Friday, September 19, 2014

Munoz Earns Recognition, Huskers Fall In Thriller

As a coach, there are countless buttons you must press to extract a certain response.

 There are buttons to press to instill confidence.

Buttons to press to hike up motivation.

Buttons to press to snap one out of an individual free-fall or funk.


Working in Katy Sherwood's favor is the fact that these buttons are virtually nonexistent with junior hitter Catalina Munoz.

Consistent and cerebral, Munoz possesses the innate coach-ability and multi-layered versatility to assimilate to any role asked of her. Buttons and motivational tactics are ultimately unnecessary.

Oozing with the intensity that Yorktown's core is defined by, driven by a sheer passion for volleyball that mirrors Yorktown's fervent fan following, Munoz has emerged into a steady source of upfront strength for the Huskers.

She bagged tournament MVP honors during Yorktown's own tournament Saturday. After erupting for 17 kills in the team's initial win over John Jay last week, Munoz earned LOHUD Player of the Week.

There is no championship hangover. Returning veterans Sarah Seger (seven kills), Taryn Horgan (six kills) Kelly Donnellan (five service aces, 14 assists, five digs) keyed a 25-11, 25-8, 25-11 victory over Fox Lane.

Yesterday, the Huskers came roaring back from several deficits before falling in a topsy-turvy marathon match.

 Defeated on a controversial call against a familiar and formidable foe, the Huskers absorbed the first loss of the season.

The Huskers were backboned by a star-spangled senior class featuring All-Section selections Kristin Sweeney, Daniele Delulio, Michelle Ruffino, and Angelea McPartlin in 2013.

Dispelling the notion that they lost considerable luster from 2014 graduation, the Huskers have come out the gate with balance and sustained relentlessness.

"Catalina is just an all-around great player," said Sherwood.

"She's consistent. I can rely on her. When I know she's serving, I trust her decisions. She's a smart player."

DOWN TO THE WIRE: In a game rife with lead changes and a playoff environment, John Jay gutted out a wild 16-25, 25-23, 24-26, 30-28 win on the aforementioned controversial end call on Thursday.

The Huskers clawed back from a seven-point deficit, but ultimately lost to a finely-tuned John Jay team hell-bent on avenging last week's loss.

"I think we needed this," Sherwood said. "Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. So we're going to take this and hopefully learn from it and keep moving."

The final call was an accurate depiction of a give or take call. Some believe the ball skimmed the pole, though the video could open up multiple interpretations.

Both crowds have a propensity for bringing the ruckus, as last year's Sectional final would indicate.

You could feel both teams' pulse as well as the suspense flowing from the crowd throughout.

The Indians used last week's loss as major device for refining crucial aspects of After buckling under Yorktown's blocking game, Jay made sure their hands were in the right place and their eye work was on point.

A thorough read of the video helped rectify mistakes.

"This team, they didn't want to lose to Yorktown again," said Indians coach Tim Rizzoti.

"We really used the video in practice. They were going to make the changes they needed to make. They were going to focus on the things they needed to focus on, because they just didn't want (a loss) to happen again."

Rizzoti called last week's loss a "reality check" and cited tentative lapses as primary deficiencies.

On Thursday, the Indians answered a hostile crowd that took no mercy on Rizzoti throughout.

" When we were aggressive, good things happened," he said.

"It has been tremendous fun playing this team the past few years. The crowds on both teams are really positive, really energetic. This wasn't quite sectional finals last year, that was incredible. But you could feel the energy in the gym today."

Taylor McCarthy was the engine that propelled the Indians. McCarthy gave an efficient account of herself, racking up 10 kills, 17 assists and 20 digs. Amanda Flayhan had 10 kills, 36 assists, and a game-best 27 digs. Julia Mines added 20 kills.

Donellan paced Yorktown with 38 assists. Horgan had four blocks and Munoz chimed in a pair of aces.