Montclair boys volleyball squad off to a 2-2 start after defeating Science Park
The Montclair High School boys volleyball team found itself down a game on Friday to Science Park, with the possibility of falling at its own gym.
But Mounties head coach Pamela Reilly gave her charges a little pep talk between the first and second games.
“I told them what I tell both my teams (boys and girls varsity) when we are struggling with a team that we shouldn’t be struggling with,” Reilly said. “I basically told them that this is our house, and nobody gets to come in and feel comfortable here.”
Her team took it to heart, dominating Science Park, 25-15, in the second game and then putting them away with a 25-19 verdict in the rubber game. The Mounties dropped the first game 25-18. The victory brought the squad’s record to 2-2.
Leading the way in the comeback were senior Ty Hillman and sophomore Samuel Korenbaum. Korenbaum did a little of everything with seven kills, eight digs, eight service points and two aces. Hillman chipped in six kills, nine digs, three service points and two aces.
Junior Matthew Sefjack had the hot hand with the serve, with 14 service points. The team’s setter added 13 assists.
“We want our team to perform at its highest level no matter what the outcome,” Reilly said. “Our goal is to win, but if we suffer defeat, we want our opponent to be battle-worn. With 15 freshmen and six sophomores on our roster, we feel that youthful exuberance and excitement will be our allies.”
The coach said that the team basically had to be rebuilt after the spring 2020 shutdown of sports due to the pandemic and then after having a reduced number of players last spring, when the team went 9-4.
Hillman and senior Matthew Abate are the lone starters back. Hillman was at one time a setter and converted to outside hitter. “He is a scrappy back-row defender and a deceptively strong hitter,” Reilly said about Hillman, who also has played at right side.
Abate returns at middle hitter. “He is returning to the position he played for the majority of last season, although we moved him outside on a few occasions,” the coach said. “He just wants to contribute in any way and will play any position where he is needed. He is working on expanding his shot selection.”
Along with Hillman and Abate, the other members of the starting rotation include senior Mark McGoey (outside hitter), Sefjack (setter), sophomore Christopher Borgen (setter), Korenbaum (right side), freshman Nnamdi Emehelu (middle hitter), freshman Benjamin Welsh (right side/outside hitter) and freshman Logan Martinez (libero/defensive specialist).
With several inexperienced players this year, the Mounties are hoping that the win over Science Park will bolster them for the rest of the season.
Montclair boys volleyball schedule
(Matches at 4 p.m. unless noted)
April 18 Immaculate Conception, 5 p.m.
April 20 at West Orange
April 22 at Payne Tech
April 25 West Essex
April 26 Essex County Tournament prelims, TBD
April 28 Essex County Tournament first round, TBD
April 29 Newark Tech, 5 p.m.
May 2 at Science Park
May 3 Essex County Tournament quarterfinals, TBD
May 4 Newark Collegiate, 5 p.m.
May 5 at Nutley
May 11 at Immaculate Conception
May 12 Nutley, 5:15 p.m.
May 17 West Side, 5 p.m.