Special Presentation Accents Special Volleyball Season
BY DAVE SHEA
The 2019 OFA Girls Volleyball Banquet was hosted by the Ogdensburg Moose Lodge on Wednesday and opened with a presentation that had nothing to do with volleyball.
But it had everything to do with how the Lady Blue Devils won the NAC West Division and Section 10 Class B Championships in what Coach Sue McLean called a very special season.
The banquet opened with Coach McLean and the players presenting a $1000 check to Karen Curtis and Kate Mulkin of the helpsamikickcancerfoundation whose mission is enriching the lives of families who have received the dreaded news of a pediatric cancer diagnosis.
The outreach of that mission is the The Lodge @ Dreaming Tree Ranch which is a place where families of cancer fighters can reconnect with each other through nature and all the beautiful nature-inspired blessings that living in the foothills of the Adirondacks gives each day of the year.
The ranch offers families nature trails for walking, skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding and side-by-side ATV riding. Campfires, swimming, fishing, hunting and a sugar house for making maple syrup are just a glimpse of the activities provided at The Lodge@Dreaming Tree Ranch.
The ranch and the foundation carry on the work of the late Sami Curtis who waged a courageous fight against cancer. She was diagnosed with cancer while serving as a major fund-raiser while still a student-athlete at Canton Central School.
Anyone seeking information and wishing to support the foundation and the ranch can write Help Sami Kick Cancer.org, at 5905 CR 27, Canton, NY 13617 or email@example.com or like its facebook page.
"We were looking to make a donation to an organization for our Cancer Awareness Match when I learned about the foundation while reconnecting with Kate Mulkin who I went to college with," said Coach McLean.
"When I told the girls about Sami Curtis, the foundation and the ranch they just fell in love with the idea of supporting the foundation. The varsity team raised $500 and the junior varsity and modified teams raised the other $500."
Coach McLean said that the response to supporting the foundation and the work of Sami Curtis illustrated the caring nature of her Lady Devils which became a one of the most tighknit groups she has ever coached.
"The team matured right away with the seniors and other returning players becoming role models for the first year players. I saw it early when we were at a tournament and went out to eat and everyone naturally sat all together," said Coach McLean.
"After that everyone did everything together and always supported each other. They embodied what team, (Together Everyone Achieves More) means. This team was special, they made me reflect on what it is like to be a coach."
The Devils three seniors Rosie Jeneault, Celia Henry and Melissa Barr completed outstanding careers will by earning elite athletic and academic awards.
All three earned NAC Athlete of Distinction Awards for maintaining a 90 and above average throughout their high school athletic careers. They were also part of the Blue Devils five player New York State Scholar Athlete Team contingent which compiled a composite average of 94. During the season they posted the following averages: Celia Henry 98.6, Melissa Barr 98, Rose Jeneault 97.6 and juniors Emily Farrand 95.1 and Emma LeBeau 91.3.
Rosie Jeneault was a First Team All-NAC West selection and was recognized as finalist for the prestigious Patty Baldwin Memorial Award which is presented by the Northern New York Officials Board to the Outstanding Girls Volleyball Player in Section 10.
"To be a finalist for the Patty Baldwin Award is really an accomplishment. Rosie was part of a group of outstanding the finalists and Jackie Butler of Potsdam who received the award," said Coach McLean.
Junior Emily Farrand also made First Team and was named to the Sixth Team of the Class B All-State selections. Melissa Barr and Celia Henry earned spots on the Second Team and Henry also received the team's NAC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award for a second straight year.
Coach McLean also presented four team awards and did not present a Team MVP Award saying that every player of the team was equally valuable.
Melissa Barr received Coach's Award, Rosie Jeneault received the Blue Devil Street Fighter Award, Celia Henry received the 100 Percent 100 Percent of the Time Award and Emily Farrand received the Super Girl Award.
"Winning Class B was much tougher this season and we knew it would be after Salmon River beat us in the middle of the season," said Coach McLean.
"When we beat Salmon River the girls allowed me to live a coaches dream. Every member of the team playing at their best at the same time. They will always be my volleyball girls and they will always have a piece of my heart."
Other members of the team are: juniors Jenna Mitchell, Jordyn Tupper and Gabrielle Morley and freshman Abigail Raven. Sophomores who moved up from the JV team for the postseason were: Tristen Durand, Aubrey Love and Mallory Morley.