MELVILLE, New York, November 13
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Donna Newman has been coaching the St. Anthony’s High School girls varsity volleyball team for 24 years.
“I enjoy the teams; I enjoy getting to know the families, players,” she said of her coaching career. “It makes life a whole lot easier.”
Building relationships and a reputation for success through a shared bond between a coach, player and parent does make life easier; that, and coaching a team capable of winning 22 matches and a league championship.
For the sixth time in seven years, the Friars were crowned Catholic High School Athletic Association league champions. This time, they did it with a 3-0 victory over Kellenberg Memorial High School on Nov. 4 at St. Dominic’s High School in Oyster Bay.
“The girls were totally focused and I told them that,” Newman said. “They were peaking at the right time.”
Despite dropping their first season matchup against Kellenberg, the Friars came into last week’s matchup with confidence. Allison Impellizeri played a big part in that confidence, Newman said, as the third-year player ended up being awarded the most valuable player award for the playoffs. The senior averaged 15 kills per match this season and will head to Providence College in Providence, R.I. on a volleyball scholarship next fall.
From the league championship, the Friars made a trip to Lancaster, N.Y. for the state finals at St. Mary’s High School. Despite gliding to the final match – where the St. Anthony’s faced St. Mary’s – the Friars just couldn’t get things going.
“They had strong players and they just showed up more,” Newman said. “It was a long day, but our girls gave it their all and I’m proud of them.”
Looking back at the season as a whole, Newman pointed out two others whose play this year stuck out in her mind.
Kelly Fitzpatrick, a three-year varsity player, was the Friars’ setter and averaged nearly 35 assists per match. The senior will head University at Buffalo in Buffalo this fall, also on a volleyball scholarship.
Finally, Danielle Vaiano – the team’s libero, or defensive specialist – was the “eyes and ears” of the Friars’ defense this season. Just a junior, Vaiano will play a critical part in St. Anthony’s success moving forward.
“She’s a true leader,” Newman said, “it’s going to be huge having her back next season.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, November 13, 2014; A48)