Dunmore Soccer Goalie Olivia Leo Selected All Regional

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior soccer goalie Olivia Leo knows how to turn a lemon into lemonade.

The stalwart scholar-athlete knew it would be a difficult senior year with the COVID-19 pandemic in full force, but she worked and studied hard, remained positive and was awarded with an All Regional selection as a soccer goalkeeper. 

Daughter of Lisa and Mario Leo, Dunmore, the senior goalkeeper is captain of the Lady Bucks soccer team. She recorded 89 saves and had eight clean sheets while leading the team to a 9-6-1 record and a first round Division 2 playoff win. This was her first All Regional selection.

“I was shocked and did not expect this,” Olivia, 17, said. “I was really excited to end the year on such a good note. It is an honor to be both a first-team all-star and All Regional. I owe this honor to my teammates and coaches.”

Olivia’s soccer coach at Dunmore is Dan Badyrka. “I give him a lot of credit,” she said. “He made me a much better soccer player. He made the whole team better. We got him as a coach this year and honestly he really got our team well prepared for each game. He is one of the best coaches I ever had. I learned a lot from him. 

“He really loves the game and you can tell.”

Olivia is a four-year member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks soccer team. She has a 93 academic average and is a member of the National Honor Society. She is the treasurer of SADD and a member of the French Club and Art Club.

The All Regional goalkeeper has received an offer to play soccer at Fisher College in Boston, Massachusetts, but is undecided on a college choice at present. Olivia wants to major in criminal justice and eventually become a police officer.

She has learned a lot about life lessons from her parents. “My mom and dad tell me to take more risks in life. They tell me to live the life I want. And if I do that, it will be a good life.”

Olivia said she likes listening to music in her spare time and would like to see Hallsy, a pop-punk group, in concert.

She talked about her future goals. “I want to go to college, play more soccer, graduate and become a police officer. That would be a nice life for me with a future husband and kids. I want to live my life happy.”

Olivia, articulate and kind hearted, said the past year living with a world wide COVID pandemic has not been easy, but she remains positive. “It has been very difficult to not be in class and get the teacher’s input right there. But the teachers are going through these hard times too and are working through it like us. We are all trying to stay positive and get past it.”

She has enjoyed her Dunmore experience despite the COVID setbacks the school district has faced. “This year has been very difficult not to be in class as a senior, but overall I loved it,” she said. “I have been at the same complex since pre school. My best friend, Alexandra Santasiero, and I have been together from pre school right through senior year. We are stuck together like glue. I love it at Dunmore. I’ve made my best friends here from grade school on up.”

Olivia, very well spoken, talked about what it takes to excel as a soccer goalkeeper in high school. “You need to rely a lot and have trust in your teammates,” she said. “It is not an easy position to play. With trust in your teammates, it is easier to do what I do. There is a lot of practice involved. You really have to know the game.”

She continued to credit her teammates for her own success. “I could not have done any of this without my teammates,” the humble and team oriented senior said. “The other three seniors on the team – Gia Levis, Abby Springer and Anna Talutto – and I started freshman year together and we all grew closer through senior year. 

“I would not have accomplished any of this without them or the others on the team or my coaches. I am grateful to all of them and to be a part of this team for the four years.” 

Dunmore Sophomore Ciera Toomey Earns Second All Region For Golf

By Steve Svetovich

Work hard when no one is looking. That’s the mantra for Dunmore sophomore Ciera Toomey. 

The Dunmore sophomore is well known throughout the area for her basketball skills, but has proven to be multi-talented with her second All Region selection for golf. 

Daughter of Carrie and Patrick Toomey, Dunmore, Ciera earned the first girls’ golf medal for Dunmore High School with fourth place in the PIAA Class 2A tournament posting 7-over 79. 

She won a spot in states by finishing second in Division 2 with a score of 81, then claiming a one-hole playoff. 

She won the Scott Greens Invitational title with 3 over 36. 

Those who follow the local basketball scene, know about Ciera’s accomplishments as well as those of her older sister Victoria and mom, the former Carrie Bowen, on the hardwood. Victoria is currently a sophomore basketball player at Rider University. 

“I was very excited when I heard about my All Regional golf selection,” Ciera said. “There are a lot of other great golfers in this area. A lot of the others considered are my friends.

“Girls’ golf is a team sport. You need three top scores to win as a team. You need to push your teammates and work together to win.”

Ciera said she continued to develop her golf skills through constant practice. 

The hard driving sophomore said her Dunmore golf coach Robert Coyle gives her positive feedback. “He always tells me to go out there and try my hardest and never focus on mistakes.”

