Pioneers Volleyball Honors Caruso in Win Over Rutgers-Camden

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Makiah Patterson-Brown, Staff Writer

On the heels of breaking the William Paterson University women’s volleyball record for career assists in the Pioneers previous match, a road victory over NJCU, senior co-captain Kendall Caruso lead her team to a swift victory over NJAC foe Rutgers-Camden (6-11, 0-4 NJAC) on Thursday night.

Following a team-high 27 assist performance, Caruso’s 2,698 assists and counting surpassed Deni Sobieck’s mark of 2,643 that held for 15 years.

Facing an early 7-2 deficit in which the Scarlett Raptors produced strong serves, causing errors and miscommunication on the Pioneer side, WPU trailed the entire first set before eventually knotting the score at 22. The Pioneers would handle the ensuing three volleys to steal the first set, 25-22.

WPU did not make the same mistake twice, starting the second set off with an increased sense of urgency, getting out to a 6-2 lead. The Scarlett Raptors displayed a strong effort as they tried to claw back into the set, but struggled mightily to get clean kills over the long limbs of standout freshman Jamie O’Shea and senior Chelliah Phillips. Pioneers finished the second set 25-19, winning decisively.

The Scarlett Raptors refused to go down without a fight, hanging on until the very end before Pioneers would ultimately close out the third and final set by a score of 25-23. With the win, the Pioneers improved to 14-1, 3-1 NJAC.

Caruso was honored during the intermission between sets for breaking the all-time assist record. She recieved gifts from her fellow captains and embraced by her teammates and family. Caruso’s father, Charlie Caruso was there in support of her historic milestone.

“I’m just very proud of her,” Caruso said. “She works so hard when it comes to sports.”

The elder Caruso wasn’t the only one to offer strong words in regards to WPU’s newest record holder. Head Coach Sandy Ferrarella couldn’t predict Caruso’s success but knew there was something special about her after the first time she saw her play back when Caruso was a senior year in high school.

“When I went to see her, she had the gorgeous pair of hands,” Ferrarella said. “She just makes some of the most unbelievable sets, I don’t know how she does it,” Ferrarella said.

Caruso remained humble while expressing the honor of the achievement, while expressing gratitude towards her supporting cast.

“Honestly it means everything to me. I honestly couldn’t do it without my coaches and my teammates,” Caruso said.

The success of this team is hard to ignore and beginning to look like a team that could potentially compete for a championship. Caruso is confident in the ability of this team.

“I think we have the potential to go all the way if we just stay together.” Caruso said.

Following a pair of sweeps over York College (0-13) and Medger Evers (2-14) on Saturday, Oct. 8, the Pioneers (16-1, 3-1 NJAC) will host conference opponent, Rutgers-Newark (12-7, 2-2 NJAC) on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.