Lady Hawks lend a helping hand

New Paltz athletes and coaches tutor Plattekill girls on the finer points of volleyball

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For the second year, the New Paltz Women’s Volleyball team, known as the Hawks, came to the Plattekill Elementary School to help bolster the skills and confidence of younger girls who are part of a recreation program that is funded and run by the Southern Ulster Rotary Club.

Coach Will Farrell said the Rotary Club supports the girls volleyball team because they, “realize the importance of providing programs for our youth that are fun, physical and a good learning experience.”

Coach Farrell thanked the Wallkill Board of Education and the office staff at the Plattekill Elementary School for backing the program and for the use of the gymnasium.

SUNY Head Coach Matt Giufre said the young girls have a little more confidence because of his team’s visit last year.

“We just wanted to play with them and show them a few tips and just engage and have fun, the laughter, the smiles and the excitement and kind of show them what it’s really like to encourage part of a team,” he said. “I think it’s always fun when we can go work with young kids that want to play volleyball and get them excited about the game.”

Giufre said most of his college girls started in 7th and 8th grade but the younger girls in Plattekill began playing in the 4th and 5th grades.

“I think it was kind of neat to see this age getting started in a sport that we’ve come to love. This is something they can look up to and aspire to be like if they stick with it,” he said. “It’s fun to work with kids that like to play volleyball as much as mine like to play volleyball. In their eyes they can see themselves a number of years ago when they started.”

The Hawks are part of the State University of New York Athletic Conference. Their playing season runs from August to November, with some practice games in March and April. Giufre has his team in the weight room four to five days a week. He said the main season, “is a lot of hours in a condensed period of time and we played 36 games this year. We traveled as far south as Atlanta and to western New York and New Jersey and throughout New England.”

Giufre said there are more than 440 women volleyball teams competing in their division across the country and the Hawks finished 32 in Division 3 in the National Tournament.

Coach Farrell noticed that his younger girls were not as timid this year after the Hawks visit last year.

“A lot of these drills we did tonight we’ve been doing; practicing setting it up and serving,” he said. “I want to thank Coach Matt and his team for taking the time to come visit our young athletes who are so impressed and inspired by them showing up to practice with us. It was a great night for our young ladies.”

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