By Isabella Harnick
Within one year, the boys’ varsity volleyball team rose from last place to making the second round of the playoffs. As a result, the team’s coach, Melissa Crotty, was voted “2016 Nassau County Coach of the Year.”
Each year, coaches from across Long Island come together to vote for who they think should be the next Nassau County Coach of the Year. Crotty was honored to receive this award and believes that it “is more a reflection of how hard the boys worked.”
Coach Crotty has found that channeling her own volleyball experience has helped her with coaching. Growing up with an athletic dad, sports were always a big part of her life. Crotty started her volleyball career as manager for her sister’s middle school volleyball team, as she was too young to join herself. Following this, she competed on the high school level and made it to the state competition almost every year. She continued playing throughout her time at Providence College, which is part of the Big East Conference. She has even implemented in her own coaching some of the drills and plays that her high school and college coaches used.
In addition to applying her own playing experience to the game, Crotty has imparted her psychology skills. She said, “So much of the game is mental, so it’s important to stay relaxed and not elicit a fight or flight response. Whenever the team seems too nervous during a game, I will actually call a timeout to take deep breaths together as a team. It’s always funny to see the new team members’ responses to us meditating.”
With her award in hand, Crotty is setting the team up for another ace this season. She said, “I see a lot of potential for the rest of the season, and I definitely think we are playoff-bound.”