Cherry Hill East Cougars
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior outside hitter Nick DiVito was a first-team all-conference choice. He had 273 kills and 46 aces. Senior setter Liam McIntyre had 282 assists. Senior middle hitter Gary Hettinger had 83 kills and 34 blocks. Senior libero Austin Billig added 101 digs. Other veterans include senior middle hitters Tom Johnson and Nick Mitchell, senior outside Steven Oberlander and junior opposite Jake Rudin.
OUTLOOK: After going 16-7 last season, the Cougars will again contend for an Olympic American title, although Williamstown and Washington Township appear to be the favorites and Eastern will seriously contend as well. This is the final season for legendary coach Karl Moehlmann (318-100), who will be retiring. Luckily, the Cougars have the ability to send him off in style.
Cherry Hill West Lions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior outside hitter Ryan Lee was a second-team all-conference choice. Other starters back are senior middle Sean Bivins and senior setter Ray Horner. Senior Dan Wolf and junior Pat Staepel saw some varsity action and are looked on as key returnees. Junior Ujjwal Tamhankar is among the key newcomers from the J.V. squad.
OUTLOOK: The Lions were 11-11 but placed fourth in the competitive Olympic Conference Patriot Division. West won’t be considered the favorite this year but could surface as a contender. Even with defending champion Clearview moving to the American Division, the Patriot, with the likes of Kingsway and Moorestown, will be highly competitive.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior outside/middle Adam Herman had 34 kills and 31 blocks last season. Senior middle Christian Rogers added 42 blocks and 22 kills. Other returning veterans include three seniors: setter Nick Falconi and outside hitters Kyle and Ryan Alpaugh.
OUTLOOK: The Pioneers were 13-7 overall and 7-1 in winning the Olympic Conference Patriot Division championship, but now move to the American Division. Clearview will still be a competitive team, but won’t be listed among the favorites in a division with some of South Jersey’s top programs—Eastern, Williamstown and Cherry Hill East. If Clearview can produce a winning record, that would be a good accomplishment.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Returning starters include senior libero Alex Neumann, senior mid/outside hitter Narindra Peaks, junior outside hitter/defensive specialist/libero Wade Coomer and junior setter Joe Kerr. Other key letter winners include senior mid/opposite/outside hitter Matt Weiss, junior defensive specialist/libero Ari Goldovsky, junior mid/outside/opposite hitter Bill Fischer, junior mid/outside/opposite hitter Sunny Vaishnani and junior outside/opposite hitter Nish Vadalia.
OUTLOOK: Under coach Tom Armour (303-134), the Vikings annually have one of the top programs in South Jersey and this year is no different. Eastern went 19-4 last year and won the Olympic American, and so the Vikings will seriously contend once again.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Dragons return two varsity players, but they are among the best in the Olympic Conference Patriot Division. Senior Jason Coles was a first-team all-conference player. Senior libero D.J. Salvatore was second-team all-conference and was selected as the best libero at the Moorestown tourney.
OUTLOOK: Despite being relatively inexperienced after last year’s 11-7 season, the Dragons should be a contender in the Patriot Division. Coles and Salvatore are strong building blocks and coach Brent Dodulik feels there are some potential impact players among the newcomers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior outside hitter Sean Kirsch is among the best returning players in South Jersey. He was a second-team all-South Jersey choice last season. Junior Jeff Nelson joined Kirsch on the first-team all-conference squad.
OUTLOOK: The Quakers have built a strong program and should continue that way. Having one of the best players in South Jersey and one of the best in the league with Nelson to build around provides the Quakers with a great foundation.
Paul VI Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kris Karcher is the lone senior returning starter, but there are several from the junior class who will help to improve upon last year’s record (pictured): setter Lou Polino, outside hitter Freddie Simpkins, middle hitter Casey Taylor, libero Dan Snyder and outside hitter Pietro Gentile.
OUTLOOK: First-year coach Tom Pierson hopes the Eagles can improve on a 3-17 record. The schedule is very difficult and the key will be how the juniors, who saw so much time, have developed after receiving such valuable experience.
Washington Township Minutemen
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior outside power hitter Evan Carey is a team captain and returning first-team all-conference performer. Senior middle hitter Jack Killian and senior setter Geno Marrone were second team choices. Others back include senior middle hitter Jim Moffit, senior opposite hitter Tyler Virgilio, junior libero Joey Casaletto, and senior defensive specialist Marc Boncardo.
OUTLOOK: The Minutemen have an experienced team, one truly capable of being among the top 10 in South Jersey and competing for the Olympic Conference American Division title. peting for the Olympic Conference American Division title.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Spring Sports Preview, January, 2013.
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