Volleyball: Ossining bows out in Class AA regional semifinal

Volleyball: Ossining bows out in Class AA regional semifinal

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Volleyball: Ossining bows out in Class AA regional semifinal

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STONE RIDGE – The players on the current Ossining volleyball roster were small children when the school won its first Section 1 title in 2004. It would be more than a decade before the program would get its next taste of the New York state tournament.

After a crushing loss to Minisink Valley in the state regional semifinals Tuesday, Ossining is hoping that the wait won’t be as long for the next bite.

The Pride (20-2), who saw their remarkable season come to an end at SUNY Ulster, will graduate just one starting senior from this year’s team. Ossining ran through the section before being halted by Minisink Valley, the Section 9 champion, meaning the Pride could very well return to the state tournament as early as next year.

That’s certainly the plan Ossining has in mind.

“I do think that now that we have this experience under our belt — almost all of my team coming back next year — it’s not going to be something new, it’s not going to be something foreign,” Ossining head coach Lauren Riccardi said, following the 25-17, 25-20, 18-25, 28-26 loss. “They learned a lot from today, and that’s what we’re going to take out of today.

“Today was a learning day.”

Ossining struggled out of the gate, appearing lethargic and without its trademark high-octane energy in the first two sets of the match. Minisink Valley scored 15 points in the first set without touching a ball thanks to Ossining service errors, net calls, and setting errors.

Riccardi said the locker room was silent after the match, which ended on an Ossining block that sailed out of bounds. Pride players said pushing the Warriors (17-1) to the brink in the final set cushioned the blow of the loss.

“Losing at this stage, I think that, I don’t know,” said Molly Haag, the team’s lone starting senior, in between heavy breaths. “Maybe it hurts less, because we know we were right there.”

Ossining outside hitter Mychael Vernon ended her sensational freshman year with a match-high 39 kills. Cassidy Smith paced the Warriors with 13 kills.

Ossining junior Lauren Ojito was overheard before the start of the fourth set trying to rally the team, telling her teammates, “This is our year!” With the season now concluded, Ojito has high hopes for next year.

“I think we’re capable of so much more next year,” she said. “I just think we’ll try our best and we’ll try 10 times harder than we did this year.”

Twitter: @Zacchio_LoHud

Ossining junior Lauren Ojito (right) digs a ball in the final set of a Class AA state regional volleyball semifinal at SUNY Ulster.

Ossining junior Lauren Ojito (right) digs a ball in the final set of a Class AA state regional volleyball semifinal at SUNY Ulster.

Ossining junior Lauren Ojito (right) digs a ball in the final set of a Class AA state regional volleyball semifinal at SUNY Ulster.

Ossining junior Lauren Ojito (right) digs a ball in the final set of a Class AA state regional volleyball semifinal at SUNY Ulster.

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