LIVINGSTON, NJ - There are six members of this year’s boys volleyball team that were part of last year’s first-ever Livingston Sectional Championship Team that advanced to the State Final Four, and they are working hard to successfully defend their title. To do so, the second seeded (23-4) Livingston Lancer Volleyball team got off on the right foot for the NJSIAA North 2 Sectional Title on Tuesday, making quick work of Roselle Catholic in two straight games, 25-11 and 25-17. It was a well-balanced attack, with nine different players contributing to the team kill total.
The senior captains, setter David Shulman, middle hitter Tom Montesion, outside hitter Mike Cheng, and opposite hitter Jay Schaefer, set the tone for Livingston. The Lancers jumped out to a quick lead in the first game and never looked back. Shulman dished out nine assists in game one and contributed two kills and two service aces. Mike Cheng led the Lancers with five kills. Montesion added four kills and two blocks. Schaefer chipped in with three kills, two blocks, and two service aces as well. Junior outside hitter Jason Levine, who has had a terrific year, also had three kills.
Game two was a time for Livingston to flex their muscles and show their depth. Junior setter, Dustin Cece, picked up where Shulman left off and distributed the ball to several Lancer hitters. Juniors Mikey Thompson, Jacob Haaker, and Connor McCloskey added to the Livingston kill and assist totals. Middle hitters, senior Bryan Sorrentino and sophomore EJ Okopie also had kills for the team.
Overall defensively, the Lancers were solid. Juniors Kevin Cheng and Matt Brown, along with sophomore Jack Rulka, had several great digs to keep the ball alive for the Livingston frontliners.
The Lancers are back in action on Thursday, when they host No. 7 Bayonne Bees in a Quarterfinal NJSIAA match at 4 p.m.
“The match against Bayonne will be much tougher than today’s opening round match," head coach Al Partelow said. "Our guys played well and the competition will get tougher with each round.”
Livingston will have some State Tournament revenge on their minds, as Bayonne eliminated Livingston in the Sectional Final in 2012. The Lancers met Bayonne earlier this season and won a three-game match. If Livingston stings the Bees, they will play the next round at home, on Wednesday, May 28, against the winner of No. 3 seed Ridge and No. 6 Harrison.