Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Briarcliff High School Senior Marc Arroyo grew up watching his two older sisters play volleyball at the school. After playing it last year for a local club, he met students from Croton-Harmon High school and, together, they decided to try and form a team with Briarcliff High School.
“The boys on the Croton club team wanted to turn it into a high school team, so we decided that I would reach out to Briarcliff Athletics director Mr. Chris Drosopoulos about starting a boys’ team in Briarcliff and merging it with Croton,” Marc said. “It was a combined effort.”
This resulted in a Boys’ Varsity Volleyball team called Bear Cats.
“Croton students are Tigers, so we thought Bear Cats was fitting,” Marc said. “A lot of students and parents at Briarcliff are excited about having a boys’ volleyball team here at the school and aside from me, there are two juniors from the high school on the team: Galvin Navarro and Jack Burnette.”
Briarcliff High School has other teams made of several schools merged together.
“There are multiple sports teams at the school that are merged together, like swimming and hockey,” Marc said. “It has worked well in the past, and it’s working well now.”
So well, in fact, that the team currently has three wins and zero losses so far this season.
Perhaps some of their success can be attributed to the team leaders, as Marc uses his experience playing club volleyball in his role as co-captain.
“I was a downstate player and I went on multiple tournaments in different states,” he said. “I have a lot of experience in the sport, so I like to share tips that I got from my club season and from other resources with my teammates. I also help Coach Robin Cooke with a lot of drills and organizing practices, plus I motivate my teammates during games and encourage them to work harder both in games and at practice.”
In addition to Marc’s encouragement, the team members spend time outside of the volleyball court to build a stronger bond.
“The sport demands a lot of coordination and communication and a very deep connection between the passers, the setters and the hitters,” Marc said. “One of the Croton players’ mom is kind of like the “team mom,” so we spend a lot of time at his house as a team. We eat together, we play games together, we go swimming, so there’s a big emphasis on team bonding.”
According to Marc, this helps the team work together during games.
“When you are on a higher level of connection with your teammates, you can really see improvement in the game,” he said. “I have met a lot of well-respected coaches and they all understand the importance of team bonding and making strong connections on the team.”
Marc, who also runs track for Briarcliff in the winter and spring, is busy these days with college applications.
“I care more about academics, but I am really happy that almost every college now has at least club volleyball if they don’t have a team, so there’s still the opportunity to play competitively, and I’m hoping to do that,” he said.
“We are proud of Marc and his teammates for taking the initiative to get the ball rolling on forming a volleyball team here at Briarcliff,” said Drosopoulos. “Their tremendous dedication paid off.”