Dominique DeMuro enjoys helping her friends and her teammates. And some day, she will enjoy helping those who can’t help themselves.
DeMuro is the lone senior on the Saints Neumann-Goretti High School girls volleyball team and has the responsibility of nurturing younger teammates in hopes of building a strong program for the future. She’s excellent at that task, and she hopes to take it to a whole new level as she wants to someday be a prenatal nurse.
“I love babies,” said DeMuro, a member of the school’s National Honor Society. “I just want to be able to help people when they are sick. And be there for them. It’s a really important job.”
As the world needs good nurses, the Saints’ volleyball team has needed players like DeMuro to help strengthen a program that has experienced struggles in the powerful Philadelphia Catholic League.
The Saints were 1-8 in league play this season following a sweep by Archbishop Ryan on Oct. 14 and just two games left on the schedule. Neumann-Goretti has finished near the bottom of the standings in recent years as the small South Philly school has had trouble competing with the big dogs of the PCL.
The Saints are hoping to bridge the gap and players like DeMuro are vitally needed to help young players endure the losses while keeping a positive outlook, especially when the 2020 season was largely lost to COVID.
“It’s been fun,” DeMuro said. “I feel like I can be a leader for the underclassmen out there that are younger than me. I want to be there for them when they make mistakes and pick them up afterwards. We get along really well. We’re really close. It really is like a family here.”
DeMuro learned her positivity and had her first glimpse of leadership skills when she first picked up volleyball during her freshman year.
She soaked in the lessons that were made available to her.
“There were a few girls on the team that really impacted the way that I wanted to play and I looked up to them,” DeMuro said. “They were standup leaders and that’s what made me want to keep playing. I wanted to be like them during my senior year and become captain.”
Now she is the captain. And her positivity is infectious.
“She makes it fun,” junior Alexa Vivanco said. “She’s super reliable on the court and I know I always know she has my back.”
Although the Saints could have about a dozen seniors on their team next year, replacing one DeMuro will be a challenge.
“Next year is going to be difficult without her as we’re going to have to train someone to take her spot for next season,” Saints coach Ashley Joyner said. “But she’s irreplaceable. She gives her all and works hard on the court so she’s someone that all the girls look up to.”
Those lessons will remain on the volleyball court after she’s gone.
“I’ve learned to not be so hard on yourself,” DeMuro said. “Always be positive. Being negative is never going to get you anywhere.”