ELMSFORD, N.Y. – Nevline Petitfort has been waiting to become a major contributor to the Alexander Hamilton varsity volleyball team after missing a month with a sprained ankle.
The senior returned to action last week, but Petitfort admitted her first action back was “a little rough.” Petitfort shook off the rust and showed why Hamilton missed her.
Petitfort registered six kills, including match point, six assists and four service aces, leading Hamilton to a 25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-20 win over visiting Hastings in a Section 1 volleyball match Tuesday.
Hamilton, now 4-8, snapped a five-match losing streak as it welcomed back coach Julianna Puma, who missed a week because of a death in her family.
“It was really hard watching the team play because I love playing with them,” Petitfort said. “This is my senior year and I want to be on the court with my team. And then we didn’t have coach because of the death in her family and that made it even harder on us.”
Petitfort said the team came into the match with a positive attitude and started with a clean slate.
“Losing those games was in the past,” Petitfort said. “We forgot about it. We refreshed our minds and got back to doing what we feel we do best, play as a team.”
Along with closing out the match with a kill, Petitfort stepped to the service line in game two with the score even at 21-21 and strung together three unreturnable serves and an ace.
“Our energy was so positive and I felt so good at the service line that I wanted to finish off the game,” Petitfort said. “Having the kill to end the match felt great. When our setter, Nicole Velasco, set it to me, I wanted to finish it.”
While Hamilton was welcoming back Puma and Petitfort, Hastings was without its all-section player, Erica Freed, who was out sick. Also, starter Melanie Mercurio was not feeling well, which limited her play. This forced Hastings coach Melissa Otivich to have players out of position.
Kimberly Malise picked up the slack in Freed's absence with 11 kills, six digs and four service aces. Setter Jasmine Padilla registered 14 assists and also had four service aces. Imani Paul finished with four digs, three service aces, three kills and two blocks.