Gryphons Prepared to Soar this Fall

Holy Child boasts several autumn teams that could contend for Fairchester Athletic Association supremacy, including a field hockey squad on the way back up.

Field Hockey

After a three-year streak of NYSAIS championship appearances that included title grabs in 2006 and 2008, it was shocking to see Holy Child ousted from the first round of the annual tournament last November. Nevertheless, the Gryphons’ 9-7-3 finish can’t be considered anything but a success because of the squad’s inexperience.

Bridget Cooney

“Our team last year was very young,” said head coach Barbara Lorys. “Now that these girls have had a year of varsity experience, we are counting on them to be more productive, competitive, and successful.”

Julie Duignan and Bridget Cooney are the team’s senior captains, and each will play a vital role. Duignan is key in Holy Child’s center midfield position, and her positive attitude and patience are attributes Lorys counts on. Cooney, the goalkeeper, is a four-year varsity player, as well the defensive leader. Seniors Mary Millard and Leslie Infanger will assist on offense and defense respectively.

Holy Child should benefit from a strong junior class that includes Catherine Ann Gray, Helen Brosnan, Molly Fitzwilliam, and Jillian Murphy.

“It’s our goal to get back to the NYSAIS finals, of course,” said Lorys. “It will take the confidence and perseverance of our returning players to motivate the newcomers. We will need to work on finishing in the circle as well as being able to defend our opposition successfully.”

The Gryphons’ first game is at home September 14 against Brearley.

Volleyball

Patricia Vernon, a recent graduate of Temple University, is the new volleyball head coach at Holy Child. The former Owl was team captain at Temple, where she received a full athletic scholarship after a prolific career at Ossining High School.

Mary Ferrara

With an obvious eye for the sport, it didn’t take Vernon long to notice the talent of her three new captains: Gianna LaSalla, Stephanie Taylor, and Mary Ferrara.

“Gianna is our setter, so she automatically has a leadership role,” said Vernon. “Being a setter as well as a captain  gives her a lot of power. She is very outspoken and is continuously pushing the girls in practice. Stephanie’s attitude is refreshing! She always has a smile on her face and shows her leadership by keeping the girls positive. Mary is our third captain and the quiet one, but is always giving 100 percent at practice and it creates a chain reaction.”

Vernon and her captains hope to improve on a 7-13 campaign in 2009 that saw the Gryphons finish fourth in the FAA. They’ll be boosted by freshman Chellzea Edgar, the team’s youngest player. According to Vernorn, Edgar is a raw talent whose potential is limitless. With a combination of outstanding athletic ability and a willingness to learn, she’ll be someone to watch out for.

Holy Child spikes into action September 14 at Fieldston School.

Cross-Country

According to head coach Declan Foley, the success that Holy Child’s track teams have enjoyed the past four years is the product of a plan. The Gryphons enter each season, whether it be cross-country, winter, or spring track, with specific goals and strategies to achieve them.

“The girls understand that success does not come overnight, rather it is a culmination of a steady, proper progression in training,” said Foley. “While it is nice to have the standout star, it is much more important to have a core group of athletes who believe in what we are setting out to do; they feed off of each other, and the newcomers will feed off of them.”

Last year Holy Child placed third in the FAA championships as a team, and accumulated several individual accolades as well. Although the Gryphons graduated two of their top five runners, they’re intent on placing in the FAA’s top two this season.

Foley says he has no doubt that Rebecca Mulqueen and Kendra McNulty, the captains, will be great leaders. They know how the program works, and will be assisted by a host of talented athletes like returning runner Ellen Lautenbach. In addition, seniors Brianna McLoughlin and Ashley Ravesloot, as well as junior Georgia Crane, are all taking their track talents to cross-country for the first time.

“There are probably more than a few factors that have led to our success, but the bottom line is we have great young ladies coming out to participate,” said Foley. “They believe in the approach we are taking, work hard, and see improvements. Put a bunch of those individuals together and you’ve got a successful team.”

Holy Child’s first meet is September 22 at Brunswick.

Soccer

Ernest Harmon, the new soccer head coach at Holy Child, knows it will take time to groom his new players and develop the program according to his vision. What’s key in year one, however, is making his new players comfortable by putting them in position to prosper.

Charlotte Knobloch

“We have some good players here who work hard,” said the former White Plains JV coach. “I’m one who believes in effort, because when a girl has the ability but doesn’t put in the effort, it’s all for naught.”

Seniors Mary Kate McErlean, Charlotte Knobloch, and Elizabeth Schanne are the captains of a team that finished 6-9-2 last season, and Harmon knows he’ll have to rely on their leadership to smooth the transition.

Holy Child’s season gets underway at home September 13 against NYC’s Convent of the Sacred Heart.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: