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Gabby Darnaby an all-around force for Newfield

Newfield middle hitter Gabrielle Darnaby.

Newfield middle hitter Gabrielle Darnaby. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Gabby Darnaby is one of the best girls volleyball players to ever play at Newfield.

That's according to her coach, Christy Innes, who has known Darnaby since fifth grade and coached her since eighth -- Darnaby's first year on varsity.

"She's an all-around, strong player," Innes said. "Whereas a lot of players dominate in the front- or backcourt, she does both."

Darnaby plays middle hitter for the Wolverines, but Innes acknowledged that middle might not even be her best position. She plays outside hitter on her club team. That's where she was heavily recruited by Canisius, for which she'll play next season.

Darnaby has been the driving force behind Newfield's 9-4 record in Suffolk III entering play Friday, recording 415 kills and 105 blocks through Tuesday.

Darnaby credits her teammates for her success this season.

"The team has been training much more than we have in the past," she said. "We've been working so hard. That's the difference [in my game].

"Whenever the setter sets me up on a good set, I know I'm going to put it down."

And after she puts it down, she erupts.

"When I play, I get very excited," Darnaby said, laughing. "I let everyone know how excited I get. Everyone gets excited when you get excited."

Innes called her a passionate, fiery player who "stirs the pot" for the Wolverines. That's what makes her the team's leader, both emotionally and by example.

On Newfield's senior recognition night before a match against Smithtown East on Wednesday, Darnaby was honored with a ball and a trophy to go inside the school's trophy case for reaching 1,000 kills with the Wolverines.

Her success, according to Innes, comes from her natural instincts on the court. She anticipates the other team's hits and strategies, which allow her to play well both defensively and on the attack.

As for weaknesses, good luck finding one.

"She doesn't have a lot of weaknesses when it comes to her skill level," Innes said. "She's always going to see what she needs to do better. But she knows what she can do and she knows what she needs to work on."

Right now, Darnaby's goal is to work on her speed and agility to prepare for the faster pace of college volleyball. She said she's been lifting weights and hitting the gym hard to get ready.

Given her dedication, Innes doesn't doubt that Darnaby will reach her goal.

"She has always loved volleyball," Innes said. "She has her own internal drive to get better and dominate the game."

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