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Boston City League girls' volleyball preview capsules

Posted by Justin Rice  September 12, 2012 12:15 PM

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Madison Park

Coach: Gladys Perez-Byrd 175-131 (20-plus)

Last year’s record: 13-5

Strengths

The Cardinals should have a strong core of returning players that should be a cohesive and aggressive unit. They also have considerable height with only one of their returning starters measuring below 5-foot-6 inches while junior middle hitter/blocker Reti Johnson tops the group off at 5-foot-11 inches.

Concerns

Madison Park, however, might not be in top shape coming into the start of the season and it might take them a few games to catch their stride.

Outlook

The Cardinals remain positive and ready for the season. They also have five returning starters who are taller than 5-6, including 5-11 junior middle hitter/blocker Reti Johnson.

Returning starters

Senior middle hitter/blocker Krystal Edwards, 5-8
Senior outside hitter/blocker Amber Edwards, 5-8
Junior middle hitter/blocker Reti Johnson. 5-11
Senior defensive specialist/hitter Dayma Santana, 5-6
Junior hitter Nalitza Valentin, 5-7
Senior setter Keichla Aponte, 5-2

Burke

Coach Joanne Lee Nieves (Off and on for 27 years)

Last year’s record: 11-5

Strengths

The Burke returns a strong group of seniors this fall, including four players who are playing for their fourth straight year. The Bulldogs also serve and spike the ball well.

Concerns

Keeping a full roster all season long is always tough for the Burke. Last year the team started the season with 25 players and ended it with just eight.

Outlook

The Burke just missed the city playoffs last year as their only losses came at the hands of English and O’Bryant. English could have a down year this season so the Burke could find itself in the city playoffs at season's end if all goes well.

“They’ve improved over the last three years,” Lee Nieves said of her seniors. “This year, if we don’t [make Cities] it’s a whole new crew after that. I’m hoping this year will be a good year for them.”

Returning starters

Senior setter Brenda Calderon, 4-11
Senior outside hitter Cassandra Tenuf, 5-10
Senior outsider hitter/insider hitter Kirina Laryea, 5-11
Senior defensive specialist/ setter Diana Arguello, 5-5
Senior backline Whanellely Guerrero, 5-5
Senior defensive specialist Jussara, Pontes, 5-5
Senior outside hitter Bianca Martinez, 5-9

East Boston

Coach: Venessa Bigby (fourth year)
Last year's record: 9-7

Strengths

The Jets will put a strong defense on the court this season while sophomore spiker Natalia Pretiado should prove to be a potent weapon on offense. The team is also hungry to get back on the court.

Concerns

Even though they have a strong squad, East Boston is still young, with many of its members only playing for the second year.

Outlook

The Jets only had two returning players and last year was a rebuilding year for East Boston, but they still managed nine victories. But last year was the first time in four years the team did not make the city playoffs and this year they are looking to change the trend.

“I think we will do that, I think we will make the cities and the states this year, that’s what I’m looking forward to and that’s what I think we are going to do,” Bigby said. “I’ve been watching them during the year, during gym class playing volleyball. I think we are really going to go far this year.

“I think we got a lot stronger with our serving, that’s a piece I put into play and not just sending the ball over the net with one hit. I really drilled that into their heads the last year at the end of the year.”

Returning starters

Senior hitter Carolina Londono, 5-4
Sophomore setter Juliana Grillo, 5-2
Senior hitter Lesley Rodriguez, 5-7
Senior hitter Aliyah Clark, 5-3
Sophomore Spiker Natalia Pretiado, 5-9
junior setter Clarita Prudncio. 5-0

West Roxbury

Coach: Jenny Bello (First year)

Strengths

The Raiders have some experience and are good at hitting the ball and staying in a rally. The team also has leadership with five seniors on its roster. Westie also has strong numbers with 13 returning players.

Concerns

Graduating four seniors, Westie is thin in some areas and also struggles at spiking the ball.

Outlook

First-year coach, Jenny Bello played volleyball in her native Columbia and is eager to start this season.

“Hopefully the 11th and the 12th graders will be the new leaders of the team,” Bello said. “Hopefully, I think we will have a good season. I’m positive about that.”

South Boston

Coach: Mary Linehan (21st year)

Last year’s record: 6-9

Strengths

South Boston boasts four returning starters who are 5-foot-6-inches or taller.

Concerns

None at this time, maybe during the season.

Outlook

To play to the best of their abilities and make it to the playoffs.

