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RCC Women's Volleyball Team Gears Up for Championships

RCC Women's Volleyball Team Gears Up for Championships

2018 Women's Volleyball Team

Hawks mount defense of conference title, seek deep advancement in Regionals

DATE: October 17, 2018

RAMAPO, N.Y. – Rockland Community College's women's volleyball team has moved into high gear as the regular season winds down and championship playoffs approach. The Hawks won the 2017 Mid-Hudson Conference championship, their first in 13 years, and advanced to the Regional semifinals last season. Duplicating that advancement to the final four in this year's Region XV tournament would ensure a semifinal home playoff match on October 25.

Under ninth-year coach Erik Ellingsen, RCC has bolted to a 14-3 overall record and 13-3 mark in Region XV play, tied for second in the Regional ranking, as well as a 6-2 record in the Mid-Hudson Conference as of October 12. Two of the Hawks' losses were to conference rival SUNY Orange, the host of the Region XV tournament finals on October 27 and the likely host for the conference tournament on October 23. RCC's other loss was to perennial Regional power Queensborough.

Despite losing four recruits for various reasons the week before the semester started, the team has thrived and Ellingsen said he is “extremely happy” with its efforts thus far. The unquestioned leader of the unit is second-year middle blocker Emily Schmidt, out of North Rockland High School. Schmidt ranks No. 1 nationally in the NJCAA Division III in blocks and blocks per set. She posted an amazing 16 blocks in a five-set victory over Fashion Institute of Technology, which Ellingsen believes is a school record and could be a Region XV record. The 6-foot-1 Schmidt, who played right side hitter last year, was RCC's Athlete of the Week the week of September 3.

Other Athlete of the Week recipients for the Hawks include first-year player Elizabeth Miñano of Tuxedo, N.Y., who excels at setter and earned the honor the week of September 24; and Anjali Sebastian, who has rebounded from season-ending ACL knee surgery a year ago to star as Schmidt's opposite complement at net. She won Athlete of the Week accolades September 10.

Returning players Zoe Grampus, a defensive specialist and right side player from Ramapo HS, and Deven Lawson, an outside hitter from Nanuet HS, have elevated their game this year, while volleyball newcomers Briana Washington, a libero out of North Rockland HS, and Danielle McManus, a right side player and strong server from Clarkstown South, have parlayed their multi-sport (soccer, basketball) background into key starting roles. Other integral contributors include serving specialist Leah Kusumalayam, a first-year player from Suffern, and Ika Jolicouer, a second-year player from Haiti.

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CONTACT: Strategic Marketing