Ryan Glavey

Sports Editor


College athletic teams continually change year to year, and coaches are always looking for those top notch recruits to come in and give their team a real boast, this year Keene State College has a few of these impacting freshmen.

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In particular Freshmen Sammy Dormio, the KSC volleyball team’s starting libero, and Caitlin Davino-Draper, the KSC field hockey team’s starting goaltender, have had a big impact on their teams’ all season.

KSC Head Volleyball Coach Bob Weiner described Dormio as a cornerstone for the future of the program.

“When I saw her play I saw she fit our style perfectly, and I thought she was ready to play now,” Weiner said.

Dormio said coming into the season she had not anticipated being a starter for the team at all.

“I was nervous to just make the team like everyone else,” Dormio said. “I didn’t expect to get any playing time my first year, because when I came on my recruiting visit none of the freshmen on the team got much playing time.”

In high school, Dormio played outside hitter, but since she’s been at KSC she has played libero for the team. The libero is the team’s defensive specialist.

Weiner said he had to move Dormio to libero, because the team already features two all-Conference outside hitters in seniors Bridget O’Bryant and Kristen Girard. He said she was too good to sit, so he had to find anyway possible to get her on the court.

Dormio said she doesn’t mind the change of position at all.

“I find it easier than playing outside,” Dormio said. “The positions are equally fun to play, and I just enjoy getting on the court.”

One tricky part about coming in as a freshman, and becoming a full-time starter on a team with so many seniors, is gaining the trust of the upperclassmen.

“It was definitely a challenge,” Dormio said. “It was hard to become as effective as far as intensity. I wasn’t as aggressive as the seniors.”

Weiner said Dormio needed to prove herself to this large group of veterans, but at this point in the season, they have fully accepted her for the talented player she is.

“In our game against Smith, my injured captain sitting next to me on the bench said to me, ‘God she’s playing great,’” Weiner said.

Dormio has been very solid defensively for the Owls, being one of the team’s leaders in digs and was recently named the Little East Conference’s Volleyball defensive player of the week.

She earned the award for her performance during the team’s four match stretch this past week, where she tallied a combined 65 digs, with over 20 in two of the matches.

Dormio has been a big contributor for this squad all season, and after this large class of seniors graduates, her role on the team will only increase.

Davino-Draper has also been a big defensive presence this season as part of the KSC field hockey team’s lock-down defense.

“Davino-Draper has been a real impact freshman for us,” Field Hockey Head Coach, Amy Watson said. “She stepped right in as goalie, we needed a goalie, and she won the job.”

Watson said she had hopes that Davino-Draper would be able to step right in and help the team as she has. She said they recruited two goaltenders this past year in hopes one of them would step up and win the job.

“I had spoken with the coaches a lot during the summer, so I knew I could get the job if I worked hard enough,” Davino-Draper said.

Davino-Draper said it was intimidating being given this responsibility coming in as a freshman.

“By nature, it is a very high-pressure position, and being a freshman and having to be the communicator for the team with all these older girls made it tougher,” Davino-Draper said.

Davino-Draper said the main thing she has been working on this year is becoming a better communicator for her defense.

“So far I’ve kind of lived in my own world, focusing on stopping shots, but at this level, the position has much more responsibilities, having to organize the entire defense,” Davino-Draper said.

Watson said she has been impressed with her rookie goalie so far, and expects her to continue to improve.

“She’s quick, has good reflexes, and she sees the field really well,” Watson said. “She has some growing to do, but that’s the nature of playing a freshman.”

Much like Dormio, Davino-Draper had to win the trust of teammates early on in the season.

“I think they look for them [freshmen] to have a few good outings, and if they deserve it [trust], they’ve earned it.”

Davino-Draper said she felt the upperclassmen were watching her to prove herself early, and she felt she needed to constantly reestablish herself on the team. However, she said her teammates were very supportive of her being new to the team, and helped her get into the system.

Davino-Draper has been a big part of the success this team has had this season, compiling six shutouts so far.

Both Dormio and Davino-Draper have played well and earned their spots. When players become key starters so soon in their careers, it is likely they will be important pieces for the programs to build around for the next several years.


Ryan Glavey can be contacted at rglavey@keene-equinox.com

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