Last night Jefferson Volleyball honored their 4 Sophomores, Xanara Ruiz, Mariah Corbett,, Vanessa Vallance, and Bryanna Gagnon.
#15 Outside Hitter Xanara Ruiz: Currently Xanara is majoring in Business Administration here at Jefferson and would like to transfer to Potsdam next Fall to continue her studies as well as playing volleyball. Last season Xanara accumulated 310 kills, 527 digs, and 310 service points. So far this season Xanara leads the team in kills at 219 and has racked up 257 digs. As the only returning starter from last year's regional championship team, Xanara has brought the same intensity and drive to get this young team turned in the right direction with one last weekend of regional play ahead. She simply loves the game of volleyball; it is evident as you watch her play. She single-handedly can fire up this team, the girls look to her when a side-out is needed, and she always delivers a smart play. An official at Broome said it best, "The world would be a better place if there were more people like #15". Her bubbly personality and big smile will surely be missed. Xanara's advice to next year's team is, "Play with all you can for as long as you can because before you know it, you're running your last sprint of the season and saying goodbye to your sisters one last time."
#5 Defensive Specialist Mariah Corbett: Mariah is majoring in Math and Science with an Allied Health Concentration here at JCC and would like to transfer to a four year school to continue her studies, and eventually medical school after that. Last season Mariah tallied 108 service points and 106 digs, and so far this year she has 59 digs. Mariah's contributions to the team as a leader and team player surpass her stats. At times, Mariah could be the ONLY person still talking and cheering, even through our frustrating matches. She has never given up on herself or her team, and constantly looks for ways the team can get stronger. In 7 years of coaching, I have never had a more selfless player on my team. She only wants what is best for the team, she is the person I will use as an example to incoming players if they need any "reminding" about what a team really is. Mariah's advice to next year's team is, "Play with all of your heart, dive for that one ball, hit the floor, run faster on that one sprint, because before you know it, it will all be over with."
#10 Defensive Specialist Vanessa Vallance: Vanessa carries a dual major in Chemical Dependency and Human Services here at Jefferson and plans on interning next fall as well as continuing her studies. Vanessa has only recently been cleared from a knee injury, and although she wasn't on the roster of last year's team, she was still there for every practice and every game. She has only been able to play in 11 sets so far this season but has totaled 15 digs and 17 service points. Vanessa's dedication over the past two seasons obviously comes from her love for the game. She was so excited to find out that she could actually play and step out onto the court last weekend, and her dream of playing, finally became a reality. Although watching was the only thing she could do for so long, I admire her willingness to accept her role on this team and encourage her teammates at all times. Vanessa's advice to next year's team is, "Touch every ball you can and never let it drop. Play everyday like it is your last, because before you know it, it will be, and all you will have are the memories. Make them good ones."
#2 Outside Hitter Bryanna Gagnon: Bry is majoring in Humanities and Social Sciences. She plans on transferring next fall to continue her education as well as play soccer. Although Bry started 2 1/2 weeks into our season and only 3 days before our first tournament, she has quickly found her niche here on this team. She has tallied 110 kills, 223 digs, and 93 service points. Unfortunately Bry will only be with us one season, but I consider myself and this team lucky to have had the opportunity to work with her and learn from her. She is the definition of a true athlete, her desire to win is unmatched, and she will not be out-worked. Bry has been part of the rebuilding process this season and has been a huge part of getting this team on the right track after a rocky start. It's been a short two months with Bry, but she will always be a part of the volleyball family. Bry's advice to next year's team is, "Work hard everyday, because before you know it, it will all be over. Also, because you will run the cycle if you don't! I'm not sure what it is, but from the sounds of it, I don't want to find out!" (FYI: We WILL teach her the cycle before the season is over with!)