IRVINGTON, NJ – The Irvington High School varsity girls’ volleyball team enjoyed a stellar season last fall. The Blue Knights captured the Super Essex Conference-Freedom Division title by going undefeated in the division and finished with a stellar 18-3 overall record.
The reward for such success was moving up two divisions to the SEC-Colonial Division. The opponents in the SEC-Colonial Division are Newark Tech, University, Payne Tech, Columbia, West Essex, and Belleville.
Indeed, the Blue Knights will face tougher competition. But fourth-year head coach Paul Tortorella is confident his team will rise to the occasion.
The returning varsity players are:
- Rayna Smith, senior captain/outside hitter
- Sol Berrios, junior. She led the team in serving percentage the last two years and “does it all for us,” said Tortorella.
- Taylor Phillips, junior outside hitter and blocker
Other players who will contribute:
- Herbina Exume, senior outside hitter
- Anthonia Houndode, senior setter
- Shamara Southerland, junior defender and setter
- Rom Bonheur, senior setter
- Saniya West, senior defender
Berrios and Smith will be the go-to players for the Blue Knights.
Tortorella mentioned the team’s goals for this year. “Every year our goal is to improve individually and as a team everyday,” he said.
The team also wants to keep a high team grade point average, be competitive in its new division, compete in the county tournament and qualify for the state tournament.
Helping Tortorella is fourth-year assistant coach Ryan Carroll.
The Blue Knights defeated University in three sets in the season opener Sept. 7 at University in Newark. After losing the first set, 25-22, the Blue Knights took the next two sets, 25-23, 25-19.
Berrios and Phillips led the team in serving : aces and scoring points, while Houndode led the team in assists.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the result of the season opener.