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.
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.