Volleyball Team Looks to Move Up

Volleyball Team Looks to Move Up

Sept. 1, 2009

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's volleyball team hopes to move up in the Little East Conference this season.

The Corsairs, who finished sixth in the league a year ago, hope to improve their standing.

"We're going to be an extremely tough defensive team," Head Coach Steve DeRossi. "We have that never-say-die attitude about not letting balls hit the floor. We're doing a much better job of anticipation. You have to look at the person who is about to touch the ball and see what they are going to do. Our strength will definitely be on the defensive end."

Offensively, the Corsairs should be improved. "We are going to be multi-faceted on offense with a lot of weapons," said DeRossi. "We are using both a 5-1 and a 6-2 formation with setters Jessica Goncalves (Fr. New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS) and Katie Amalfi (Holliston, MA/Holliston HS). We have our number two and three hitters in terms of kills coming back in (sophomore) Allie Mastrocola (Swansea, MA/Case HS) and (sophomore) Cami Ascher (Natick, MA/Natick HS). We also have (junior) Eleni Tsaparakas (Norwalk, CT/Norwalk HS), who spent last summer on the beach and has improved. She looks like she can play opposite Allie in the rotation."

Several newcomers will also contribute. "(Junior) Lauren Safioleas (New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS/Bristol CC) is very athletic and jumps well and can play the left side, and (senior) Amanda Langfield (Somerset, MA/Somerset HS) transferred back here from Framingham State after playing her first two years here and is an experienced player. (Sophomore) Shannon Brodie (Chelmsford, MA/Chelmsford HS) was our libero last year, and (senior) Aly Zagame (Greenfield, MA/Greenfield HS) was our libero two years ago before she got hurt, so we have a lot of depth there as well. Just about everyone has taken a step up. (Freshman) Liandra Pellegrini (Canton, MA/Canton HS) has some good skills, and (freshman) Ann Staulo (Waban, MA/Newton North HS) comes from a quality program at Newton North. Now we have people who can push our starters."

DeRossi will count on leadership from his captains. "Our captains are Eleni Tsaparakis, Aly Zagame and (senior) Jackie Davis (Swansea, MA/Case HS), who is a very versatile player who can play left side, right side, or in the middle," said DeRossi. "With our leadership and our depth, we should be a better team this year."