SPORTS SPOTLIGHT WITH MARC MATURO

Spring Valley Coach Andrew Delva

Coach Delva’s Tigers prep for official practice to start

As summer, at long last, heats up, some but not all thoughts turn to – you guessed it – high school football.

“I’m excited for the season,” enthuses long-time Spring Valley HS Coach Andrew Delva, who is already looking forward to the official starting date for practice, just about a month from now, on August 14.

The Tigers, who won their league championship last season and advanced to the second round of the Section 1 playoffs, are into their second week of a five-week voluntary period of workouts, preparing themselves mentally and physically for the scheduled season opener on September 2 in Chappaqua against non-conference opponent Horace Greeley HS. Kickoff is set at 1:30 p.m.

The home opener at Thorne Valley is tentatively scheduled on September 8 at 7 p.m. against Port Chester HS, another Westchester-based foe.

Other rivals on the regular-season schedule include Sierra Vista, out of Las Vegas; Fox Lane, Ossining, Mahopac, and Carmel.

Delva, himself a graduate of Spring Valley HS, said the Tigers are confronted with a different set of circumstances following last season’s division-title run that included a victory over Fox Lane in the first round of the playoffs and then a loss to Clarkstown South HS (not on the regular-season scheduled).

“Last year, we were the hunter; now we are the hunted,” Delva said, obviously aware that “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

“We want to beat everybody,” replied Delva, entering his ninth season as the head man in charge and 12th overall with the program, when asked if he was pointing to any particular opponent.

“We are a young team, but once we start (officially), I believe everyone will realize the dedication that is needed, and how much hard work we need to put in,” an optimistic Coach Delva continued.

A program on the rise

Delva is not only enthused with several key players on hand, not only with an entire coaching staff that is returning, but also with the growth of the program – in addition to a new field being constructed that will possibly be ready for the last game of the regular season or perhaps a postseason contest. Meanwhile, the Tigers will be contesting their home games at the Thorne Valley Sports Complex in Hillburn.

Not only is the temperature rising, but the numbers of students participating in the program has grown to 75, a huge increase from the 45 who took part just two years ago.

During the voluntary summers workouts, Coach Delva noted that about 58 youngsters are responding, which represents another step up from years ago.

“I enjoy the challenge and it’s nice that the program is improving, too,” Delva says. “We have new facilities; it’s a good state that we’re in.”

Delva’s staff is comprised mainly of Spring Valley HS graduates, “And guys I grew up with and played with.”

Mike Demosthene is responsible for the linemen; the offensive coordinator is Jeff Johnson; Telvil Destin handles the defensive backs and receivers; and Julius Miller is charged with developing a quarterback to replace the departed Mike Mirville, who is bound for Alfred State.

Besides Mirville, the Tigers lost two standouts to graduation: cornerback Ori Jean-Charles, who will play at Louisville; and tight end/defensive end Devan Lawson, who will be playing at Stonybrook.

The junior varsity squad is led by Pierre Therenot, assisted by Ricky Delva, who is Andrew’s younger brother.

The quarterback duties, still to be determined, will rest in the hands of two seniors: Harmendez St.-Just and Xavier Miles.

Even before full-fledged workouts begin, Coach Delva can point to three other performers who are being counted upon, including seniors Justin Mack, an inside linebacker and tight end, and wide receiver/defensive back Elijah Dean.

The third asset is sophomore Chris Germinal, a fleet of foot running back who was elevated to the varsity in the last game of last season.

RCC ATHLETES HONORED

Led by second-team selection Victoria Garcia, a bowler and alumna of North Rockland High School, Rockland Community College had 11 student-athletes recognized at the national level for their achievements in the classroom by the NJCAA, the national governing body for two-year college athletics.

Sara Hayward
Shannon Thomas, volleyball standout

Also named second-team were women’s basketball players Olivia Neretich, a graduate of Minisink Valley HS, and Anna Olsson, an international student from Sweden. Earning third-team honors were three players from the successful women’s volleyball team: Jessica Barragan, a Spring Valley resident who attended Hawthorne Christian Academy in New Jersey; Sara Hayward, an alumna of Suffern HS; and Shannon Thomas, another graduate of North Rockland HS.

Also named third-team were golfer Nick Armstrong, from Saugerties HS; baseball player Bryan Borruso, a Tappan Zee HS graduate; bowler Steven Iaccarino, a Monroe-Woodbury HS alum; tennis player Ulyana Kitcmanuk, a Spring Valley HS grad; and men’s basketball player Kevin Martinez, out of Clarkstown South HS.

McGILL, IONA COLLEGE BACK TO GARDEN

Rickey McGill of Spring Valley, a returning starter, and the Iona College men’s basketball team will be featured at Madison Square Garden at the 2017 Holiday Festival on Sunday, December 17. The Gaels are set to take on Metropolitan area challenger St. John’s University in one end of a doubleheader. The meeting is the first in 22 seasons, with the Gaels earning a 70-57 victory in the same event in 1995. The Red Storm leads the all-time series, 6-3.

The Gaels will return four starters from its defending-champion MAAC squad, including McGill, the team’s top returning scorer following a sophomore season that included a conference-leading 1.8 steals a game.

McGill, the only Gael to start every game, averaged 10.5 points, 5.1 assists and a team-high 32.1 minutes a contest.

RIP: The track & field community in particular and the community in general are mourning the death of Brent Lee Sr., an official in Rockland and Section 1 for more than three decades. Lee, of Pearl River, passed away at the age of 69 on July 2.

Tommy McNamara, standout midfielder

LOOKING TO REBOUND

New York City Football Club (NYCFC), coming off its first defeat in five Major League Soccer (MLS) games, hosts Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium on July 19 at 7:30 p.m. (broadcast on YES, TSN1, WFAN).

NYCFC, falling just short of the club record for consecutive victories, lost 3-2 at Vancouver Whitecaps in its last outing, leaving its record at 10-6-3.

West Nyack native Tommy McNamara, a 26-year-old midfielder, has two goals for the New York side in his fourth professional season.

Meanwhile, down in Miami, 23-year-old Robert Baggio Kcira of New City, a product of Clarkstown Soccer, has two goals and one assist in 10 starts for league-leading Miami FC.

Miami, the front-runner in the North American Soccer League at 10-3-2 through 15 games, closes its regular season on July 15 against San Francisco Deltas at Kezar Stadium in a 10 p.m. contest.

THIS & THAT

Right-hander Robbie Aviles, an alum of Suffern HS pitching in the Cleveland Indians organization, was recently called up from Class AA Akron to fill an emergency role at Class AAA Columbus. Aviles, 25, was with the Clippers for one day, pitching one and one-third innings with one walk and one strikeout and was then returned to the RubberDucks. It is expected that Aviles, a reliever, will finish the season with Akron unless Columbus faces another bullpen emergency.

Mark your calendars for Sunday evening, October 22, when United Hospice of Rockland will honor three dedicated individuals at the Hilton Pearl River. The organization will pay tribute to Judge Charles ApothekerRobert Fellows and Arlene Rodgers for their commitment and support. Visit uhrgala2017.eventbrite.com, or contact Sarah Henry, special events coordinator, at shenry@hospiceofrockland.org or call 845-634-4974. … The 9th Rockland County YMCA Golf Outing is scheduled July 27 at Philip Rotella Golf Course in Thiells. Contact or visit: Rockland County YMCA, 35 S. Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960. … The National Sports Forum is hosting a new one-day summer conference on July 27 at the Crowne Plaza Times Square. More information can be found at https://www.nsfsummersummit.com.