Last year, the Manhattan Academy of Technology middle school girls volleyball team was in it’s first year of action and hardly had a chance to practice before they entered their first tournament in citywide competition.
This year, they are the favorites to win the Manhattan-wide girls volleyball league, a first for New York City and a first-time dose of competition for the girls. The team, which is comprised of a J.V. and a varsity squad, meets in the mornings under the tutelage of coaches/teachers Megan Klemchuk, Sabine Kullman and Alana DeMatteo.
“They’ve come so far from last year when they could barely pass and now they’re able to control the ball so well on their side of the court,” athletic director John DeMatteo said. “They are the only team in the league right now that can bump, set and spike. I’m looking forward to an exciting tournament in late October.”
The girls continue to have success in their league, with recent wins over P.S. 140 (2 games to 1) and NEST (2 games to 1).
Standout eighth grader Tafari McKenzie, who is believed to have made history this past week as the city’s first public school middle school student to have wins in three different sports in one week (she helped her team win in volleyball, scored 4 goals in a soccer win against TASS Middle and won her division in the recent Norway 1.7 mile run in Central Park for the cross country team) looks to lead the team in their next game against Anderson Middle School. Other standouts include Patty Rosa, Jia Jia Ren, Ellen Mullan-Jayes, Yollyce Ayala, Daniella “Chippy” Azulai, Anna Waterman and Natajsha Holtz.