The College of Staten Island women’s volleyball team are currently on a four-game slide to end the 2015 regular season, but that hasn’t stopped the unit from thinking positively come postseason, and the team will open up CUNYAC Postseason Championship Tournament play tomorrow evening with upsets in mind. The No. 6 seed in the eight-team tournament, CSI will travel to No. 3 Lehman College for a 6pm showdown with the Lightning in the Bronx.
The Dolphins are familiar with the Lehman facility and tournament play. The Lightning scored semifinal wins over the Dolphins in 2011 and in 2014. Last year’s result was Head Coach Juan Lopez’ first postseason game, and together with the regular season meeting with the Lightning, it’s a match Lopez and his staff would like to have back.
“I like that we have a lot of experience against them and we played them very close this year,” Lopez said. “If we made a couple less mistakes the match could have went a different way. We are very excited to play them again and show what we can do.”
The Dolphins have had their struggles this year and their streaky play has led to 11 losses in their last 14 matches. Still, Lopez feels his unit has been progressing, and with senior leaders like Selma Kolenovic and Brittany Minondo leading the way, the team has a lot of promise it can show come tournament play.
“I know sometimes the scores may not have shown it but I think we are definitely progressing,” the coach stated. “We have quite a few first year players and it’s taken some time to develop the chemistry. Every game that we play we are becoming more of a unit and with that comes better play with each game. We are certainly moving in the right direction.”
The emergence of freshmen Rosamarie Gonzalez, Ashley Notaro and Sandy Mila have been a reason for Lopez’ excitement, and together with the exciting back line play of libero Victoria Wong and the powerful swing of Siobhan Granich, Lopez hopes that his team can muster up a very strong postseason rally.
“It’s great having options with depth and being able to move people around. It’s something we haven’t had here in a while,” Lopez stated. “That said we are still a young team and we will continue to build the level of play and excitement for CSI volleyball.”
In the CUNYAC’s other quarterfinal tilts on Tuesday, top-seeded Baruch College will host No. 8 CCNY, while No. 2 Hunter College will square off with No. 7 York College. In the final quarterfinal, No. 4 John Jay College will entertain No. 5 Brooklyn. The higher-seeded teams will host quarterfinal games. The CUNYAC Semifinals and Championship will take place at Hunter College on Friday, November 6.
“To do well in the tournament, the most important thing for us will be our communication,” the coach stated. “We need everyone talking and working together. Our ability to stay focused after a mistake, staying composed, will be important. Mistakes are inevitable, they will happen. The good teams are able to shake them off and keep moving forward. We need to do that for us to be successful.”
Should CSI advance on Tuesday they would meet the winner of Hunter-York on Friday at 6pm. Tickets to the semifinal and final legs of the tournament are FREE but spectators will need tickets for access. Tickets can be obtained here.