The Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament champion Blue Angel volleyball and basketball teams were honored at the Breakfast of Champions, a reception held by The College of New Rochelle President Judith Huntington on Friday, April 4, in the Castle Parlors.
President Huntington congratulated this group of hard working, intelligent and dedicated women for their outstanding achievements and successes and commended them on their ability to juggle very demanding academic schedules with the rigors of intercollegiate competition.
The team captains for both teams thanked President Huntington for her unwavering support and spoke about their memorable season while showing appreciation to their coaches and teammates. Each team also presented President Huntington and Vice President for Student Services Dr. Colette Geary with commemorative championship t-shirts.
Basketball Breakfast of Champions
CNRAthletics.com spent some time with volleyball captains Erica Cuscina and Meghan King and basketball captains Holly Cammarota and Alyssa Pechin and reminisced about the season both personally and as a team, and, of course, the unforgettable championship moments.
What is your favorite memory from the season (not including winning the championship)?
I would have to say that my favorite memory from the season was scoring my 500th (career) kill. Being able to share the moment with my teammates was an amazing feeling.
For me it was making my 1,000th (career) point. The energy from the crowd throughout the whole game, along with the vibe from my teammates still makes my skin crawl to this day when I look back on that night. The support I had from everyone was so strong and it really made my accomplishment feel that much better.
At what point did you realize that your team had what it took to become a champion?
I realized it the very first day (of preseason). Of course you can't tell for sure when you haven't played any games or even had more than one practice. But I took a look at the girls, I saw everyone's skills and more importantly: I felt the chemistry. From the very first day I could feel the chemistry and I knew that we had put together something amazing and that this was going to be our season.
I think I realized we could win a championship early in the season. I felt like we had the potential to be really good from the beginning. Once we opened the season (winning seven of our first eight games) and winning the two (early season) tournaments it became more and more obvious that we had the chance of being a good team that could challenge the other teams in the conference for the championship.
What made your team special?
The players are definitely what made the team special. We are all completely different people with very unique personalities and life experiences yet we came together as a family both on and off that court.
I honestly think everyone's personality made the team a great group. Our team has such a flow; the jokes, the chemistry, the determination, and I feel like that is very rare when you are in college and people come from all over. Coach Kash (Hameed) only adds to it, being one of the most humble people I have ever met. The way we all click together, I think, makes all the difference in the potential of a team. On top of that, being able to share in such memories and pulling off what we did this year as a team brought us that much closer.
What do you remember most from the championship tournament?
What I remember most from the championship tournament was the realization after we beat Culinary (in the tournament semifinals) that we were going to the finals and might end up champions.
My most prevalent memory is looking up at the clock with five minutes left in the game, with the lead we had, and thinking to myself "it's just one round of the shell drill, push it out." Following that, watching Jasmine Brandon dribble the ball around for the last ten seconds of the game, and seeing the crowd on their feet, knowing we were the champions, was just extremely overwhelming, as if time was moving in slow motion. The fans running on the court afterwards and all the pictures being taken, everything feeling just so surreal.
As upperclassmen, how has your program progressed from when you first arrived at the College?
The program has definitely grown. We are on a path to excel, a path that can only propel us upwards and forwards.
When I first came to CNR, we struggled to field a team sometimes. Then when I was a sophomore, we got more recruits and had more serious practices. Junior and senior year we got even better and worked so hard to have good seasons and be successful.
What were your thoughts as the championship was won?
My thought when we won the championship was, "Wow, we actually did it! Everything we worked hard for all season paid off." I wanted to see another championship banner for volleyball hang in the gym before I graduated and it became a reality. Now I am aiming for another banner for my last season as a Blue Angel.
So many thoughts ran through my head when we won! I couldn't believe that after only four years of where we had started we had actually won a championship. I was so excited and it was great knowing that all of our hard work had paid off! And personally for me, it was a great feeling knowing that being a senior and my last game playing that we ended the season with a win. It really kind of brought my time at CNR to a close in a really exciting and memorable way!
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