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Boys Volleyball Collects First Win in Program History

May 27, 2021 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
The boys volleyball team won the program’s first match in its albeit short history against Norton on May 7 in the second game of the season. Losing the 2020 season because of COVID hurt the growth of the program from the inaugural season in 2019. They have a small team this season with just 12 players, and one of them is out with a shoulder injury.
At Bulletin deadline, the team was 1–4 in what has so far been a challenging, very condensed season. With 14 matches by June 7th, they’ve had little time to teach and focus on the basics with a young and inexperienced team. No one has more than a year of experience coming into the season.

“We are very young, with no seniors and just 2 juniors on the team. However, I am excited to have this group that will grow together,” said Coach Steve Mantegani. “This year’s leader on the court is Grant Wojcik, a returning setter from two seasons ago. He is a sophomore with great upside and has played in the offseason. Alongside Grant is freshman Zach Mantegani. Zach comes from a family of volleyball players, including his older sister Madison Mantegani, who graduated in 2019 and plays as a hitter and secondary setter. Outside hitters are led by Kalen Sahin and Anthony Campbell. Both played as 8th-graders, but neither started for the team or played the outside hitter position. Dan Rose has been a quick learner and has big upside as a middle hitter. He is athletic, can jump, and is quickly picking up the skills to make him a force at the net.”

The team is rounded out with juniors Matteus Lemos and Danielle Bessette, sophomores Christian Saccol and the injured Matt Ulsh. They have freshmen Sam Proler and Connor Prentice contributing, as well as 8th-grader Esdras Goncalves.

Mantegani said, “Although young and inexperienced, we have gotten better each week, and we’re looking forward to the second half of the season.”

Boys Track and Field Wins Five in a Row

Boys track and field are currently 5-0 this season, having defeated Dedham on Tuesday, May 11. Lucas Whitted placed first in both javelin and high jump. Siddharth Boppana placed first in both the 110mh and 400mh. Ben Foley won the 2-mile event, Cam Hesselbaum won the 1-mile event, Daniel Kurczy won the 800m, and Lucas Drons won the 200m. They will soon face Dover-Sherborn, which will prove to be a tough battle. New head coach Symmone Scott is off to a great start for her track and field coaching career, earning the TVL boys Coach of the Year.

This year’s track and field indoor all-stars are Natalie Krysta (shot put), Taylor Anderson (sprints), Nathan Forget (hurdles), Lucas Drons (sprinter and high jumper), Ben Foley (mid-distance and distance), Dan Kurczy (mid-distance and distance), Cam Hesselbaum (mid-distance and distance), and John Todd (honorable mention shot put and sprints).

Baseball Opens the Season 3-3

The Bellingham varsity baseball team has started the season at 3-3, falling short in their last game, versus Ashland 7-4. So far, the team has performed well with 8th-grader John Sullivan starting the first four games behind the plate, and Aiden Campellone performing well on the mound. When the team members come together and bring energy to each practice and game, they play well. Coach Doug Houston is in his first season as head coach and is doing well filling big shoes as coach TJ Chiappone’s successor. The program also includes other new faces; JV coach Andy Nolan and freshman coach Dan Sylvia join coach Houston in a trio of first-year head coaches. The team is looking to continue playing great baseball throughout the season.

Boys Lacrosse Opens Season with a Win

Boys varsity lacrosse is 3 games into the season, and their record stands at 1-2 (TVL and overall). They opened the season with a 10-8 win over Dedham, followed by losses to Medway and Norwood. They have 5 seniors enjoying their final season with the team: captains Brad Swain and Jack Weigel, Tommy Hammann, Tommy Mailhot and Brennan McCann.
Goaltender junior Mark Imparato has averaged 14 saves per game so far this season. The leading scorer is junior Connor Henchey (9 goals, 3 assists). They are also getting significant contributions from younger players, such as sophomore attackman Liam Keating, freshman attackman Josh Davis, and 8th- grader Brady Carroll. They have a very challenging schedule because the TVL continues to be one of the strongest leagues in the state in boy’s lacrosse.

Softball Rebuilds in the 2021 Season

The Bellingham girls softball team is several games into the 2021 season, and Coach Dennis Baker gives the run-down about the beginning of the season: “We are 1-5 so far, with the win being against Medway, six to three, but unfortunately we fell short in our 5 losses. Watching them play the last few games, I believe we may be turning the corner and finding our stride right now, and I know that we'll be very competitive between now and the end of the season. We are sort of in the preseason as we still figure out some positions and other strategies, but the games still count. I think we're getting better every game, and our team chemistry is certainly the thing we’re working on the most right now.”
 
Unfortunately, the younger girls on the team did not have the chance to learn from the seniors that left last year, since the season was canceled because of COVID-19. With only two seniors, this year will be a rebuilding year for the team. They are now trying to find a way to make the team chemistry successful, and with a short preseason and a lot of new faces, they have not had much time to work with.
 
Senior captains Ashleigh Hughes and Brooke Silvestri are leading the team this year. Hughes is the team’s leadoff hitter since she is a great contact hitter. She is very good defensively as the centerfielder and has a great arm. Silvestri will be the number-one pitcher this year. Two years ago she won six games, so she brings a challenge to the hitters. Junior captains Ryanne Haynes and Charlotte MacGregor are also strong returning players. Two years ago, as a freshman, Haynes was named First-Team All-Star. She hit over .400 and led the Tri-Valley league in home runs. As a junior she's already committed to playing at Providence College after her senior year. MacGregor started many games for the team as a freshman two years ago. She’s the number-three hitter, has a great eye for the ball, and has a lot of patience at the plate. She has hit many singles and doubles, which has brought in an abundance of runs for the team.
 
The juniors have exceeded the coaches' expectations and have had a great beginning of the season. Junior Katie Matczak, the left-fielder, is exceptional at getting on base as the second hitter and is scoring a lot of runs. Junior Haley Evans is a versatile player as well. She has a high on-base percentage, which means she’s been hitting many singles and a couple of doubles, and she is patient at the plate.
 
Coach Baker said, “Even though we’ve played six games, I still like to think of it as a trial process. The team is looking good with four captains this year; they have been great leaders and role models and are setting a good example.”

 

 

 

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