Massapequa is keeping it in the family. After going 22-0 last year en route to the Class A boys volleyball title, the Chiefs will have to repeat with the same names, albeit different faces.

They lost six seniors and four starters from the undefeated campaign, most notably star setter Brian Smith. Junior setter Christian Smith, Brian's brother, must fill his sibling’s shoes.

Frank DelGiudice will replace his brother, Vinny, as the libero. Head coach Steve Mariano says DelGiudice has been groomed for this opportunity.

“He has known since last year that he would have to step up,” Mariano said. “The older siblings tend to have a positive impact on the younger ones.”



Massapequa is the consensus favorite, with Plainview JFK looming as its greatest threat. JFK returns senior middle hitter Greg Rankel, and coach Russi Villalta expects a breakout season from senior opposite hitter Matt Benjamin.

Last year's Class A runner-up, Port Washington, which extended Massapequa to five games in the county finals, lost its top three players from last year's team. Sophomore Jong-Ho Byun, Senior middle hitter/right side Ben Adler and senior outside hitter Daniel Chu are its top returners.

To earn another shot at Massapequa, some new faces must emerge.

"We definitely are capable, but it's a quantum leap up from the jayvee level," Port Washington coach Maria Giamanco said.



Two-time defending champions Bellmore JFK returns four starters from last year, including All-County outside hitter Ben Hirschler and All-County middle blocker Brian O'Gorman. It has vacancies at both setting positions, but its deep reservoir of varsity veterans leave it in prime position for a three-peat.

Jericho, West Hempstead, Roslyn and Floral Park are expected to contend with JFK for the Class B crown.



Despite returning only two starters from the '09 squad, two-time defending Suffolk champion Half Hollow Hills has been tabbed by opposing coaches as the county's pre-eminent team. It returns middle blocker/outside hitter Chris Kaimis, arguably the top player in Suffolk, and senior outside hitter Michael Degrazia.

Ward Melville will vie for the top spot, with Lindenhurst and Sachem North also capable of authoring some upsets.

"Hills is number one, and everybody else is fighting for two," Ward Melville coach Enrico Chacon said.



Smithtown East, considered the class of League II, returns a stacked squad, including senior outside hitter Tyler Donofrio, setter Sean Baxley and libero Jason Carroll. After falling to Hills in last year's Suffolk finals, it might have the manpower to get it done in done in '10.

"Smithtown East is the team to beat," Smithtown West coach Mike Legge said. "They are a factory over there."

Northport is considered an upstart program and returns five starters. Smithtown West is an inexperienced-yet-talented group that might be capable of competing with the top teams.



Eastport-South Manor leads the small-school charge, featuring a blend of youth and experience. Junior setter Ryan Brisson leads the Eastport attack.

"He'll be a threat when he is at the net," Eastport coach Bruce Stiriz said.

Stiriz believes his depth, which features four defensive specialists and outside hitter Ryan Brandow, should help his team earn a trip upstate.

"Hopefully, we could win our league and get a shot at Nassau," Stiriz said. "It's been hard to keep my guys down."

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