Even though they are not in our coverage area, the Patriots of John Jay-East Fishkill are still in Section 1 and are like our volleyball stepsisters. With that said, my Poughkeepsie Journal colleague Phil Strum was all over the news that coach Kalah Lipinski was not only leaving the Patriots program, but that her replacement has been named. Here’s his feature from July 8:
Fresh off a sectional championship and a trip to the state semifinals, John Jay High School has a new volleyball coach.
Maria Mahoney, who was a John Jay assistant for the past several seasons, was approved at the Wappingers Central School District’s Board of Education meeting Monday to replace Kalah Lipinski, who coached John Jay for the last three seasons.
Mahoney is a former head coach at Mahopac and Carmel, having last coached at Carmel in 2002. She is a history teacher at John Jay. Lipinski got married during volleyball season last fall and had her first baby in April. She stepped down to focus on family, but will remain an assistant coach.
“I’m excited to see what walks into the gym,” Mahoney said. “I definitely think we will still be a strong contender.”
Mahoney was a two-sport athlete at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, graduating in 1984. A Stormville resident, Mahoney has taught history at John Jay since 2003 and has coached volleyball, on and off, at the school in that time.
“Maria brings a passion that most people don’t have,” Lipinski said. “Maria’s such an amazing coach and we really worked excellent with each other. She brings such a positive energy to the program. She really takes the time to get to know the girls’ individual strengths and weaknesses. If someone is struggling with a technique, Maria will go on the computer and research it to learn how to teach it better.
“Her energy is endless and her dedication to the girls is unbelievable.”
John Jay graduated star hitter Megan Theiller, who will play for Division I Fairfield. The Patriots went 21-1, won the Section 1 Class AA title and went 3-3 in state semifinal pool play last season. The team lost six players, including four starters, but Mahoney said they have about six strong returners.
“We’ll have a much different look because it’s going to be more of a team effort,” Mahoney said. “We’ll need to bring our ‘A’ game if we want to make it through the sectional tournament this year. I think the girls who are left know they have a big set of shoes to fill with Megan’s graduation. We’ll see.”
Key returners include outside hitter Maddy Barberan, middles Sam Fitzgerald and Taylor Luzzi and Skylar Kellam, who was a freshman libero last season.
Mahoney said she and Lipinski would revisit their roles at the end of the season to see if Lipinski wants to return as head coach.
“To me, with her ability of playing and coaching, this was pretty much a no-brainer,” Wappingers Athletic Coordinator Kurt Jesman said of Mahoney’s hire.
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