA 25, SW 15), and (CA 25, SW 22). In the end, the match went to Chester 3-2.
Top stats for Sullivan West 1-8 (0-5): Kerintin Burr (16 kills, 1 ace), Carrie Sykes (1 kill, 5 aces), Carly Simpson (2 aces, 10 assists).
Chester 4-6 (4-4): Isabella Steinberg (15 kills, 2 aces), Julia Sorrentino (5 kills, 2 aces, 22 assists), Karly Palmer (3 kills, 7 aces), Aaliyah Jackson (7 kills, 8 aces).
“We committed so many unfounded errors, giving those points away just killed us… We tend to give away points and that absolutely hammered us all night long,” said Mike Doucette, coach of the Lady Hambletonians.
“Finally in that fifth set, we started to pull it together and keep the ball in play,” he said.
Sullivan West coach John Meyer, although disappointed with his team’s so-far-winless league posting, put a positive spin on the match and the season. “It went as well as expected, but we didn’t get the victory. The girls played really hard and did a great job. It was one of the best matches we’ve had all year,” he said. “We lost, but hopefully we learned a lot.”