Irvington HS girls’ volleyball team seeks another banner season

Blue Knights welcome challenge of playing in tougher division

Photo by Steve Ellmore.
Sol Berrios digs the ball during a match last season. The Blue Knights won the SEC-Freedom Division title a year ago.

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.