St. Clare’s grad teaches team discipline

The St. Clare’s Jaguars Varsity Girls Softball Team. Photo by Patrick Rocchio

St. Clare’s School has a special girls’ volleyball coach, who has volunteered her time since 1992 to teach team discipline.

St. Clare’s of Assisi school’s has been part of the Youth Volleyball League, consisting of 12 Catholic schools in the Bronx and Westchester counties, for almost two decades.

The Jaguars have a junior varsity team is for girls in the grades four through six. St. Clare’s varsity Jaguars team for girls in the 7th and 8th grades. Coach Allison Doherty said that there is no secret to what makes her group of young women successful on the court.

“It is constant practice, constant keeping after them, constant letting them know what to do and what not to do,” Doherty, who grew up in the Bronx and attended St. Clare’s, said. “If you work hard and continually improve your game, you grow.”

Doherty played volleyball in high school at Cardinal Spellman and for three years in college at New York University. She currently works as an Information Technologies specialist at Deutsche Bank. After leaving the NYU girls volleyball team, she began volunteering at St. Clare’s, and has been volunteering her time for two nights a week for practice, as well as extra time for games, ever since.

“I just love the sport and the kids are great, and I want them to play well,” Doherty said.

Doherty stated that while she cannot pinpoint the most rewarding part of her volunteer work, she offered a glimpse into what has motivated her to give so freely of her time.

“I think that when I see a fourth grader getting their serve over the net for the first time it is pretty incredible,” Doherty stated.

According to parent Steve DeMartis, what makes Doherty different from other coaches is that she has a greater sense of team unity, and demands excellence in every aspect.

“She comes to practice in uniform, and demands that the kids do so too,” DeMartis, whose daughter Morgan plays on the team, said. “She insists that all of the kids wear the same kind of ribbons in their hair, which she makes. If a girl comes to a game without the ribbon, she cannot play. She also purchased a volleyball net and covers for the coach’s stand with ‘St. Clare’s Jaguars’ printed on them. She used her own money, and later collected donations for the equipment.”

DeMartis added: “She is just phenomenal in what she does. As a parent of one of the eighth grade varsity players, I cannot thank Allison enough for her dedication to the girls, the school, and the league. I am also grateful for her teaching the girls to be the best they can be.”

The Jaguar’s varsity team has had seven undefeated seasons under Doherty since 1995, while the junior varsity’s team has gone undefeated twice.

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