February 10, 2020 – By NJP
Teaneck had an amazing year in 2019 finishing in the top 30 final ranking in the state and posting a 19-4 overall record. They were 18-2 in the Big North and they retain all but 4 seniors for 2020. With over 50% of their statistical points remaining, we expect the Highwayman to continue their winning ways. NJP has them with a pre-season ranking of #22. Despite having some big shoes to fill by losing outside Manny Peralta and libero Mikhail Kabiling, the team has high hopes with 7 returning varsity players that will be seniors. One of those seniors is Ray Dundon.
Ray contributed across the board toward the teams 2019 success. His versatility was a key ingredient in the teams performance. He led the team in assists with 305, had 119 digs, 24 blocks, 91 kills, and 18 aces. It will be interesting to determine what role Ray will have after tryouts, but no doubt it will be a substantial one.
Ray is a dual sport athlete. He is an outstanding swimmer as well and has finished in first place in eight races this season. He is a leader in both sports and has the right mentality and toughness to bring out the best in his team. His passion for volleyball comes thru strongly in his words below.
Here is our interview with Ray…
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Raymond Dundon and I am a senior at Teaneck High School. I moved from Jersey City to Teaneck and have lived here basically all my life. I have a family of five including me, two older sisters, and loving parents. My Dad is Irish-American and my Mom is Filipino. I do swimming in the winter and of course volleyball in the spring/summer.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I started playing volleyball my freshman year of high school and simply fell in love with the sport. I do remember in the 8th grade, my gym teacher said that I should join the high school volleyball team after seeing that I was having fun simply playing volleyball. If I am being honest, I think the biggest reason why I love this sport so much is that I get to play it with my friends. They are some of the biggest motivators for me and have made me infatuated with volleyball.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc… What’s your favorite position to play?
Currently I stand at 6 feet and 2 inches, weigh around 175-180 pounds, and my dominant hand is my left hand. I haven’t officially measured my vertical jump, but my standing vertical jump (Reach) is 10 feet and 2 inches. My primary position is setter but sometimes I will get the chance to be a opposite hitter. I don’t have any club experience due to financial circumstances however, it drives me to be a better player and work harder.
Which player last season was the toughest competitor that you faced and why?
I have faced many tough players and hard teams my junior year but the one player that stood out to me was Dylan Anderson on Bergen Catholic. Every time he stepped on the court he showed confidence in his team to help relieve the pressure. From the way he performed, you can tell that he put in the time and effort into playing volleyball and deserves to have recognition from not just me but a lot of other players.
How will your high school team do in the upcoming season? Do you have a lot of returning players? What will be the key to success?
I am excited for my last high school season of volleyball. After last season’s performance I think that there is a lot of pressure of repeating a high-performing season, especially after losing seniors like Jaden Kelly, Mikhail Kabiling, Charles Pampliega, and Manny Peralta. Nevertheless, the pressure only excites and motivates my teammates and I. We have a lot of new spots to fill but I’m positive Coach Mac can overcome this obstacle and use his judgement to pinpoint who should take over these spots. I think the key to success for us is mental toughness. Having the mentality of champions, always striving for more, giving it your very best, and just a little more.
Have you won any awards such as All County or All State or others?
Yes, my junior year I received 4 major awards. My individual awards were, First Team all League, First Team all County, and Second Team all Section. The one I am most proud of is our team’s Undefeated League Champions award. What makes this award so special is that this was the first ever title Teaneck received in our volleyball program. It was a tremendous accomplishment from my team last year. What makes this award even more special to me was the fact that we were undefeated in the league which also made this title sound better..
Which schools are your biggest rivals?
I consider Hackensack to be our rival school for all sports. The Teaneck versus Hackensack rivalry in volleyball is not as prevalent in other sports like basketball or football but we do have a strong rivalry against each other regardless. There were also some other schools that put up a fight against us like Bergenfield, Don Bosco, and Bergen Catholic. We would go to three sets and have 30 point sets with these teams but what gave us the advantage over these teams was like i said before, our mental toughness. The ability to remain focused on the court and keep playing through the fatigue in our limbs helped up get the win with these teams.
What is your favorite volleyball story?
My sophomore year playing volleyball, we were against PCTI and it was their senior night. They were on a rally and closing the gap against us. My friend Andrew goes to me and says if the ball comes to me, we are going to run a quick ball. PCTI serves it directly to him and Andrew gives me the perfect pass. All I had to do is set the ball, I am jumping up getting ready to jump set him the ball and instead of setting the ball my mind goes blank and I catch the ball. Everything goes quiet, the officials, the stands, the teams all go quiet. Then a burst of laughter filled the gym and I became embarrassed. Andrew was mad at me for messing the play up then the official says “I have never seen anyone catch the ball in the middle of a game”.
Who is your favorite teammate and why?
My favorite teammate is Andrew Agas. He is a childhood friend and my neighbor. We share the same drive for volleyball and deserve to be recognized by others. He moves on the court explosive and fast. His short stature is beaten by his vertical jump. He is someone I can depend on if I get an off pass or off receive. Knowing that he is on the court relieves some pressure because I know I can set the ball to wherever he is and he can do something special with it. I want to shout out other teammates like Kairo Jackson and Michael D’onofrio because they are the ones that help me look good on the court. Kairo Jackson’s natural athleticism shines when we are running quick ball’s to shake the opposing team’s defense. Michael Donofrio setting me up perfect to run back row attacks while being sneaky tipping the ball over catching the opposing team off guard.