FIREPOWER: Southern Regional junior hitter Lucas Kean is a person of 7 players returning to the lineup this spring, as the Rams equipment up to make an additional operate at a doable point out championship, which eluded them final year. (Photographs by David Biggy)
The term “rebuilding” hasn’t been element of Eric Maxwell’s vocabulary in at the very least a dozen several years. It is just a truth – the Southern Regional boys volleyball application just doesn’t use the phrase.
“We lost a whole lot of expertise and encounter subsequent final time, but we sense actually fantastic about the expertise that is in our health club ideal now,” claimed Maxwell, whose squad accomplished a 31-2 year a yr back by ending as the point out runner-up to Old Bridge. “We will be incredibly fantastic and assume nothing at all considerably less than a excursion to South Brunswick in early June for the state’s Remaining 4. Our out-of-period club proceeds to feed our program with terrific figures of proficient athletes and volleyball gamers. These men place an outstanding volume of time in in the course of the fall and winter season months to be completely ready for the substantial school year.”
By now, nobody in Ocean County and further than must doubt the ability of Southern’s program. The Rams have been to the condition last 11 of the past 12 times, the exception getting 2020 – when the condition event did not happen because the spring sporting activities period was knocked out by the COVID-19 pandemic – and captured six state crowns considering the fact that 2009. Southern also has a absurd 297-7 all-time document from Shore Conference opponents.
“The anticipations will not improve,” Maxwell mentioned. “We anticipate to be in contention when we enter the postseason, and we’re extra than prepared to challenge the rest of the condition for an additional point out championship.”
Besides this season, the Rams have a somewhat little team from final year’s squad to, rather virtually, develop around – 7 players return to the court docket right after the crew graduated 11 seniors final June. Amid that team are seniors Gavin Bates (middle blocker), Matt Leonard (setter/hitter), Matt Rekuc (hitter), Nick Piserchia (defensive professional) and Finn Olcott (libero), together with junior Lucas Kean (hitter) and sophomore Angelo Addiego (setter).
Maxwell expects to employ numerous massive fellas, seniors Drew McNellis (6-foot-5) and Nick DiMaria (6-foot-7), to offer a great deal of enable at the internet and junior defensive expert Landon Davis to give added help to the again row.
“We have some adaptability with what we can do offensively,” Maxwell said. “We have two guys who deal with the ball nicely from the setter posture and it may perhaps just be a matter of matchups in phrases of what we do on any supplied day. I like the possibilities that we have. Our size on your own will be a defensive power and it will complement the back again row defense that will occur from Olcott, Piserchia and Davis.”
The rest of the squad features juniors Ethan Brummer (setter/defensive professional), Chris Prosperi (blocker/hitter) and Jonah Small (defensive professional/hitter), and sophomores Caden Schubiger (hitter/defensive specialist) and Jack McKenna (hitter).
“I really like what I see in the fitness center just about every working day,” Maxwell stated. “We have a group of devoted younger adult men who are very very good volleyball players. They are also quite hungry for a state title, and just as crucial is the group chemistry they have made. It’s even now early, but these men have place a lot of time in with each other and I know they will continue to get superior as the time unfolds. It is going to be an remarkable year.”
To Go Up
GO-TO Person: Pinelands Regional junior Brogan Duelly led the Wildcats in kills last spring, when they broke on to the varsity volleyball scene, and should really be among the the leaders of the squad this spring.
In its to start with varsity year last calendar year, Pinelands Regional gave mentor Kathy Bennett a lot to smile about, and this spring the Wildcats should really be an enhanced squad.
“As we start off only our second season, the workforce enthusiasm has been incredibly superior,” explained Bennett, whose Wildcats completed 12-9 and 5-5 in the division very last period. “The workforce is wanting forward to striving to exceed previous season. Our timetable definitely has upgraded, but we look forward to the challenges. Our intention will be to qualify for the Shore Meeting Event yet again as properly as the point out tournament.”
Performing so suggests all 12 of the returning players to the lineup will have to up their games this spring, and Bennett’s anticipating just that, particularly from seniors Aiden Skeie (blocker/hitter), who led the workforce with 18 blocks final period, and Nick Daleo (hitter/blocker), junior Brogan Duelly (hitter), who led the Wildcats with 118 kills past yr, and sophomore Ethan Woods (hitter/blocker).
But the Wildcats have a great deal of depth and additional expert players completely ready to phase up and engage in greater roles, together with seniors Connor Johnston (defensive professional) and Patrick O’Brian (defensive expert/setter), juniors Aaron Johnson (hitter), Ryan McCorry (defensive expert), Ryan May perhaps (defensive professional) and Connor Bonicky (hitter), and sophomores Dan Brunke (setter), who experienced 209 assists a 12 months in the past, and Andrew Albright (defensive professional).
Becoming a member of the group this year are seniors Corey Conway (blocker/hitter) and Dhruv Singh (hitter), juniors Joe Cardillo (hitter), Thomas Thornton (hitter/blocker), Rex Heuston (defensive specialist) and Mike Hall (hitter).
“Last season, everything was new for us, but we learned so a great deal as a method,” Bennett explained. “We believe that practical experience will set us up to go the program ahead this year.”
‘Great Combination’ —
Beware of the Bengals
In the meantime, in Barnegat mentor Karla Jennings totally expects her boys to grow to be a workforce on the increase as perfectly, specially now that a specific pandemic has waned.
Centered: Hudson Morici is just one of the senior leaders for the Barnegat boys volleyball group this spring, as the Bengals seem to make a larger impact in just the division.
“COVID may perhaps have disrupted volleyball for the very last two many years, but this year feels like a return to ordinary and the crew is completely ready to get gain of the opportunity to do the job and participate in tricky,” Jennings mentioned. “We’re really enthusiastic about this season and anticipate a aggressive workforce that compiles a winning report. The group has a wonderful mix of returning players and athletic newcomers.”
Returning to the Bengals’ roster for this spring are seniors Hudson Morici, Josh Javines, Pavan Patel and Ryan Buckley, together with juniors Nick Block and Anthony Ryan, and sophomores Tyler Finkle, Shawn Javines and Seth Nicolay.
“Hudson, Pavan, Josh, Shawn and Anthony return to the group with considerable knowledge at starting positions past season, and, in individual, I foresee Hudson and Pavan will elevate the team’s success via their amount of enjoy and leadership,” Jennings said. “Nick, Tyler and Seth also have varsity practical experience and are capable of stepping up and turning into impression gamers this 12 months. The group also has obtained gifted newcomers which include, all of whom may well component into the varsity lineup.”
Between those athletic newcomers signing up for the squad this spring, two are seniors who understand results, Justin Sullivan and Ryan Schager, who just completed wonderful swimming seasons. The rest of the crew involves juniors Adam Zirpoli and Ryan Grant, sophomore Luis Moreno, and freshmen Jack Buscaglia and Trey DeMeo.
— David Biggy