Beach Channel Girls Volleyball Is All Aces
By Elio Velez
Serves, Aces and Kills are part of the terminology of a volleyball game. When a team is performing on all facets of the game, the results can only lead to victory. For the Beach Channel Varsity Girls, winning has been the biggest reward of them all.
After a 5-5 season in 2001, Head Coach Mark Sanchez, in his tenth season and a teacher at Beach Channel High School, had cultivated a group of players who have been playing with each other in junior varsity and varsity. It has led to the Dolphins in posting a 10-0 record to win the PSAL Queens B Division by 2 games over Far Rockaway.
Sanchez has extolled the work ethic of his team, "The team has been an better all-around team that has worked very hard in practice and in the games." Sanchez spoke of how the girls were so dedicated to practicing that they would show up sometimes at 6:30 or 7 a.m. in the morning before school started. Most schools have barely opened the doors at that time.
Instead of having a large roster of players such as such as PSAL Queens A Division champion Townsend Harris, who have 14 players, Sanchez has only used 7 players all season. "I like to work with a small group of players instead of trying to manage a bigger roster." The coach says that because of the small group, they have become a tight knit group off and on the court.
Sanchez preaches the fundamentals of the game because he does not believe that just serving the ball over the net and kills is the only way to win. The team is a veteran group comprised of 5 seniors and two juniors who have at least played with each other for 2 seasons. The familiarity with each other is the biggest factor of their success. Here is a quick scouting report on the Beach Channel 7:
Akeilah Campbell, a junior, had little experience as she began volleyball, has turned into a good player with serving the ball as she gained 14 service points and 7 kills on the year.
"I have been coaching Latoya Daniels for three years and she is great in setting, blocks and with her overhand serve," Sanchez said. A senior, Daniels had 51 service points and 34 kills on the year.
" Priscilla Head has one of the funkiest serves I’ve ever seen but it works", said a beaming Sanchez. Head, a senior and captain of the team, has been one of the bedrocks of the team with her play and her leadership ability. 93 assists and 31 aces are the areas she led the team in.
Amy Grosshandler, a senior, is a strong player who has definitely played even better in the second half off the season according to Sanchez. Grosshandler and Head also participate in the Crew Coed Varsity team.
Aneta Zalewska, one of the two juniors on the squad, has a great overhead hitting ability. Accumulating 17 assists and 37 kills on the year, Zalewska’s nickname is "Ice" and when asked how she got the name, Sanchez just said that she just liked the way it sounded.
Monika Nizo, a senior, previous played volleyball in her native Poland. "She is a good all around player with a power serve.
Sanchez said of senior Rose Thelusma. "Our tallest player is an excellent digger who hustles very well to the ball."
Sanchez spoke of maturity with the team that has impressed him even as they won all of their ballgames. And what impresses him even more is their dedication to the book.
"Our team has never had a problem in making grades and my students are doing well academically. The team cares about that a lot."
Beach Channel success placed the Dolphins to their second division championship after first winning in 1998. As they won their first playoff game against Grace Dodge, 25-20 and 25-21, Sanchez spoke of how the team didn’t play strongly but knew how to win. For the Beach Channel Girls Varsity team and Coach Mark Sanchez, they are confident that the years of hard work have resulted in a great season. And it has.