SUFFERN – Samantha Gutmann may have a different view of the volleyball court these days, but the first-year Suffern head coach is still enjoying the same results she’s come to expect from her alma mater.
After taking over a program that won a state title last year and graduated three Division I players in the spring, Gutmann won her first career postseason match as a coach Friday, sweeping rivals North Rockland, 25-16, 25-22, 25-18, in a Section 1 Class AA first-round contest at home.
The Mounties will play at No. 2 Arlington in the quarterfinals on Monday at a time to be determined.
“There’s always the ‘day of’ jitters, but we were mostly excited,” she said. “We knew it was a good matchup and it would be a good game.”
The two teams split their regular-season series with one another, with each winning in five games on the road, but the seventh-seeded Mounties (9-6) rolled to an easy win Friday afternoon in front of boisterous home crowd.
“This year, we (got) off to a rocky start, but I think we’re finally coming together,” said Suffern senior setter Sara Hayward, one of the handful of girls back from last season’s varsity roster. “We’ve just grown stronger together.”
Hayward, who had two of her right fingers bandaged up after injuring her hand during warmups in the first rendezvous with North Rockland, said her and her classmates spoke before the match to stress the importance of it.
“This could be our last time — we had to put it all out,” she said.
The Mounties had added motivation to win Friday, which also happened to be Gutmann’s birthday. No stranger to playing in the postseason
“It will be a memorable one,” she said. “It’s a big one for our team.”
Player of the game: Samantha Weissman, Suffern: Weissman finished with a team-high seven kills and added two aces in the Mounties’ sweep.
Turning point: North Rockland jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the second game before Suffern called a timeout. The Mounties quickly erased the deficit, tying the game at 10-10 before eventually winning it and taking a two-games-to-none lead.
Stat line: Renee Romagnoli had five kills, while Cali Santangelo and Kristen Conway each added four kills. … Madison Monahan paced the Red Raiders with 12 kills, including a beautiful left-handed kill down the line. Freshman Jaida Patrick chipped in four kills.
Quotable: “They were the better team today,” North Rockland head coach Colette Jurman.