Chris Rimaldi, amid the uncertainty the last several months, continued to maintain hope that he and his teammates would get one final chance.
One final opportunity to finish off the job following their loss in the county final last season.
On Thursday night they finally returned to the court and took the first step in their mission, as the visiting Bethpage boys volleyball team came away with a 25-20, 25-19. 25-19, victory over Bellmore JFK in a Nassau Conference B-I opener.
"It was tough not knowing what was going to happen and having that uncertainty as the season kept getting pushed back," Rimaldi said after notching 11 kills for the Golden Eagles, who defeated Bellmore JFK in a Nassau Class B semifinal last season before falling to Long Beach in the championship.
"Now that we’ve gotten a chance and we’re here, we definitely have our sights set on getting back to the county championship and winning it this time," Rimaldi said. "We believe we have the pieces to get it done."
Boys volleyball resumed competition earlier in the week, along with all other fall sports for Long Island public schools, after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the season’s postponement back in September.
While Bellmore JFK remained within striking distance toward the end of each set, Bethpage maintained its composure to close the sweep. Setter Phil D’Aguanno, who tallied 23 assists, highlighted the keys to Bethpage’s victory.
"Communication was off in the first set but after that we were on point," D’Aguanno said. "The pieces started coming together. It’s going to be a well-oiled machine when we’re done."
D’Aguanno also believes the Golden Eagles have what it takes to make another run to the county final.
"I definitely think we can get there again," D’Aguanno said. "We may not have the hitters this year, but our defense can help get us there."
Bethpage coach Chrissy Bennett was considerably pleased with her team’s performance, as the Golden Eagles took the court for their first official match since Nov. 2019.
"It means the world to me how they played," Bennet said. "Knowing them for so long and to see them embrace each other like this is quite touching."
Bellmore JFK coach Dennis Ringel, who had originally announced his retirement following last season, also returned to the sideline and was grateful for the opportunity.
"It was fun," Ringel said. "It was great to get out there and every single one of our guys played. Of all the years to have that be the attitude and the mantra, that we’re going to have some fun, this is the year."