NEW ROCHELLE Two days after Ursuline dropped a four-game match to Westlake in which head coach Gigi Kemp said the team was “out to lunch,” the Koalas feasted on league rivals Scarsdale on Monday, handing the Raiders their first loss of the season in a sweep.
“All day (Sunday) and (Monday), all they wanted to do was just win,” Kemp said after the 25-14, 25-16, 25-22 victory. “They were focused. … They were pumped.”
Ursuline (8-2) practiced the “Let’s Roll!” mantra it preaches and dons on their warm-up shirts, taking full advantage of Scarsdale’s poor passing and communication throughout the match. The Raiders (7-1) were one of three undefeated teams remaining in Section 1 entering Monday, joining Nyack and Hen Hud.
Ursuline junior outside hitter Charlotte Stivala is at around “95 percent” after missing most of the year with an ankle injury, according to Kemp. Stivala, who finished with seven kills, was one of four Koalas to reach the mark.
“She has good power and she can place the ball,” Kemp said. “It’s just an element that we’re welcoming back.”
Scarsdale head coach Ann Marie Nee spun the sweep into a positive.
“The pressure is off now,” she said. “Every keeps asking us, ‘Are you still undefeated?’ At least this gives us something to learn from and also takes a little bit of the pressure.”
She then quickly interjected.
“I would’ve preferred to win, of course,” she said.
Player of the game: Rebecca Caruso, Ursuline: It’s hard to single out one player from the Koalas on Monday, but the senior middle blocker definitely gets the nod. Caruso was a force at the net, generating nine kills and three blocks.
Turning point: Ursuline went on an 8-3 run in the middle of the third set to make it a 21-10 game. Although Scarsdale managed to make it 22-20, the deficit — coupled with a two-game hole — was too much for the Raiders to overcome.
Stat line: Junior Katie McLoughlin had a team-high 10 kills for Ursuline, while Caruso, Francesca Strazzera and Stivala added nine, eight and seven kills, respectively.
Quotable: “That ‘1’ is us, and we deserve to be there,” Ursuline junior libero Milena Ciaccia on Scarsdale’s loss column.