By Greg Tartaglia – Record Sports
HARRISON – Madison Lucas can count on her father to attend almost every one of her volleyball matches at Harrison High School. The same goes for Kierrah Lucas and her uncle.
The key word Thursday was, “almost.”
“Tonight, he’s actually doing his TV show for the Jets,” Madison said after the Blue Tide defeated North Arlington.
Such was life for the daughter and niece of SNY personality Ray Lucas, at least for one day. The former New York Jets quarterback (and Harrison alum) is typically a regular at Blue Tide matches, and he was in attendance Tuesday when the team defeated Secaucus for the first time since 2002.
“He’s always here showing his support,” said Madison, the middle of Ray’s three daughters. “Every time I feel a little bit of pressure during the game, I can always look at him, and he’ll make sure that I’m calm… he’s really big about, ‘Keep pushing forward, forget about the mistake and move on’.”
That notion ostensibly went a long way toward the Blue Tide overcoming its Hudson County rival, 27-29, 25-10, 25-22.
“Even though I felt like I was going to pass out half the Secaucus match, at the end, it felt amazing,” said Kierrah, the youngest daughter of Ray’s sister. “And just to see how happy our coach was, that meant so much to us.”
“I was a junior in high school,” Harrison coach Anthony Sabia recalled of his team’s last prior win over Secaucus. “I remember because it was my friends that beat them.”
Madison, a 5-foot-8 setter, and Kierrah, a 5-2 opposite hitter, are two of seven senior starters that have powered the Blue Tide to a 5-1 start through Thursday. The former leads the team with 101 assists, while the latter served five aces against North Arlington to bring her season total to eight.
“They’ve been with the program since they were sixth-graders,” Sabia said of the cousins. “They were on our first-ever middle school team. … a lot of the girls that are seniors now played in sixth grade, so this is six years of work finally starting to pay off.”
Outside hitter Jailyn Montilla leads Harrison in kills (45) and digs (61) and is tied with fellow OH Chelsea Ramos for the team lead with 10 aces apiece. Libero Alyssa DaSilveira has 53 digs, and middles Julia Farkas and Jacqueline Mulrenan have combined for 39 kills and eight blocks.
Harrison is coming off back-to-back 15-11 seasons and graduated only one starter from the squad that advanced to last season’s Group 1 Round of 16.
Therein lies another trait that traditionally follows the Lucases – winning. Ray was a three-year starter at QB on the football team before graduating in 1991 and led the Blue Tide to a 23-4-1 record, plus a trip to the 1989 state playoffs.
“He just always puts a smile on our face,” Kierrah said of her uncle. “As a family, we spend a lot of time together. We’re very into making sure that all of us are positive together.”