BHS Volleyball Team Eyes Playoff Repeat
Sep 04, 2018 09:10AM
By Pamela Johnson
written by Ken Hamwey, Bulletin Sports Editor
Coach Steve Mantegani’s primary goal for Bellingham High’s girls volleyball team is to make a return appearance in the playoffs. Last year, BHS qualified for tourney play for the first time in 17 years. His other objective is to increase the team’s win total, which reached six triumphs last season.
“Improving our win-loss record would be a plus, but more important is the continued development of our players,’’ Mantegani said. “This is my third season with the team and, along with coach Chris Ridolfi, we’ve worked to build a system that will be successful. We have some openings to fill after graduating seven seniors, but we have a good number of returning players to compete for those spots.’’
Mantegani’s daughter, Maddie, who was a Tri Valley League all-star last year, is the only captain, but she may have some company later when another captain could be selected. “An outside hitter and setter, she leads by example and she’s one of the hardest workers on the team,’’ her father said. “She’s an all-around player who led the team in attacking kills last year. She also does a great job at helping the younger players with their skills and coaches them along.’’
Other returnees who will be major contributors are juniors Jenna Venuti, Gianna Sannicandro, and Rose Nelson. Venuti is an outside hitter, Sannicandro is a middle hitter and Nelson is a right-side hitter.
“Jenna started at outside hitter the last two seasons,’’ Mantegani said. “She continues to work on her overall game. She’s one of our top passers and has improved her hitting on the outside. Gianna has lots of athletic ability and can dominate at the net with her blocking and attacking out of the middle. She’s quick at the net and jumps well. Rose has split time at the right side over the last two years. We’re looking for her to take over this position and become an offensive threat as well as one of our primary passers.’’
Mantegani points to Chloe Fisher, a returning veteran, as another contributor this year along with Tatum Lee and Maddie Vadenais, who played at the jayvee level last year. The Blackhawks will open their season at home on Sept. 5 against Fontbonne Academy.