Belleville HS girls’ volleyball team seeks improvement during season

BELLEVILLE, NJ – Despite a tough 1-4 start to the season, the Belleville High School girls’ varsity volleyball team is optimistic for a successful campaign.

The returning players for head coach John Spina’s team are senior outside hitter Cheryl Ann Nicosia,  senior middle hitter Natalia Peralta, junior middle hitter Angela Diaz, and juniors Asmaa Embaby and Fiorella Samaniego.

Spina commented on those returnees.

Nicosia is a four-year starter who is a powerful hitter and server.

Peralta, who has one year of varsity experience, is a great blocker.

Diaz, a second-year player, has a ton of potential and great height.

Embaby and Samaniego are the team’s best defenders and will alternate as libero and defensive specialist.

The key newcomers are senior middle hitters Mishelle Sanchez and Marlene Fernandez; sophomore middle hitter Cybel Cobbinah; junior setter Alethea Cruz; freshman setter Danielle San Juan; junior defender Natalie Marquez, senior defender Emily Fontana,  and freshman right defensive specialist Gabriella Rojas.

Juniors Sasha Rosario and Ruquaya Embaby and sophomore Lauryn Cook also play varsity outside hitter and opposite.

“The team has a good attitude and keeps it positive on the court,” said Spina, noting that communication and experience will prove to be the keys to success.

The Bucs, said Spina, hope to “rebuild what we once had a few years ago.”

Spina, in his eighth year, added, “I look forward to growing with a young inexperienced team.  I hope to have a stronger team come October.”

The Bucs started 0-4 before earning their first win of the season with a 20-25, 25-22, 25-22 victory over Payne Tech Sept. 13 in Newark.

Remaining schedule

Sept. 14, vs. Newark Tech

Sept. 17, at Columbia

Sept. 19, vs. Garfield

Sept.20, at Technology

Sept. 21, vs. University

Sept. 24, at Irvington

Sept. 26, at West Essex

Sept.28, vs. Payne Tech

Sept. 29, Belleville Invitational, 8 p.m.

Oct. 3, at Newark Tech

Oct. 5, at Barringer

Oct. 9, vs. Columbia

Oct. 11, at University

Oct. 12, vs. Lyndhurst

Oct. 15, vs. Abundant Life Academy

Oct. 16, vs. Irvington (Senior Day)

Oct. 18, at Immaculate Conception

Oct. 19, at Rutherford

Oct. 22, at Cedar Grove

Oct. 24, vs. Hackensack

Oct. 26, at Clifton

Matches at 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the result against Payne Tech.