BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- Just a few weeks ago, all signs were looking great for the Bloomfield High boys' volleyball team.
Head coach Louis Stevens' program had over 90 student-athletes come out for the squad, the most, ever, during Steven's 16 season run. The Bengals were also coming off a county championship season in 2019.
"We couldn't believe the turnout of players for this year," said Stevens. "Ninety two kids came out, we kept 45, on three levels. There was 35 freshmen trying out. Volleyball is a fast-paced sport, and I think kids enjoy that. They're also learning the game at a younger level, in gym classes, and that helps, too."
The team had begun practice on March 6. About a week later, the Coronavirus pandemic reached a critical stage, and with that, schools closed and practices/scrimmages were postponed.
"We're hoping to get back into school, and hopefully play some games," said Stevens. "We have nine seniors on the roster, and, of course I want them to be able to play. For many, this will be their last chance to play competitive sports. As a coach, I want to see them enjoying it."
Matthew Fong, a four-year varsity player, will be the team's captain.
"Matthew is our Libero, but he can play a number of different positions," said Stevens. "He's a very talented player."
The coaching staff also features Ron Gasparri and Dan Barry.
The roster features seniors Marc Abraham, Alexander Camacho, Alnazir Cobb, Dante Gibbs, Peter Kuo, Christian Lopez, Michael Mansilla and Marlon Richards. Fong and Gibbs were varsity starters last season
The juniors are Christopher Moreno, Chinoso Anyanwu, Milazim Maliqi, Wahid Gaida, Joshua Orejola and Randall Villaroel. Among the sophomores are Jaydon Apgar, Uma Kalu, Carlos Armestar, Justin Delgado, Christian Hulson, Jeremy Magno, Ardonit Maliqi, Joseph Micciche, Jahleel Murphy, Lucas Olaya and Nardo Rojas.
The freshmen are Esaias Edwards, Ellis Gomez-McPherson, Anthony Armestar, Evan Burgos, Luis Encarnacion, Arthur Fleming, Jason Garcia, Lucas Hususan, Sami Kabakibi, Estuardo Lopez, Luis Luque, Zachary Martinez, Juan Millan, Jacob Moreno, Lucas Norelli, Samir Sheeha, Sadman Taasin, Andrew Travers and Zeree Tumamak.