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Lakeland's Super Six Seniors Lead Volleyball Team

SHRUB OAK, N.Y. -- The Lakeland varsity volleyball team took a collective giant step forward in the 2010 season. Now the Hornets are hoping for huge leap forward in 2011.

Lakeland, after a difficult 2009 season, won 12 matches and qualified for sectionals before losing a tightly-contested match with Ursuline. Though the season ended prematurely, Sihana Brucaj and her teammates, who returned this season, had a positive outlook.

“It was a close match and very competitive,” said Brucaj, a three-year starter and co-captain along with Tricia Fallo. “We played one of our best matches and gave it our all, but they came out on top.”

Once the 2010 season concluded, Brucaj and many of her teammates continued playing with the Downstate Volleyball Club. Erin Geoghegan and Fallo also played for Downstate as did Dinalisse Feliciano, a junior, and sophomores Jessie Vangor and Amanda Noble. Feliciano, Vangor and Noble are all on varsity, as is sophomore Colleen Geoghegan.

Lakeland returns an experienced team led by Alice Shaw, Erin Johnson, Taylor Scialdone, Erin Geoghegan, Fallo and Brucaj. The seniors kept everyone involved during the summer in preparation for the 2011 season. As a result, the team was ready to go on the first day of practice.

“During the summer we would get together and all go running,” said Brucaj, during a break in practice. “On the first day of practice, when we were here at 8:45 a.m., we just wanted to get the running over with because we wanted to start playing and see how we all played together.”

Having a veteran team sometimes can make it difficult for younger players to adjust and fit in. The seniors have made it a smooth transition for their new teammates.

“All of the seniors have stepped up as leaders and we are all helping the younger players,” Brucaj said. “The younger players are listening and they have earned their spots by showing coach (Fallo) what they can do.”

Lakeland wants to start the season and continue building on last year’s success.

“We are so excited that we can’t wait for the season to start,” Brucaj said. “Even the seniors from last year have told us they can’t wait to come and see us play.”

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