Ciera said her parents have taught her a lot regarding hard work. “My parents always tell me to work hard when no one is watching. And you should want to work even harder when no one is looking. They tell me if you work hard all the time, then things will come easier. Practice as much as possible. Work hard when no one else is.”

As a freshman forward-center on the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team last season, Ciera was one of the league’s leading scorers averaging over 16 points per contest. She also averaged over seven rebounds per game. The Lady Bucks playoff run was halted due to COVID-19.

Ciera, confident and well spoken, said she was introduced to golf at a young age. “I am lucky,” she said. “My dad introduced me to golf when I was in the second grade. I learned all the basics from him and have been playing golf for eight years now.”

The sophomore scholar-athlete has an impressive 97 academic average and is a member of the French Club. Her best subject is math. 

A high achiever by nature, Ciera is undecided about a future college. However, she wants to continue her basketball career and possibly study engineering in college. 

Ciera was working hard in practice to prepare for the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball season when more statewide COVID restrictions were imposed, halting workouts until at least January 4. 

“We had four days of basketball practice and then it was cut short,” Ciera said. “We are supposed to start back after January 4. I think there will be a basketball season. We are all remaining positive.” 

Ciera, when she finds the time, enjoys listening to music. She likes Labrinth, a pop music artist. 

Thought provoking and intelligent on and off the golf course and hardwood, Ciera said she loves Dunmore. “I have been on this campus since elementary school and love it. The Dunmore school district and community itself is unmatched. The support you get for sports at Dunmore is unmatched. The teachers and coaches are extremely supportive. I love this town and this community.” 

Dunmore Volleyball Senior Elisa Delfino is All Regional

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior Elisa Delfino just started playing volleyball last year as a junior without initially knowing a lot about the game.

She learned quickly. 

Elisa was selected late last month as an All Regional volleyball player for the 2020 season. 

She led Dunmore to the Lackawanna League championship playoff match and District 2 Class 2A playoffs.

Daughter of Joe and Melissa Delfino, Dunmore, Elisa was a Lackawanna coaches’ first team all-star. She had 115 kills, 56 serving points with 18 aces, seven blocks and 11 digs. 

In her career, she had 245 kills, 56 serving points with 18 aces, 13 blocks and 11 digs. This was her first All Regional selection. 

Sue Dempsey is the volleyball coach at Dunmore. Trevor Holmes is the assistant.

“They taught me everything I know about volleyball,” said Elisa. “I didn’t even know there were only six players on the court. I came in as a junior not really knowing the rules of the game. They taught me the basics and it went from there.”

And her reaction to being selected All Regional as a senior? 

“I am very thankful that I had the coaches who helped me get there,” she said.

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

“I really regret not starting playing volleyball sooner. I started as a junior and learned the game so fast. Volleyball is an easy game to pick up once you start playing on a regular basis. It is a lot of fun.”

The talented senior has a 94 academic average and is also a key member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team. She is a member of the French Club, Spanish Club, Earth Club, SADD and TACT at Dunmore. Her best subject is psychology.

The scholar-athlete has been selected as player of the game and player of the month for her volleyball skills. 

Elisa said she would like to study business administration/marketing with a minor in psychology and continue her basketball career in college. Her sister Gianna was a standout basketball player for the Dunmore Lady Bucks. So basketball is in her blood. 

She talked about her future goals. “It is going to be hard for me to stop playing sports. I want to play basketball and do well in college. I want to finish college, be successful and start a family. I will never stop playing sports. I love it too much. I will play in recreation leagues after college. I am pretty sure of that.”

Elisa said she likes listening to music in her spare time and would love to see Ariana Grande in concert. 

A four-year member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team as a shooting guard and forward, Elisa is also a football cheerleader. 

A middle hitter in volleyball, she talked about what it takes to excel in the sport. “It takes teamwork and commitment. That is the main thing. Then it all falls into place.”

The multi talented and versatile senior said her parents taught her a lot. “They always tell me to stick to things and keep trying. They tell me to not get discouraged when things do not work out.” 

Elisa talked about the impact of COVID-19 on herself and classmates. “It has been hard on us, but at the same time has strengthened the team and bond we have together. It has brought us closer. 

“It was tough on our basketball team last year. We were on a good roll in the playoffs and the season suddenly came to a halt. We were playing well as a team and thought we had a good chance of going all the way.”

Elisa said she is enjoying her Dunmore High School experience. “I really like Dunmore a lot,” she said. “It is a tight community. Everybody knows everybody. Dunmore is like one big family.”