When asked if the Massapequa boys volleyball team have enough to make it five straight Nassau Class A county championships, first-year coach David Vogel said, "Absolutely."
Massapequa is led by a strong core of technically-savvy players, including seniors Nick Goldberg and Nick Breslin, along with junior setter Nick Smith, whose 28 assists and five blocks helped win a game against Port Washington, a team capable of contending in the conference.
Plainview JFK coach Russi Villalta's eyes lit up when she saw Allen Durutovic, because at 6-4, he is probably the tallest regular starter the program has ever had, the coach said. Durutovic, a junior, is expected to be the main passer for Plainview JFK, which lost in the county final to Massapequa last year. Senior setter Eric Azoulay is the leader of the team and junior setter Bryan Wang is a promising player.
Syosset figures to be in the playoff picture and is led by Robert Ditizio and Brandon Gordon. Ditizio had 23 kills and five aces in an evenly contested Conference I five-set match over Oceanside last week.
Bellmore JFK had an undefeated season last year and won a state Division II championship last year behind the strong play of Gary Anderson. The senior is back and has already had some big games, including his performance against West Hempstead last week when he had eight kills, 12 assists and four aces. Justin Feigeles, Justin Ganca and Andrew Sheehan are all primed for breakout seasons.
West Hempstead made it to the Class B final last year and returns Greg Isoldi, Bryce Cohen, Darius Francis and Darren Davy. Roslyn went 15-3 last year and lost to West Hempstead in the semifinals yet aims to make the playoffs again.
Though many coaches have said there is a lot more parity among contending teams than there as been in recent years in Suffolk, defending Long Island champion Lindenhurst is still the favorite.
The strong unit is led by senior Steven Schrank, who had 53 assists in a win over Bay Shore on Friday. Tyler Pizzichemi is one to watch because of an ability to rack up aces and digs.
Sachem East, which lost in the county final to Lindenhurst, graduated five seniors but has retooled and is expected to be in the mix. Tyler Jones, a senior and three-year varsity player is one of the best setters on the Island. Ryan Cole a senior who is 6-4, and senior Mike Barfield have the potential to have big seasons.
Sachem North is a perennial playoff team and is led by Dylan Missry and Nick Miller, and Rob Steinberg, who is a strong passer. Steinberg had 21 assists in a win against Ward Melville last week.
Half Hollow Hills has emerged with a 4-0 start behind the strong play of Luke Perlowski, Frank Tricamo and Tom Oliveri.
Despite a 1-2 start to the season, Eastport-South Manor aims to make it four straight Division II county championships this year with Jon Suarez, Eric Ferrante and Tyler Brandow leading the way.
After making it to the county final last year, East Hampton returns Will Mackin and Henry Whitney.