College of Staten Island women’s volleyball has had a season of ups and downs and many changes. A playoff spot was unheard of for the 2010 Dolphins but when it came to crunch time the Dolphins showed they wanted to be there. After defeating York College last week to finish the season 4-16 and 2-7 in CUNY and advance to the Applebee’s/ CUNYAC Tournament, the 8th seeded Dolphins will face top-seeded Hunter College in a 6:00 pm game on Tuesday, November 2.
Beginning with a coaching change that came two weeks before the season, former player and assistant coach Melissa Quiles took over as head coach of the Dolphins. Despite the overall record, her motivation and enthusiasm helped turn regular athletes into volleyball players to form a team of confident and committed women.
Finishing 2009 with a 12-16 record, CSI was hoping for a better 2010 season. However, with just three returning players from last year’s team, team captains Joanna Tepedino and Danielle Ponsilgione along with sophomore Samantha Fink, the Dolphins in fact had to rebuild. The new team consisted of six first year volleyball players who also played on other CSI teams, all with athletic build and knowledge. It wasn’t the heart they lacked, it was the experience.
Tepedino finishes her senior year leading the team with a 1.89 kills per game percentage and a total of 13 blocks. Ponsiglione, who moved to the setter position this season, has had a great all around performance for CSI with 2.79 assists per game and leading the team in digs, 2.10 per game, and service aces, 24 total. Softball All-Star Kaitlyn Flynn made a great first impression on the court with 1.41 kills per game and 11 blocks. Greece native Vasiliki Stergioula helped the Dolphins with 22 service aces and 2.14 digs per game.
A 4-16 overall record included two CUNYAC wins. CSI took a 3-2 win over City Tech during the season, the Dolphins knew it would come down to who wanted most when they played York in the last regular season game, both teams knowing whomever won got to go on to the playoffs. CSI took a quick 25-14 win in the first set, followed by an extended 32-30 win before York would take game three, 26-24. The final set belonged to CSI winning 25-21.
The Dolphins enter the tournament as the 8th seed facing the top-seeded Hunter College Hawks. CSI was defeated by Hunter in three straight sets during the regular season. “We know Hunter is a great team,” says head coach Quiles, ”It will be a tough contest but our team has gotten better with each game and has worked too hard to not put up a strong fight against them.”
“No matter how the rest of the season goes, I am happy with the way this team has come together and how they have never given up despite the obstacles they’ve faced.”