The Huntington varsity girls’ volleyball team carved a very nice season, winning seven matches and missing the playoffs by the slimmest of margins.
Coached by veteran Todd Donaghy, the 10 player squad was captained by Megan Donaghy, Haileigh Smith and Kate Barba. The roster also included freshman Emily Barba; sophomores Brianna Borenstein and Lauren Donaghy; junior Neurdia Osias and seniors Rana Elfaham, Lauren Gennarelli and Renee McKean.
“It was a fantastic team and fantastic season,” Coach Donaghy said. “I’ve been coaching for 32 years and this is one of my favorite all-time teams. The girls came to practice each and every day and worked hard. They came to compete every time we had a match and most importantly they were fun to be around. A great group of girls who made this a memorable season.”
The top players included:
• Megan Donaghy (Senior, outside hitter); 115 kills; .326 hitting percentage (similar to a baseball average); 107 digs; 33 service aces
• Kate Barba (Junior, outside hitter); 115 kills; .289 hitting percentage; 143 digs; 46 service aces
• Lauren Donaghy (Sophomore, setter); 368 assists; 40 service aces; 65 digs
• Haileigh Smith (Senior, middle hitter); 50 kills; 35 digs; nine blocks
Megan Donaghy completed her Huntington volleyball career with 313 kills, 342 digs and 77 service aces; She had her most productive season to date this fall. “Megan was someone you could count on in a big spot,” Coach Donaghy said. “Her production improved each year and her success was a direct result of her work ethic.”
Barba tied with Megan Donaghy for the most kills with 115. “Kate is an explosive hitter when on; very difficult to stop,” Coach Donaghy said. “Kate led the team in digs with 143. She reads the play well and understands where she needs to be in most situations. Kate has gotten stronger and stronger each season.”
Lauren Donaghy enjoyed a successful first season on the varsity. She finished fifth in the county with 368 assists and totaled 40 service aces. “For a first year setter, Lauren did an outstanding job,” Coach Donaghy said. “Megan and Kate, our two main hitters, both saw their hitting percentage improve from last year to this and overall, the team hit almost 40 points better this year than last.”
Smith turned in her best season to date, finishing with 50 kills. She became a “six-rotation” player and had her finest season on defense with 35 digs. “Haileigh’s work ethic was the reason why she was selected to be a team captain this season,” Coach Donaghy said. “As a sophomore, Haileigh was a strong athlete learning the game of volleyball and as she finishes her career at Huntington, she became a very good volleyball player who will be missed.”
Competing against programs widely known as “volleyball schools,” the Blue Devils put themselves in position to qualify for playoffs going into the final match of the season.
“Unfortunately we sustained injuries to both starting middle hitters that put an end to that run,” Coach Donaghy said. “We competed with the best teams in our conference. Against Northport, which finished 9-3, five of the six games we played were determined by a score of 22-25 or 23-25. We had a match mid-season against Half Hollow Hills East, a very good team that we beat 3-0 earlier in the season, that was a match that if we had won, probably would have secured a playoff bid as well. We lost the first two games of that match, came back and won the next two before losing in the fifth set.”
The coach feels the season itself was an accomplishment. “I truly believe if we did not sustain the injuries to Haileigh and Renee, we would have qualified for playoffs this season,” he said.
Looking ahead to next fall, Coach Donaghy is optimistic. “With Kate Barba, Lauren Donaghy, Brianna Borenstein, Neurdia Osias and Emily Barba returning and the addition of a few of the junior varsity players and hopefully a Finley player or two, I think we could be in position to compete for a playoff position again,” he said. “It won’t be easy without Megan, Haileigh, Renee and Lauren, but we could still be in the same position next season as we were this.”
Kills (115): Megan Donaghy and Kate Barba Assists (368): Lauren Donaghy Service Aces (46):Kate Barba Blocks (11): Renee McKean Digs (143): Kate Barba