After winning the CHSAA boys volleyball championship last season, this year’s Chaminade team will look much different from the one that raised the trophy, but the Flyers hope to achieve the same result.
The 2017 team graduated nine players from the squad that defeated St. John the Baptist in straight sets, 25-14, 25-12, 25-22, in last season’s final. This year, they’ll be led by two key starters in outside hitter JP Lynch and middle Shawn Connell, both entering their senior seasons.
“They’re very motivated,” coach Sal Trentacoste said. “They’re familiar with the pressure of being in regular-season matches and playoff matches.”
After graduating a pair of four-year starters at setter, Trentacoste said the Flyers will lean on Ryan Noble and Jim Butler to take over the position.
Chaminade, 11-3 last season, won’t be relying on individual players as much this spring. Trentacoste is focusing on a team-based system.
“We always had a group of guys that contributed as team,” he said, “and that’s a goal we will continue to work on this year.”
But the Flyers don’t expect anything to come easy.
Kellenberg, the No. 3 seed that lost to St. John the Baptist in the semifinals last season, returns one of the top players in the conference in outside hitter Aidan McManaman. The 6-5 senior, entering his fourth varsity season, led the Firebirds in kills, aces and blocks last year, coach John Heitner said.
“He has excellent range and he jumps out of the gym,” Heitner said. “There’s nothing the kid can’t do. He’s one of the best kids I’ve had ever in my 12 years of coaching.”
For Heitner, there is no secret where Kellenberg will turn when searching for a game-changing play. On McManaman, the coach said: “If we need a point, we need a block, we need a kill, that’s where we’re going.”
Along with McManaman, Heitner is excited to have setter Nick D’Amato back. The coach said the two have formed tremendous chemistry and are a standout duo in the league.
St. Anthony’s, St. Francis Prep and St. John the Baptist also will be in the running late into the season, both Trentacoste and Heitner predicted.
“The league is always strong,” Heitner said. “Top to bottom.”