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Building Year for BVT Volleyball

What the Blackstone Valley Tech boys volleyball team lacks in numbers, it more than makes up for in energy and enthusiasm, according to head coach Barbara King.
"We have had a lot of fun over the first two weeks of practice," King said. "It's a different atmosphere and the attitudes have been very good. I am looking forward to playing. This is a good group of kids who want to be there and are enjoying the game and also looking forward to the season."
The Beavers have one senior on this year's 11-player roster, but a strong junior class lead by 6'8" middle hitter Antonio Sullo, who returns for this third season at the varsity level. "He looks good so far," King said. "He has been aggressive in practice and is serving well, I think he will do a lot for us this year."
Fellow juniors Alex Bianco and Zach Hendriks will also play big roles for the Beavers. Bianco returns as the team's setter and Hendriks will hit from the right side. "Alex is a natural athlete, he came in last year and decided to play volleyball and was just a natural," King said. "He has good hands and is a great all around kid and teammate."
King had planned on putting Hendriks on the outside, but he said he prefers hitting from the right side. An effective setter, he can handle the ball if Bianco can't get there in time. King named the three juniors team captains for the 2015 season.
A number of other juniors will provide depth and play increased roles for BVT this spring. Ed Taylor will see time at outside hitter and is a player King says has improved tremendously. Jared Roberts is a strong server and first year volleyball player Connor Belland has been another player who has shown a great deal of hustle. Junior Brad Vecchione also falls into the category of a hustler. "He is a pleasure to coach," King said of Vecchione, another newcomer to the sport. "He dives for the ball constantly and is so eager. It's been fun to watch him and get to know him."
King says she's joked in practice about giving Vecchione "Tommy Points," a reference to former Celtics' great and current television analyst Tommy Heinson.
Derek Blacker is the lone senior on the roster and will see time in every game. Sophomore Justin Balanca-Hawkes will also see time as a starter. "It's Justin's second year playing and he is a very coachable kid," King said. "He listens to what you have to say and hustles to the ball. His attitude and how he approaches the game are the reasons why I am going to start him."
Sophomore Alden Payne and freshman Phil Marques round out the roster and will provide the Beavers with necessary depth.
When it comes to goals for King's squad, the biggest are to have fun and build the program. "We want to continue to grow the program so kids have a good experience and come back and more kids want to come out," she said. "Last year was tough, but the atmosphere will be better this season and I know the kids want to improve and win more games than the five we won last year.




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