The Walton boys volleyball team had its best season ever in the spring. The Wildcats handed powerhouse John F. Kennedy their first league loss since 2001, shared the division crown with the Knights and advanced to the PSAL quarterfinals for the first time.
Solanch Lantigua didn’t miss any of it.
“I went to all the games,” she said.
The practices, too. It inspired her to join the Walton girls volleyball team. Wednesday she led the Wildcats to a season-opening victory over Clinton, 25-10, 16-25, 25-16, in PSAL Bronx A1.
What made the win ironic was that it came against Clinton, the team guided by the Walton boys coach: Andrea Milsome. And on the Governors bench were some of Milsome’s Walton players.
“A lot of the credit for that win goes to her,” Milsome said of Lantigua
Walton coach Varvara Marinescu was beside herself with joy after the victory. The Wildcats won just twice all of last year, her first as coach, and have worked incredibly hard to improve upon that record this year. Marinescu, herself, was never a volleyball person before she began coaching Walton, but has joined recreational leagues to pick up the sport.
“I had to devote myself as much as my players devote themselves,” Marinescu said.
Neither coach would say there’s a rivalry between the two teams, despite the kinship between them. Milsome, who works at Clinton, said it felt weird when she first started coaching Walton, but it doesn’t feel that way anymore. Marinescu said the Clinton match is just like one against Lehman or John F. Kennedy. But she does admire Milsome and her success.
And on Wednesday, Walton prevailed.