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Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 3:15pm

Mercy senior Imani DeBose is playing the best volleyball of her life.

Last week the transfer student from the former College of New Rochelle (CNR) was named ECC Player of the Week and is currently the ECC leader in “kills.” For the uninitiated, “kills” is the term for an unreturnable shot that leads to a point for the scoring team or stops a rally by the opposing team.

Yet one year ago, DeBose’s future was so uncertain she wasn’t even sure where she’d be attending college.

DeBose, who grew up in Southern California, was a natural athlete who began playing volleyball as a high school freshman in Carson, California, where her parents and younger brother still reside. She was recruited to CNR’s Division III team, where she also enrolled in the media studies and communication program. She was well into her third year, thriving academically and helping her team win accolades on the volleyball court, when she learned that CNR would be closing its doors in August 2019.

That was in the fall of 2018. When DeBose heard the news, her first reaction was disbelief, followed by a deep concern about transferring and wondering whether she could still graduate on time. She and her fellow athletes were still exploring options when they learned that Mercy College and CNR had entered into an agreement that would allow CNR students to transfer seamlessly to Mercy. “All the stress went away at that point,” she said.

When Debose tried out for — and was accepted to — the women’s Division II volleyball team at Mercy, she knew right away she would be facing stiff competition. “In high school and at CNR, I had always been one of the best players,” she said. “Now I could see I’d been a big fish in a little pond. Playing on a Division II team, you really have to up your game.”

Transferring to a new school in senior year can be stressful for anyone. “It was like being a freshman all over again,” said DeBose. But, she added, “my teammates are amazing, and they’ve made me feel welcome. I’m super happy to still be playing volleyball.”

In Mercy’s supportive atmosphere, DeBose has settled in well, and keeps improving her game. The accolades and wins are rolling in again — this time for the Mavericks.