Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Monticello High School graduate Shamira Moore digs out a ball Thursday in SUNY Sullivan’s first volleyball game in 11 years.
Story by Eli Ruiz
LOCH SHELDRAKE September 24, 2013 The Lady Generals volleyball team lost a best of five match Thursday evening to Ulster County Community College in straight sets 25-11, 25-13, 25-13.
Scores and stats aside, though, most importantly is the fact that a volleyball match was played at SUNY Sullivan in the first place. It’s been 11 years since that happened and not even a losing result could detract from the opening game electricity.
“I am excited beyond words,” said new coach Corinne McGuire. “Even though we lost (and I hate losing more than I like winning), there was a buzz in the air. All of the other teams, men's and women's basketball, the baseball, wrestling, and cross country athletes came out to support us as well as many administrators from the college and the community.
“That was my sign of acknowledgement, that we (SUNY Sullivan) are doing the right things. It seemed as though our team was beaming with pride as we entered the gym with new uniforms, new balls, new volleyball net system...all made possible by the administration to add more athletic programs such as ours.”
Last year, SUNY Sullivan athletic director Chris DePew announced his ambitious, college-board backed, multi-year master plan to bring six new, or long-defunct, sports programs to the school. Phase one of DePew's plan is being realized this fall with a brand new wrestling squad, and after an 11-year absence, a resurrected volleyball team.
McGuire praised her players, several who have Sullivan County roots, for simply taking the floor for Thursday’s game.
“We had a lot on our plate getting prepared for our first game in over a decade,” said McGuire. “We were still securing our equipment and uniforms over the last few weeks, along with getting our roster settled.
“So for the effort that was behind the scenes, I felt our performance was acceptable. We have a lot to work on, but the bones and structure is there.”
McGuire’s roster includes a crop of local recruits including Rachel Barry, Sylvia Silva and Ashley Negron of Liberty; Karalii Rabii of Sullivan West; Erika Poston of Eldred and Shamira Moore of Monticello.
"It's just great to be a part of this,” said Moore. “I know its been a long time since the college has even had a team, so even though we lost I'm just happy to be a part of this. The crowd was great tonight and I just love to be spiking and hitting.”
With their first match under their belts, McGuire and team were back at practice Friday “breaking” in some of the new equipment and working toward improvement.
“The first day of practice after the game we spent most of our time, diving for balls,” said McGuire. “We have heart, we are resilient, and we will work hard towards perfection.
“If we work hard and improve 1/100th more than our opponent today, tomorrow, and everyday, it will take us approx. 22 days to be 25 percent better than them. I read this to my team the first day of practice and continue to remind them of this rule regularly.”
As for their new coach, the players, couldn’t be more excited.
"She's just great. She's not just a great coach, but also a great person,” said Moore. “I look forward to playing and working with her a lot more."
Barry agrees. “She's awesome! I got to play for her my senior year at Liberty and I'm really happy to be playing for her again at the next level. We're just getting started here."