LIVINGSTON, NJ – The 2014 Lancer Boys Volleyball team has gotten off to a fast start. After wins against Belleville and Summit to open the season, the Montclair Bulldogs visited the Lancers in their home opener on Thursday, April 3. Livingston upped their record to 3-0, by beating their SEC Conference rival in two straight games, 25-17 and 25-19. This year, Senior Captains David Shulman, Mike Cheng, Tom Montesion, and Jay Schaefer look to lead the Lancers to repeat last year’s North 2 Sectional Championship.
Livingston Setter Shulman did a great job spreading the ball around to several front line hitters. Outside Hitter Cheng led Livingston with 10 kills, and has looked impressive in the early going.
The Lancers jumped out to a quick lead, and Montclair never threatened. Outside Hitters Schaefer chipped in with five kills, and junior Jason Levine added two. Middle Blockers Montesion and newcomer Mikey Thompson led the Lancer defense with three blocks a piece. Kevin Cheng and sophomore Jack Rulka, both in their 1st Varsity season, anchored the back line defense, with six and five digs respectively.
Junior Opposite Hitter Matt Brown contributed on both offense and defense. Juniors Conner McCloskey, Jacob Haaker, and Dustin Cece also helped to nail down the win by keeping the pressure on during the second game of the match.
Rulka said, “I was bit nervous for my 1st home Varsity game, but the team played well and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Tom Montesion, the lone returning Lancer Starter said, “The team played well, but needed to pass better and reduce their service errors. But I feel we are ready to face stronger competition.”
Longtime Coaches Al Partelow and Bob Cece have their work cut for them this year. After a record Lancer season that ended with a Sectional Championship and a berth in the State Final Four, Livingston graduated 10 seniors and left the coaches with just one returning starter, Montesion. As the season moves on, the team will gain experience, and should still be the favorites to finish atop the SEC conference.
Livingston (3-0) looks to defend their title at the Eastern Invitational on today, at Eastern Regional High School. This will be a good early season test, as they will compete against some of the top teams in the state.