Boys volleyball looks to continue success throughout playoff bracket

Max Miranda, Contributing Writer

 

This year’s boys volleyball team came into the season with a formidable task ahead of them: rebuilding a roster.  With the lack of returning leaders, this year’s team appeared destined to fall short of the expectations set by last year’s squad.  The Vikings have shocked everyone, continuing their dominance in the top division in Nassau County.  They have a current 8-3 conference record, made all the more impressive by the fact that they started their season 0-2.  Their record places them second in the conference, only trailing to the unbeaten Massapequa team, which has an 11-0 conference record.

Last year, the team lost a total of nine seniors; new starters, like sophomore Steven Lopez and senior David Kim, have had to pick up the weight.  “Steven Lopez, our starting outside, is a sophomore now who stepped up to help out the team,” said junior captain Kwan Park.  “Also, David Kim, who was our libero last year, is our other outside who contributes a lot to the team.”

In previous years, the volleyball team could set its sights on the playoffs at the beginning of the season.  However, this year’s situation called for a different approach.

“This year’s team is definitely more of a work in progress and we have set our goal as one match at a time,” said Coach Ms. Maria Giamanco.  “Last year my team was very experienced.  We could look a little bit further ahead.  This year, I don’t have a lot of returning players that were starters, so it’s really important for us to pay attention to one step at a time.”

Ms. Giamanco has been the coach of the boys volleyball team since 1990, before any of her players were born.  Since then, she has won a total of three county championships and her team has qualified for either the county semifinals or finals every season for the past ten years.

Last season, the team’s championship hopes were crushed when Plainview/JFK defeated it in the semifinals in four sets.  It is no surprise that multiple members of the team feel that their greatest accomplishment was defeating Plainview/JFK mid-season.

“Our win against Plainview was by far the most important game, because our team last year lost to Plainview in the semifinals,” said Park.

Although Plainview is still considered a threat, the team has its sights set on a much larger target this year: the undefeated Massapequa.

This season, Massapequa has been dominant over Port Washington, sweeping both regular season matches against the Vikings, 3-0 and 3-0.  However, hope is not yet lost for this team; many players are still very confident that they will get another chance.

“I respect Massapequa for how good they are, but my motto as an athlete is that any team can beat any team on any given day,” said senior captain Jongho Byun.  “As long as my team continues to work hard and give it their all, I truly believe we can take them down in the playoffs.”

Besides its losses to Massapequa, the team has an 8-1 overall record and a 3-1 home record.  Perhaps that is what is driving the influx of crowds to the home games.

With an 8-3 record, the team’s hopes of making the playoffs have been renewed.  Twelve teams qualify for the county playoffs; the top four teams receive byes in the first round.  Given their current second place standing and their three remaining games, they are in strong contention for a bye.

“We happen to be playing very well right now,” said Ms. Giamanco.  “I would say long term, if we continue to grow as we have, and we stay on the same path, the county finals are definitely not out of our reach.”