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Bellingham Hoping to Build upon Historic Season

Bellingham Coach Steve Mantegani is banking on steady improvement among his returning boys’ volleyball players.

By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
In a program that only began four years ago and basically lost a year and half of those four years to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bellingham boys’ volleyball team earned a spot last spring in the Division 2 State Tournament. After going 10-9 on the season, the Blackhawks were awarded an 18 seed heading into the playoffs. Unfortunately, they lost to Holyoke 3-0 in their first round of play.
Despite having lost. Bellingham is hoping to take that playoff experience from a year ago and improve upon it. 
“With this technically only being our third year since the program was established, we want to move further ahead this season,” Bellingham Coach Steve Mantegani said. “We’ve brought back a lot of athletes from last year’s success including the strength of our team, which are now seniors.”
The Blackhawks, at press time, had only one loss thus far, and Mantegani was optimistic that the team would have a real chance at improving upon last year’s performance. In the upcoming weeks, Bellingham will see the likes of Millis and Medfield as well as Randolph, a team they have never seen before. The squad will also begin playing three games a week.
Tri-Captains seniors Grant Wojcik and Dan Rose as well as junior Zachary Mantegani will be looked upon to lead the team back to the post-season.  Wojcik, a two-time Tri-Valley League All Star setter, will be the catalyst of Bellingham’s play. The senior will not only get the team going, but everything will go through him as far as Bellingham is concerned. The setter will be heading to Regis College in Boston to play Division 3 volleyball next year.
Rose will play middle hitter and despite only being just about 6 feet tall will provide Bellingham with that middle of the court presence.
“Dan is a big hitter and blocker for us and does a really nice job in the front row,” the Coach said. “You can count on him to get us out of trouble, and he is the best jumper on the team jumping a lot higher than his size.”
The team’s only junior captain is also a TVL All Star and will play the right side for the Blackhawks. He is an all-around player that does a lot of different things on the court for Bellingham.
In addition to relying on the captains, Mantegani is also hoping that senior Anthony Campbell takes his game to the next level this year giving the team more production. According to the Coach, the team’s libero does a great job passing in the back row and is the anchor of the team in regard to serve and receive. He was named a TVL All Star Honorable mention last spring.


Mantegani is expecting freshman outside hitter Thomas Crandell to provide consistent passing this season now that he will be a full-time varsity player. Last season, he began the year in the junior varsity squad before being called up down the stretch to provide defense. 
Through the early part of the season, sophomore transfer Matthews Coehlo, who was a JV player for Milford last year, has surprised the Coach. The sophomore has been moved into the middle for the Blackhawks due to an injury. 
Prior to the season beginning, Mantegani’s goal was for the team to come out strong while competing for the TVL League Title.
“The league is full of good teams, but it seems to be much more open this year, except for Millis and Medfield, which are always good,” Mantegani said. “We also want to get back to the playoffs and win a few rounds this year. Getting into the tournament last year was a good milestone for us.” 
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