Returning starters

Junior setting Sara Padgett, 5-7
Senior blocker Alina Rivera, 5-6
Senior hitter Stanasa Dowdye, 5-10
Junior setter Natalia Reyes , 5-6

Dorchester

Coach: Amie Capodanno (third year)

Last year’s record: 2-10

Strength

Despite being made up of mostly sophomores and freshman, the team has a passion for the sport and a willingness to learn. The team only graduated two seniors last year.

Concerns

The team has no seniors and only three juniors. Besides being young, Dorchester struggles at practice because they don’t have a proper net system to train with.

Outlook

In her third year since replacing John Evans, who coached the team for 42 years, Amie Capodanno is finally catching her stride and looking to put together some victories this season.

She is excited about the passion her players have exhibited for the sport.

“I think that their love of the game and being really connected to it is probably our major strength,” she said. “Their willingness to learn and play true volleyball is there.”

Capodanno will also have help this season from former Emmanuel player Jacob DeLouise.

“He’s young, just excited to coach,” she said. “He’s a teacher at Tech Boston Academy for sixth grade and is really excited to get into it. It’s going to be an exciting year. We got a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

“I think it’s going to be a team to watch.”

Returning starters

Sophomore outside hitter, Radisha Vassel
Sophomore defensive specialist Tatyana Adams
Sophomore setter Edilili Rosario-Taveras
Sophomore outside hitter Jasmine Sudhu

Latin Academy

Coach: Phuong Cao (fourth season)

Last year’s record: 18-4

Strengths

Latin Academy plays good defense and passes the ball well.

Concerns

The Dragons graduated four seniors last year and only return two seniors. Hitting and setting are trouble areas for the Dragons.

Outlook

The gold standard in volleyball programs in the city, Latin Academy won seven straight city championships before Boston English won the last three. With English in a bit of a rebuilding mode the Dragons will be gunning to get back to the top spot.
Fourth-year coach Phuong Cao has yet to win a city championship as head coach.

“My first goal is always to get to Cities because last year we lost in the semis and two years before that we lost in final,” he said. “So our first goal is to get back to cities and hopefully we’ll do better than the second round of the states.”

Returning starters

Junior Libero Christina Wong, 5-2
Sophomore Outside hitter Victoria Thong, 5-5
Sophomore Middle outside hitter Alex Wilson, 5-7
Senior libero Kathy Tran, 5-1
Senior setter Nicole Hartford, 5-6
Sophomore middle hitter Anna Nguyen, 5-7

Boston English

Coach: Hardy Mondesier (fourth season, 54-3)

Last year’s record: 17-1

Strengths

Even though it’s a rebuilding year for the Blue & Blue, they have the confidence of coming off three straight city championships.

Concerns

Boston English will only return one starter this year after graduating six seniors, including Yabriela Perez, who will play for Suffolk University this year. The Blue & Blue also lack height this season.

Outlook

Everyone is going to be gunning for Boston English this season after they dominated the city league for three straight years. But Mondesier is one of the best in the city and he did not have much to build off when he took over the program three years ago.

“It’s going to be tough to repeat what we’ve done in our league,” he said. “We are definitely going to make a run for a championship or at least second [place].”

Senior Nelsy Barreiro is the team’s only senior and only returning starter. The 4-foot-5 defensive specialist has a tall order this season.

“This year she will probably be more of a setter then just having a back role,” Mondesier said. “When she’s in front she’ll probably be one of our main setters. Nelsy was a walk-on varsity starter. Basically she came to watch her sister last year and I had to drag her on the court and she became my starter. It’s amazing. She became that defensive leader I was looking for.”

Returning starters

Senior defensive specialist Nelsy Barreiro, 4-5

Boston International

Coach: Modesto Gomez (sixth year)

Last year’s record: 10-8

Strengths

Boston International has solid numbers in its program since it is one of the only programs in the city that fields a JV squad in addition to its varsity team. So some of the team’s younger players should be ready to contribute right away this season. The team has also qualified for states four out of the last six seasons.

Concerns

The team graduated eight seniors and it’s unclear if this year’s seniors will but up for the task of leading the squad. Boston International also only boasts two returning starters.

Outlook

Boston International is an experienced team that will rely on the leadership of sophomore setter, Jasmin Soto.

“She’s the real deal,” Gomez said. ‘She came from Puerto Rico last year. She is that good. She played very competitive volleyball in Puerto Rico. She’s helped out the other girls a lot. It’s a little frustrating for her that not all the other girls are up to her level. In Puerto Rico it’s a different world, it’s for real. She played for her club team in Puerto Rico.

“Things can get frustrating for her but she helps out the other girls as much as possible.”

Returning starters

Sophomore setter Jasmin Soto
Senior outside hitter Patricia Bello

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

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