September 30, 2020 – By NJP

River Dell is coming off an 11-10 season but has a world of optimism heading into the redesigned Girls High School season in February 2021. They return a ton of varsity talent including senior Emily Newman. Emily is expected to be the senior leader that can make the difference in a Big North Patriot division that has 5 teams in the NJP top 60 preseason ranks along with perenial state champs Demarest who is the NJP #4 team in NJ.

Emily has all the tools to have an absolute break out season. Her extra time in the gym and privates will pay dividends for her senior year. She has the agility and versatility to play upfront and get blocks and kills as well as the finesse and speed to make pancake saves and dime passes. And the best part is, she is a setter for her club team. True versatility is a major strength and Emily has that in spades.

Emily was a major contributor last season for the Golden Hawks notching 51 kills, 23 blocks, 161 digs, and a team leading 32 aces. This season, Emily will have plenty of support from senior Katelyn Kucharshi and juniors Kayla Depol, Emma Eholt, Sophia Firneno, and Davan McHale. In addition to Demarest, River Dell will need to get a jump start and stay ahead of Indian Hills, Tenafly, and Pascack Valley who are all top teams in a loaded Patriot Division.

Newman is looking at Dlll colleges currently and will be a great addtion to any program who needs a versatile and gritty student athlete who is super talented and will get better every year going forward.

Here is our interview with Ms. Newman…

Tell us a bit about yourself, Emily?

My name is Emily Newman. I live in River Edge, NJ with my mom, dad, and older sister, Amanda. I am a senior in the class of 2021 at River Dell Regional High School. I have two small dogs named Sugar and Bear. Besides playing volleyball, I like to dance, cook, play the ukulele, crochet, and spend time with friends and family. 

How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?

From kindergarten to 8th grade, I was involved in almost every sport available in River Edge through REGAL (River Edge Girls Athletic League). I played basketball, softball, soccer, and even did gymnastics and rock climbing for a few years. In 5th grade, REGAL offered a volleyball clinic. My mom had played volleyball growing up and encouraged me to go to this clinic. Once I went, I instantly fell in love with the sport and knew I wanted to continue playing volleyball in the future.

What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?

I am 5’9 setter and will be playing for DIGS volleyball club in the upcoming club season. For the last two seasons at River Dell, I have played middle blocker all around the court. Setting is my favorite, but I feel comfortable playing any position.

Tell us about your Golden Hawk teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?

I look forward to seeing how far the team can go this year. We were a relatively young team last year so we will return with deep varsity experience at all grade levels. We have five returning seniors who have been playing together since middle school. Our senior squad will set the foundation for our team chemistry and camaraderie on and off the court. Our returning juniors and sophomores also bring solid varsity experience, including a few starters from last season. Several of my teammates also play club volleyball, so I’m confident that we are ready to step up our game and improve upon our standings from last season. It should be a very successful season for us!

NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing in College? (If so, which ones are you looking at?)

Yes, I plan on playing in college at the Division III level. While the pandemic has made the process more challenging due to canceled fall seasons and restrictions on visiting schools, I have a few opportunities that I am excited to learn more about!

A big hug for Mom on Middle School senior night

Tell us about your club experience at SideOut Sports?

Sideout Sports has been my home since I first started there in 8th grade. I have learned so much about the game of volleyball and improved my skills exponentially thanks to the SOSVBC coaches. In addition to the great coaching, I have made lifelong friendships and everlasting memories. Club volleyball is my happy place, and I am excited to continue playing club with DIGS in the upcoming season!

After finishing 11-10 in 2019, RD returns a large chunk of varsity players. What do you expect from this years team?

I have high hopes for the upcoming season. We do have a lot of returning varsity players which will give us an advantage in terms of experience and skill level. Our varsity team gets along on and off the court and we have a lot of chemistry. As a team, we are very dedicated and will work very hard to have another successful season.

River Dell Athletics (@RiverDellHawks) | Twitter

You are primed for an outstanding senior year after 3 years at varsity, progressing each season with improved stats over the prior year. You lead the team in aces as a junior as well, finishing second on the team in blocks, digs and kills. What are your goals for 2021?

While I always strive to improve my all around game play season to season, I really hope to use my several years of varsity experience to be a team leader on the court. As we anticipate a shorter, more compact season in 2021, we will need to stay very focused from day one. I hope to use my experience and knowledge of our opponents strengths and weaknesses to help us be more prepared to face them.

The Big North can be a nasty place to play with a very high level of competition. NJP projects River Dell in the top 45 overall in NJ, 7th in the Big North and third in the Patriot. What will it take to stay even with your perennial rival Demarest?

By now, we have gotten to know Demarest’s team pretty well so we know what to expect from them. Our matches against Demarest are always filled with high energy and very competitive. Since we are returning with plenty of varsity experience, I am confident in our abilities and I know that we have what it takes to beat the Norsemen. 

Emily with her Mom, Dad, and Sister

What do you do during the offseason to stay in shape and prepare for next year? Do you play other sports? (if so, which ones?)

Between the high school and club seasons, I stay in shape by completing my own workouts at home. I try to do some cardio such as running or biking and some strengthening exercises a few times a week.

Who has been your favorite Coach while playing club or high school volleyball?

It would be impossible for me to pick just one coach to be my favorite. My high school coach, Dianne Furusawa, has trained me to compete at a high level and her energy and support is remarkable. My club coaches have also significantly contributed to my athletic growth, specifically Justin Beaumont and Jeff Gogates. The coaches at SOSVBC have meticulously developed my technical skills, pushed me to my full potential, and helped me obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the game.

Who is your support group?

My biggest support group is my family. All my family members motivate and encourage me to always do my best. My biggest cheerleaders are definitely my parents. I truly appreciate all the time, money, and energy they put into my athletic career and I am so blessed to have parents who are willing to sacrifice their own time to support me. It also makes me so happy when I look up in the stands and see all my grandparents cheering me on in the River Dell stands. 

Have you won any awards such as All County or All State or others?

I was awarded 1st Team All Division in 2019 and 2nd Team All Division in 2018.

How are you and your family dealing with current world situation with COVID-19? How will the delay in the Fall high school season schedule effect you or your team?

My family and I have been social distancing, wearing masks, and washing our hands as much as possible during the current pandemic. My sister, who is currently a freshman in college, tested positive for COVID-19 and spent 10 days in isolation. Fortunately, she only faced mild symptoms, but it reminds us that this virus is still very real and can impact anyone. The delay in the high school season should not have a huge impact on our team. We have been working out and developing our skills individually in the extended off-season. Many of us are also part of a fall league hosted by SOSVBC, where we get to scrimmage against some of the best players and teams in North Jersey. This league has been a great way for us to play together and get the rust off.

What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?

I plan on studying Health Sciences in college and one day getting a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics. I have always been fascinated by nutrition and think it will be a great career path for me to pursue. My coaches would even tease me for always being the one eating healthy snacks between games at tournaments.

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Golden Hawks (L-R) Katelyn Kucharski, Katie Golden, Nicolle Dragotta, Emily Newman, and Sarah Gilmour

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