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Boston City League volleyball preview capsules

Posted by Justin Rice  September 12, 2013 12:19 PM

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BRIGHTON

Coach: Briea McDaniels (second year)

Last year's record: 4-11

Strengths: The Bengals’ strong serving ability should keep them in games.

Concerns: Lack of height.

Outlook: Now that McDaniels has a year of coaching under her belt, Brighton should be a much more solid team. Senior leadership from Caren Vaughn and Reyna Joint will be a big boost.

“I look to train the upcoming freshmen and sophomores to prepare for a
stronger team in the future,” McDaniels said.

Returning starters:
Senior middle hitter Caren Vaughn
Senior right front Reyna Joint
Junior setter Kaiely Zhu

BURKE

Coach: Joanne Lee Nieves (25-plus years)

Last year’s record: 13-5

Strengths: Commitment and dedication, along with three returning seniors.

Concerns: The Bulldogs graduated seven starters from a team that qualified for the city championship for the first time in 25 years.

Outlook: After losing in the semifinals of the city tournament, Burke fell to Greater Lowell in the first round of the Division 2 North state tournament. Despite calling this year a “rebuilding year,” Nieves remains positive.

“The Lady Bullgods are up for the task of training new players to learn the game of volleyball,” she said. “We know with commitment and hard work we will be successful.”

Returning starters:
Senior setter Medgine Josephs
Senior outside hitter Shenika Cummings
Senior setter Ariany DePina

CASH

Coach: Elizabeth James (seventh year)

Last year's record:
7-8

Strengths: Despite losing quite a few players, CASH has solid returners as well, including six sophomores and five seniors who have displayed great sportsmanship and a willingness to try their hardest.

Concerns: James worries that her team is not aggressive enough.

Outlook: Without its star player and captain from last season, Gabriella Caruso, CASH may struggle. But James says her team has a willingness to get better.

“I think we’ll be better than 7-8 this year,” she said. “I have good girls trying to replace my captain from last year. I’m hoping that will elevate my team.

Returning starters:
Senior utility Nitchella Paul
Senior hitter Kendra Pierre
Senior hitter Diamond Hawkins

BOSTON ENGLISH

Coach: Hardy Mondesier (fourth year)

Last year: 12-4

Strengths: As always, the offense will be the strong point, along with serving.

Concerns: With the graduation of defensive superstar Nelsy Barreiro, English will struggle on defense. Passing could be an issue as well.

Outlook: While English is losing ground on the defensive side of the ball with Barreiro’s graduation, the offense will still be strong thanks to Barreiro’s younger sister Heidy and junior Jasmine Allen. Last year was a rebuilding year after three straight city titles.

“We should definitely finish top two,” Mondesier said. “We definitely have the same players from last year so with the expectations I have for them this year I think they are looking to take it higher. They were definitely frustrated at their losses last season. We want to go undefeated, and if possible, going into the [city championships].”

Returning starters:
Senior outside Heidy Barreiro
Senior middle hitter Idil Barros
Junior middle hitter Jasmine Allen
Sophomore setter Yandra Perez
Senior outside hitter Maxiel Jerabin

LATIN ACADEMY

Coach: Phuong Cao (fifth season)

Strengths: As always, the Dragons will be well-rounded in all aspects of the game.

Concerns: Height will be an issue when Latin Academy goes up against nonconference foes in the state tournament.

Outlook: After a seven-year string of city championships, Latin Academy lost three in a row to Boston English before it finally regained the title last season. The Dragons will look to build off that momentum behind captains Christina Wong, Victoria Thong, and Alexandra Wilson. Anna Nguyen, Kaylen Powers, and Bich Cao are also returning.

“Hopefully, I'll add a few more tall players who are swingers playing on both JV and varsity teams,” Cao said.

Returning starters:
Senior Libero Christina Wong
Junior setter/outside hitter Victoria Thong
Junior outside hitter Alexandra Wilson

CHARLESTOWN

Coach: Anthony Searcy (second year)

Last year’s record: 8-9

Strengths: Junior outside hitters Yenny Acquino and Anyeri Almanazar.

Concerns: Lack of experience after the graduation of eight seniors. Only four players return from last season.

Outlook: In addition to Acquino and Almanazar, the Townies will rely on solid play from Joselyn Leiva.

“Although short in stature, Joselyn will bring her spot on defense as well as her sky-high sets,” Searcy said. “Yenny Acquino, who has a strong swing at the net, will not only bring her athleticism but strong leadership.

“Both [Acquino and Almanazar] are high-energy, athletic girls who love to compete and whose leadership skills will have the rest of the team feeding into the same mentality.”

Returning starters:
Junior middle back/libero Joselyn Leiva
Junior outside hitter Yenny Acquino
Senior outside hitter Anyeri Almanazar
Junior opposite Alondra Cruz

O’BRYANT

Last year’s record: 17-5

Coach: Gertrude Fisher

Strengths: O’Bryant is a solid defensive team behind Camly Pham and also passes the ball well.

Concerns: The team lost an outstanding player in Diep Nguyen to graduation, and replacing her overall play will be the key to a successful season.

