Michael Beecher, Staff Writer
After a slow start, the Bergen Bulldog’s volleyball team bounced back to close the season out strong, as they opened up with an even 1-1 record, only to drop the next four games.
The Bulldogs then opened up October with two straight wins and finished the month off with a 5-4 record, just missing the playoffs by a few games.
Despite a bittersweet season, the team which only had one sophomore showed signs of progress.
In possibly their most heartbreaking loss, they took Brookdale Community College, who had previously shut them out in three sets, to a fifth set during which they narrowly lost.
Whereas life is filled with peaks and valleys, volleyball is full of “kills” and “digs,” offense and defense. A kill is an attack by a player that is not returnable by the opposing team, while a dig is when a player keeps a ball in play that is hit at them by the opposition.
It’s a game of balance and this season was a perfect example of that. “We started off slow and we finished off strong,” said Athletic Director Jorge Hernandez. “Every match they got better and better.”
It’s easy for any team to pack it in after a four-game skid, but the team kept pushing until the very last serve. “They were in the hunt until the end,” added Hernandez.
A few players stood out during the season, including Crystal Mudry and Stefani Talevska, who have both been nominated for All Regions.
Mudry was a crucial finisher for the team, she averaged just over four kills a set while Talevska excelled in setting up her teammates with assists, averaging about three assists a set.
Homefield advantage is crucial in sports and the team did not benefit in that area, playing only five of their 15 games at Bergen.
Despite this challenge, they performed well and even managed to dismantle the Community College of Philadelphia in three sets at a neutral site.
Hernandez admits that at one point it looked like there may not have been a team. “At first they didn’t have enough people but then when the semester started interest started to grow.”
That makes their already impressive October run even more memorable.
The team also beat any Division 2 team it faced.
The Bulldogs closed out the season with a dominant three-set sweep over Lackawanna College. Mudry had 18 kills and 23 points while Talevska had 24 assists. Nalya Hill also finished with eight points.
Jennifer Interiano also performed well throughout the season and closed out her Sophomore Day with a win.
Regardless of the rough start, Hernandez is encouraged by the way the team responded and sees a lot of potential for next year.
“Volleyball’s always been a strong sport here… we just started off slow,” Hernandez added. Hernandez attributed the slow start to the team losing a lot of sophomores last year meaning the team had to start from square one.
Even though it’s a young team they were still a strong team this year and will only get stronger next year.
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