Varsity Volleyball Jumps to Sectional Finals

Mamaroneck has another successful run in the 2021 volleyball season, reaching the Sectional Final.


Photo Courtesy of @MURDAVEEBS on Instagram

MHS varsity volleyball team takes a group picture before their big game against North Rockland.

Jane McNally, Sports Page Director

Just a few years ago, the Mamaroneck volleyball team lurked in the shadows cast by other Mamaroneck sports teams. They were a team that was building, strengthening so they too could have their time to shine.
Now, after two straight winning seasons, and back-to-back Sectional Final appearances, the Tigers have launched themselves to the top among premier Section 1 volleyball programs.
After a strong regular season that included wins against North Rockland and rival Scarsdale, as well as two dominant playoff sweeps over Mahopac and Arlington, the Tigers fell to North Rockland in a five set battle. Despite the end coming much sooner than anyone wanted, there is much to be celebrated. Another successful season only continues to strengthen Mamaroneck volleyball, a team led by just two seniors this year: Kaitlyn Welsh (‘22) and Catherine Gelber (‘22).
After losing nine seniors to graduation in 2021, Gelber understood she and Welsh would have to make the “big adjustment [to filling] a huge hole in leadership.” However, the two worked together and recognized how they could “be the leaders [their] team needed to be successful.”
A young, feisty team, the Tigers entered every game with an edge. “Each game we had the urge to play together and beat [our] opponents,” Welsh explained. The Tigers were well aware that they had something to prove– to prove people wrong. After graduating nine seniors, including multiple starters, Mamaroneck was a “rebuilding team” in the eyes of many. But the young team was determined to never slow down, and never bow down to their opponents.
Despite the success, it took some early adjustments to get back on top. “In the beginning of our season, we had some ups and downs. Our team wasn’t fully connecting on the court,” Welsh admitted. However, the strong 3-1 regular season win over North Rockland on October 13th propelled the Tigers. After that game, according to Welsh, the team “had an insane amount of growth” and “built itself to the top again.”
Ask any Mamaroneck senior athlete what their favorite on-the-field or on-the-court memory is, and they will likely respond with beating Scarsdale. Due to the fact that Mamaroneck volleyball was unranked, still lacking the attention they rightfully deserved, and that the Raiders were ranked in the top-10 in Section 1 (according to, “beating Scarsdale in their gym” was a moment that stuck out to Welsh, who noted that the Tigers were eager and “wanted to win so much more.”
After a dominant postseason run to the Sectional Final, the Tigers met North Rockland again at Hendrick Hudson High School on November 5th. “The championship was an extremely emotional game,” Gelber recalled. Before the game, the lone seniors took a second to reflect on their impressive run. “Kaitlyn and I took a second to say “‘Hey, we got here together and no matter what, I’m so happy I did it with you.’” The game, a back-and-forth battle that eventually resulted in a come-from-behind win by North Rockland, was an emotional rollercoaster. Mamaroneck won the first set, 25-20, and proceeded to go up two sets to one. North Rockland had a response, however, roaring back to push the game to five sets and, ultimately, taking the last set by a score of 25-19. Some Tigers players had big performances: Liv Conte (‘24) finished the game with nine kills and 20 digs, while Welsh had eight kills and 22 digs, and Gelber had an all-star performance with 31 assists, five kills, two aces and 15 digs. Gelber noted the “high level of competition, feeling nervous, scared, sad, and absolutely glorious that [they] had made it [that] far. It was a surreal moment.”
Often it is not the points on the scoreboard or the individual talent of the players that breeds success – rather it is that bond that you form with your teammates. The closeness of Mamaroneck volleyball and the relationships off the court were the most vital part of their success. “We were able to rely on each other on the court which made playing together so much easier,” Gelber spoke of her team. Without a close team, the Tigers would have never gotten as far as they did, as they relied on that trust in each other on and off the court. Those relationships will last forever for seniors Welsh and Gelber, and will leave a great mark on the program.
But of course, they’ll never forget the wins. “Early in the season, we said we wanted to win and nothing else and we made that message clear,” Gelber noted with determination.
And that’s exactly what the team did this 2021 season.