With only six returning players from last year’s varsity roster, including only one who played significant time, few expected Pelham to be as successful as it has been this season, and that includes Pelicans coach Mark Finegan.
“We were very inexperienced,” Finegan said after his team topped Eastchester at home Friday, 25-11, 25-10, 18-25, 25-6. “This group worked really hard in the offseason. For us to be at 12-1, I’m proud of the effort they’ve put in to get us to that record.”
Senior middle blocker Jasmin Frisk was the only returning Pelican with a moderate level of varsity experience entering this season. Frisk and setter Chrissy McCarthy are two of the team’s four seniors this year and have done an excellent job of leading the team, according to Finegan.
Frisk finished with 11 kills on Friday, while McCarthy recorded 41 assists, four aces and eight digs.
Finegan, who coached Pelham to back-to-back Class B state regional championships in 2011 and 2012, said that the team has gotten a power boost from junior hitters Kailee Chimento and Larissa Del Ponte.
Chimento tallied a match-high 19 kills to go with 14 digs and is having a breakout season for the Pelicans, who will return 11 juniors next year. Del Ponte added seven kills, five aces and 12 digs. Finegan said Pelham would “really like to get the opportunity” to play for another section title.
“We’ve been improving every day, but we’re a work in progress,” he said. “We’re streaky. If we get our passing straightened out, we can be a threat. There are moments we pass well, then moments where we can’t pass at all.
“That will be the tell-tale sign as to how much damage we’ll do in the postseason.”
Best of the rest: Ardsley’s Nicolina Chenard and Hayley Kmetz each had 16 kills in a 25-21, 25-20, 25-12 win at Scarsdale. … Ossining’s Mychael Vernon had nine kills in a 25-16, 25-22, 25-18 win against visiting New Rochelle. … Hastings’ Austen Brauer had eight kills, 18 assists and 10 aces in a 25-21, 25-19, 25-19 win over visiting Hamilton.