BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Senior captain Bella Sottosanti led the Gov. Livingston volleyball team with 11 assists when the Lady Highlanders recently edged past the Hilltoppers of Summit in a nail-biting two set victory (27-25, 25-21). In the three set battle against Rahway, she had a double-double performance with 10 service points, 13 assists and 8 digs. She continually records double digit assists -- tallying 66 on the season.

"Bella takes control of the court when she’s in," said Gov. Livingston head volleyball coach Dana Hilaire. "She leads the team by making sure all her teammates’ passes are turned into great sets for her team to be able to run a strong offense."

"When Bella is in, we’re confident in our court coverage because she does such a phenomenal job at reading and picking up tips and touches off the block," said Hilaire. "She is relentless in her pursuit of the ball and truly never lets the ball drop! She is mentally tough and remains positive at all times, and she doesn’t let pressure or stress compromise her game."

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Because of her resilience and leadership on and off the court, Bella Sottosanti is named Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week.

She began playing volleyball at the age of 11 as a member of the Berkeley Heights Recreation youth program, thanks to effort of her mother Jane Sottosanti, who introduced the program. Subsequently, Jane helped to launch a youth travel program through the Berkeley Heights PAL in 2014 and simultaneously, through the combined efforts of Patrick Fuhrman and Nancy Reiner [along with GL Athletic Director Ann Clifton and the approval of the BOE], brought the program to Gov. Livingston.

Bella along with fellow seniors Mikayla Sanchez and Isabella Napoli are the first class to compete in the four year varsity volleyball program offered at Gov. Livingston -- and were part of the team that successfully completed an undefeated conference championship season last year.

"I am extremely proud of how far the team and volleyball program have come in only four years," said Sottosanti.

Below are some additional comments from Bella regarding her past, present and future:

TAPinto: How have you personally and the team gotten better this season?

Bella: I think I have improved my setting each year/season from both school and club volleyball. I am able to read the ball better, set farther, and have an overall better volleyball IQ. 

TAPinto: Who was the best player that you’ve ever  played against ?

Bella: Heather McCulloch from Madison (I played club with her)

TAPinto: What advice would you give to younger volleyballers?

Bella: To keep playing the sport and you can always improve.

TAPinto: Who is your Volleyball or sports hero?

Bella: Kerri Walsh Jennings 

TAPinto: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten and from who?

Bella: To not get down on yourself after a mistake from Coach Dana.

TAPinto: When not at  Gov. Livingston  what do you like to do in your spare time?

Bella: I like to hang out with friends watch TV and eat.

TAPinto: What is your favorite subject and who is your favorite teacher?

Bella: My favorite subject in school is math and my favorite teacher this year is Signora (Mrs. Luciano).

TAPinto: What will you miss most about Gov. Livingston?

Bella: I will miss the people (all my friend and teachers) and definitely volleyball.

TAPinto: What are your plans for next year and do they include volleyball ?

Bella: I plan to go to college to study nursing and hopefully play club volleyball for the school.

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Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Delicious Heights, a family restaurant with three locations; Berkeley Heights, Bedminster and Basking Ridge, where it is part of the Basking Ridge County Club operating a public restaurant with outdoor dining, and acting as the banquet caterer, boasting a facility with panoramic views of the sprawling golf course. Visit our website, www.deliciousheights.com for weekly specials including Happy Hour specials from 3-6pm and daily featured dinner and lunch specials. Delicious Heights....where our only limitations are yours!

Delicious Heights is located at 428 Springfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights. 908.464.3287; 285 Main Street in Bedminster. 908.234.1596; 185 Madisonville Road in Basking Ridge. 908.766.9499.