Volleyball Coach Impressed With Team’s Resilience

The Women’s Volleyball team poses with Chester the Viking.
(Photo: Amanda M. Gordon)

It was a tough, but rewarding season for the Division III Women’s Volleyball Team, who ended it with a 7-13 win-loss record, placing them in the top 14 in the Mid-Hudson Conference, making it to the semifinals and tying for third place in the conference championship.  Along with these successes, three players made region and/or conference-wide teams as well as earning various awards.

For those not familiar with how the local teams are structured, there are both two sets of awards and two championships, one for Region XV and one for the Mid-Hudson Conference.  Region XV has the top eight teams play in a single-elimination tournament at the end of the season, while the Mid-Hudson Conference takes the top 14.

Team Captain, sophomore Rachel Mendes was named to the Region XV All-Sportsmanship Team. Freshman Madison Young was named to the 2017 All-Conference Team and voted Honorable Mention All-Region and sophomore Alysha Owens was also named to the All-Conference Team.

Young’s achievements were particularly impressive considering that she had to sit out 9 matches at the end of the season due to multiple concussions.  She was one of three injured players this season. This included Christina Byrne, who hurt her hamstring. And Taylor Vlad, who also suffered a head injury.  Despite this, Young gained the awards by leading the team in kills, with an average of more than three kills and four points per set.

The team’s new coach, Taneisha Cantave, also had a lot to say about team leader Rachel Mendes. “She would be hands-down my most valuable player, she’s able to command the court, she’s able to attack the ball. She’s able to play offense and defense and her love for the game is incredible,” Cantave said.

Cantave describes coaching at a community college as a “rewarding challenge,” which she manages with the help of her assistant coaches, Coach Emon, Coach Fitz,  Coach Steve, and the team captains.  She talked about the busy schedule the team keeps in the pre-season and beyond with community service events, scrimmages, sleep-away tournaments and even pool exercise every Wednesday.

Coach Cantave also named Wiktoria Swiechowska, a sophomore transfer student from Dutchess Community College as her most-improved player. calling her a utility player who was able to competently perform in every position.

“As the season progressed, her hits got stronger, her passes got more controlled, her serves more aggressive,” Cantave said.

Cantave also decided that most memorable game of the season was the second match with Ulster Community College Senators, describing the team at that point in the season as a “well-oiled machine.” Ulster was number one in the Conference at that point and the team definitely gave them a run a for their money, even if WCC didn’t win.

Coach Cantave described the game as the “most competitive we’ve been in a while.”

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