By Carrie Thomas
(Monroe, NY) The FIT Tigers got their season underway by traveling to Monroe College to scrimmage two very tough upper division teams from Laredo, TX CC and Bloomfield College (NJ).
Having been the first time on the court together, as a team in a game situation, the Lady Tigers played tough. “I’m really glad we started the season with the schedule that we did. We ran into some challenging competition that will only prepare us for the season ahead of us. WE have a lot of freshmen this year mixed with some seasoned vets. The chemistry of our team is amazing so I expect big things out of our team as the season progresses,” Coach Carrie Thomas commented.
Returning Region 15 Player of the Year, middle blocker Megan Houff and All Region player, outside hitter Rachel Carey led the team offensively. “Both Megan and Rachel bring so much leadership to this team. Megan has the ability to completely control play at the net and has the attitude of a champion. Rachel is one of the smartest players I have coached. She has such intuitive court sense and can almost always find the open spot,” Thomas stated.
Freshman setter, Anna Buckley, quarterbacked the team with her great hands, quickness and court smarts. “Anna is a huge threat on the court. She can do it all—set, attack and place serve. She’s speedy on the court and can turn a good play into a great play. She will definitely play a huge part in our exciting, fast paced offense. .
Returning player Vivian Htam and freshman Miranda Mitchell add to the excitement on the court. “Vivian has improved so much from last season. She worked hard in the offseason and it really shows. Viv is jumping higher and hitting the ball a lot harder. Miranda is the whole package. She can pass and hit and brings an attitude to the court that can really hold a team together. She works hard every single play and always has a smile.”
The Lady Tigers used two players this weekend in the libero position. Michelle Vainblat returns to the Tigers this year after a season ending injury last season. She split the libero duties with freshman Alison Tyler. Both girls controlled the defense in the back row. “Michelle and Alison are going to be big for us. Along with their defense is their ability to attack and serve the ball,” said Coach Thomas.
Daija Simpson has become one of our soild utility players. “She came in as a libero but as we practiced I saw so much more potential in her as a hitter as well. She is very versatile on the court and that is definitely something every team needs,” said Thomas. Sidni Beaulieu-Hains and Nathalie Albersmeyer have so far been sharing the middle hitter position. “Both girls bring a different skill to the net. Sidni is more of a defensive player with her block but has the ability to quicken the offense. Nathalie has kind of fallen into the middle hitter position and has adjusted well. She is used to the outside and now is using her power in the middle.”
The Tigers are looking to improve on their second place Region 15 finish last season. “We were heartbroken after losing in the finals . We have stressed to the freshmen how important it is to get back to that title match and win it all. This is a great group of girls and we already have great team chemistry. I think it will all come together once we start our regular season matches,” commented Megan Houff. Rachel Carey also commented, “I am expecting our team to finish this season nothing short of a championship. We practice hard every day and have great attitudes. When it clicks—it solidly clicks. We just need this to happen consistently.” Both athletes raved about how excited they are for the season and the stellar things the Tigers are going to do on the court. “This is our year!!”