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The Northern Star

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A 2nd season dawns for the boys’ volleyball team

As the days get longer and the flowers bloom, spring approaches, and so does the school’s spring sports season. Serving as NVD’s second year featuring this school team, spring welcomes the commencement of the boys’ volleyball season. 

With a blend of returning upperclassmen and eager newcomers from both NVD and NVOT, the boys’ volleyball program is seeing considerable growth in numbers. 40 boys, 20 of them freshmen, showed up to tryouts in hopes of making the team. 

A group picture of the boys volleyball team.
(Photo courtesy of Eric Hwang)

“The boys are actually able to have two separate teams this year. Last year, we could only have a JV team, but this year, we can have a JV and varsity team,” NVD junior Samantha Liew, who serves as one of the team managers, said.

Don Vanderbeck, who coached the boys for the last couple of months of last year’s season, is the new boys’ volleyball varsity coach. 

“Last season was one of my most enjoyable years of coaching. I have very high hopes for the year, being that we returned virtually all but one startup from last year,” Vanderbeck said. 

NVD welcomes Matthew Vassallo, the new junior varsity coach. Vassallo used to coach Closter’s Tenakill Middle School volleyball team, which was co-ed but says he is ready to move forward in his career with a high school boys team. 

“I think it’s definitely going to be an adjustment working with higher-level boys…but I am ready to get into a flow of playing at that higher level since, at the end of the day, it’s about learning and teaching,” Vassallo said. 

A couple of players and the team managers.
(Photo Courtesy of Eric Hwang)

Last year, all the guys were able to make the team, but in only its second year, the school’s boys’ volleyball program has attracted enough players to make cuts necessary. 

“It’s a booming sport. As you can see, there are a lot of boys here to play volleyball. This is now a program that Coach Don and I are trying to build for the future,” Vassallo said.
This year, three team captains are on the roster: NVD junior Eric Hwang, NVOT senior Tyler Dolan, and NVOT senior Armen Fregenti. The two senior captains, Tyler Dolan and Armen Fregenti, are both DIII commits. 

“My hope is to win states because we have three national club players as well as two DIII commits and a great coach,” Hwang said. 

The boys are determined to succeed, even if it means waking up early for Saturday practices. 

“We are practicing three hours a day, Monday through Friday, and on Saturday for four hours,” Hwang said. 

With the amount of time the boys are together for practice, they have not surprisingly begun to form connections with each other and quickly bonded as a team. 

“It’s like a little family. And the connections between the guys can really translate to a good game,” Vanderbeck said.       

Seasoner opener Instagram post.
(Photo courtesy of Eric Hwang)

The team kicked off their season with their first official game on Thursday, April 4, against Ramapo. 

“I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season for the challenges and potential successes the team will experience…I believe that Coach Vanderbeck will guide us far,” Hwang said. 


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About the Contributor
Sujin Kim
Sujin Kim, Staff Writer
Hi, I’m Sujin. I am currently a junior at NVD and am apart of the NVD golf team. I enjoy playing tennis, shopping, and baking in my free time. I’m super excited to be a part of the Northern Star this year and share my pieces with the school. 
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