Malden High School's boys volleyball team faces a challenging season ahead, as they look to make a formidable impression in their first year in the Northeast Conference.
Originally established as a team in 2015, the program is in just its third year having played its first two seasons in the Greater Boston League. After struggling to win many games their first two years, the team hopes to finally string together a memorable season in which they are competitive and win.
Dan Jurkowski returns for his second year as head coach and hopes for the team to improve from his first year in charge, when they failed to qualify for the state tournament. Also returning are senior captains Germano Fidelis and Anthony Woo, who have been members of the team since the program’s inception. In fact, in his sophomore year, Fidelis was one of the key members of the group of student athletes that proposed a boys volleyball team for MHS.
However, the captains are two of the only six returning players on the team this season as the rest of the team consists of all newcomers, most of whom are playing organized volleyball for the very first time. One of the many newcomers to the team is sophomore Ryoma Yonetani, who hopes that the newcomers “get accustomed to the game and to playing with each other.” Yonetani continued, saying how doing so “will be challenging,” but that they are getting help from veterans that are “reliable and helpful,” as well as “players that the newcomers can look up to.”
One of the six returning players is junior Brandon Nguyen, who praised this season's team as a “lot better” team than last season, citing the team’s communicates and increased experience as the reason why. When asked about his goal for the season, Nguyen stated that that he hopes the team can “improve on their record from last year.” In order to accomplish this, Nguyen mentioned that the team “needs to stay focused” and “commit to winning and putting in the effort required.”
When asked about what he thinks about the newcomers on the team Nguyen explained that “they are all very inexperienced,” so they need to “learn the game quickly in order to contribute this season.” He further explained that because of their inexperience “the first few games will be difficult” and that “[they] need build their chemistry” during these games.
Yonetani reiterated the same goals as his teammate Nguyen, however, he also mentioned that the team’s long term goal is to “attract more students to play volleyball next season” in order to “create large enough rosters to have a junior varsity team.”
The boys began their campaign with a home opener against the O’Bryant Tornadoes on April 5th. An intense affair, unfortunately did not go the Tornadoes way as they lost to Tigers in three sets. However the team looks to bounce back on April 10th, when they host Pope John XXIII at the MHS Finn Gym.