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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Lady Indians Ready To Pick Up Where They Left Off Last Season

With a regular season record of 5-12 last year, the Lady Indians are looking to make this season the year that the program breaks through and posts their first winning record in almost 9 years. To do that, the team will have to overcome the loss of two 3-year starters in Olivia Levulis and Lynn Cleversley.

“Olivia was a considerable presence in the front row for us, especially in terms of setting up our block the last 3 years. There were games that she would take over at the net and force our opponents out of their comfort zone.” Coach Matt Todaro had to say when asked about the loss. While the Senior Captain was an important player on the court, Coach Todaro said that was only part of the legacy she left behind. “Liv is truly a great person. Whenever she walked into the gym I could count on her to mentor the younger players and build their confidence. I’d give anything to have her back in the gym with us for another season.” Levulis is continuing her career at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

With 5 starters departing the team, the Lady Indians have some big shoes to fill. After a slow start to the season last year West was able to string together 3 wins in their last 4 matches and the program’s first win over rival Orchard Park en route to a 2nd place finish at the Southtowns Showdown Tournament, hosted by the Hamburg Bulldogs.

The team then went into a Sectionals 1st round re-match from 2013 with Will South. After losing the first two sets 25-6, 25-9 the team battled back to take sets 3 and 4. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to finish the come back attempt but the effort left Todaro happy with his squad. “That was the first loss that I’ve ever walked out of the gym thinking to myself that we couldn’t possibly have done anymore. Sure, we caught some tough breaks early on and couldn’t get any momentum in the first couple of sets, but we didn’t give up. We got slammed up against the ropes and responded by fighting back. I was proud of them for the way they finished – for the Seniors, the way they finished their careers.”

That fighting spirit is what Todaro is expecting from the team this season. Despite the loss of 8 players from last year’s squad due to graduation and injury, Todaro didn’t feel that was reason for concern. “There is no doubt in my mind that we will pick up right where we left off last season.”

The team has been hard at work in the offseason in an effort to make a run in the Class A Sectionals Tournament. Participating in a Summer Training Program with Treo Sports & Fitness in West Seneca, two Summer leagues and club volleyball over the Winter months the team returns with players who “are 10x the player they were last year”.

Rebekah Patrick, who played for Buffalo Volleyball Academy during the club season, returns for her Senior campaign after earning ECIC 2nd Team honors last season. The team will be counting on her to lead the team offensively. “Having Bekah on our side of the net is almost unfair to the other team. She hits a heavy ball and will certainly be a difference maker when we need it” said Todaro.

Senior Jen Coleman joined the team this year as a transfer after the closing of Immaculata Academy. Coach Todaro believes Coleman will have an immediate impact on the court. “Jen is one of those players who plays very smart volleyball. She can hit a heavy ball and plays with a fire behind her. She is going to do some good things for us.”

Patrick and Coleman are joined by fellow Seniors Katie Todaro, Sarah Fritschi, Abby Hoestermann and Samantha Hildebrand; with Julia Lucas returning as a Junior for her first campaign as a starter. The roster is rounded out with Juniors Tiffany Major and Sabrina Passucci, Sophomore Julia Koelemeyer and Freshman Miranda Held.

After the first week of practice, we asked Todaro how he felt about the season so far. He responded with 4 words: “I love this team.”

The Lady Indians kick off their season with a home match up against Williamsville North on Tuesday, September 6th at 6pm.

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