Outlook: O’Bryant has finished second in the city for the last four years and is looking for a breakthrough this fall.

“Our goal is to return to the city finals this year,” Fisher said. “We want to improve our record. Our players are poised and committed to achieving this goal. Our team is excited about the upcoming season.”

Returning starters:
Senior defender Camly Pham
Senior setter Bonnie Li
Junior outside hitter Fannie Chan
Senior defender/middle hitter Wendy Zheng
Junior middle hitter/outside hitter Simone McLaren
Senior outside hitter/defender Nancy Liu
Junior middle hitter/outside hitter Shayla Newman-Toledo

SNOWDEN

Last year’s record: 13-4

Coach: Margaret Cash-Griffin

Strengths: Two of the three Chen sisters return for another season.

Concerns: Cash-Griffin is concerned with her team’s sportsmanship.

Outlook: Led by sisters Stephanie, Elaine, and Emily Chen last year, the Cougars just barely missed a trip to their first city championship before losing in the first round of the state tournament. Elaine and Emily return to the team but Stephanie graduated.

“The overall outlook is to have fun and win games,” Cash-Griffin said.

Returning starters:
Senior Elaine Chen
Senior Emily Chen
Sophomore Manouska Jean
Sophomore Noni still-Brodie
Sophomore Clytie Robinson
Sophomore Kailey Tse Harlow
Junior Ivy Liang
Sophomore Emily Tieu

SOUTH BOSTON

Coach: Mary Linehan (22d year)

Last year’s record: 6-10

Strengths: With five returning players, the Knights are coming into the season with some experience and a positive attitude.

Concerns: Leadership will be an issue.

Outlook: The returning Knights are enthusiastic about this season and looking to improve their record from last year by working hard and staying healthy.

Returning players:
Senior blocker Alina Rivera
Senior outside hitter Jose Honore
Senior outside hitter Natalia Reyes
Senior blocker Sara Padgett
Senior setter Lily Zayas

MADISON PARK

Coach: Gladys Perez-Byrd (20-plus years)

Last year’s record: 12-4

Strengths: As always, Madison Park will be one of the hardest-working teams in the city.

Concerns: With five seniors graduating, including Krystal and Amber Edwards, Madison Park is rebuilding again with only one returning starter.

Outlook: The only returning starter, senior Rebecca Mondesir, will have large shoes to fill with the graduation of the Edwards twins.

“She will have to step up to help Madison on offense at the net,” Perez-Byrd said.

Junior libero Rebeca Sarvia, senior defender Diana Julien, and sophomore outside hitter Antonea Green will also contribute significantly.

“Getting girls to hopefully return from last year’s new crop of JV players will be the determining factor on the strength and level of play for this year’s team,” Perez-Byrd said. “As always we look forward to a promising season, and remain positive in our ability to work towards a successful outcome.”

Returning starter:
Senior hitter Rebecca Mondesier

DORCHESTER

Coaches: Amie Capodanno and Jacob DeLuise

Last year’s record: 2-12

Strengths: Dorchester will host home games for the first time in 20 years thanks to a net system donated by Dream Big!

Concerns: At the same time, coaches worry that hosting games will add pressure to the players and may hurt their rhythm and focus.

Outlook: Last year’s assistant coach Jake DeLuise will be taking on a bigger role. DeLuise played for Endicott College.

“The Bears are so excited for the season -- with so many new changes, it has brought some momentum to the group,” Capodanno said. “We are also hoping for the prospect of new players that can be a major support network while learning the game.

“With a new net system donated by Dream Big! we will be hosting our own home games, the first time in 20 years. We also have six returning players that have been playing together for the last three years. “

Capodanno also worries that the changes could bring more pressure.

“With the pressure of our new court, this could hurt our rhythm in getting the girls to stay focused,” she said. “Also, a low turnout at the start of the season leaves us scrambling to bring a full team up to speed and in condition. We expect a slow start.”

Returning players:
Junior setter Edili Rosario Tavares
Junior defender Tatyana Adams
Junior setter Radisha Vassell
Senior defender Nalitza Valentin
Junior outside hitter Jasmine Sudhu
Senior outside hitter Lorla Attivor
Junior outside hitter Brittany Odom
Junior middle hitter Tanaisha Willis
Junior outside hitter Christiana Smith

WEST ROXBURY

Last year’s record: 0-14

Coach: Jenny Bello

Strengths: The returning players spent the summer practicing and attending camps.

Concerns: Bello worries that her team has not gotten enough practice heading into the season.

Outlook: In her second season as coach, Bello hopes to see more progress than last season.

“I hope that we can win a few games this year,” she said. “It’s a little difficult because last year I joined the athletic department towards the end of August so I didn’t know anything about the girls.

“This year is a little more positive and optimistic about the team itself. I think the old players are a little better in terms of strategy. I think they have better technique so hopefully we’ll be able to win a few games.”

Returning starters:
Senior middle back Ortiz Yarielis
Senior right front Pena Melissa
Senior back left Lori Phillips
Senior back right Lorien Phillips
Junior middle front Beverly Johnson
Junior left front Bianca Reyes

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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