Tag Archives: Volleyball

St. Francis Prep teen earns rare college sand volleyball scholarship


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Bogda family 

When you think of the best places to play beach volleyball, New York may not be the hottest choice on the list.

But that never stopped St. Francis Preparatory School volleyball player Stephanie Bogda from loving the game. Bogda, who plays both indoor and outdoor, was attracted to the sand version after watching some women in Long Beach play when she was 11. She would return occasionally to the beach to watch the players for two years and ask tips about the game, until eventually they asked her to play.

Now Bogda, 17, who has trained and competed for years in sand volleyball, earned a four-year scholarship with Division I University of New Orleans to play sand volleyball, despite the long odds, being from a state where the temperature gets to be near freezing for half of the year. She recently verbally committed to the school.

“We’re extremely proud of her because she had to overcome a lot,” said Bogda’s mother, Patricia. “She has had to sacrifice a lot while her friends were playing. She always had this goal and she would never let anything stop her.”

BOGDA 2

Beach volleyball, which has two players per team rather than six, has been on a wave of growth that stems from the Beijing Olympics, according to many published reports.

The NCAA added Division I sand volleyball to its list of varsity programs in 2011. Now, more than 40 NCAA four-year schools sponsor the sport, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Bogda continues to play indoor volleyball on travel teams and with St. Francis Prep. But during the summer she partakes in sand volleyball competitions in other states. She also has a rigorous daily training schedule that includes running, two-hour conditioning and personal mentoring from professional sand players, including Brazilian Priscilla Lima.

Besides volleyball, Bogda likes to draw and paint in her free time, so she believes she will major in art in at the University of New Orleans.

But of course she has her eyes set on becoming a professional volleyball player and perhaps playing in a future Olympics.

With a year remaining before college games begin, Bogda plans to work harder than ever to prove when she steps in the sand in New Orleans that she belongs there.

“I’m going to spend a lot of this year on the beach,” Bogda said. “People say ‘oh you’re committed, you can relax now.’ Absolutely not. I need to be ready for college.”

 

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Benjamin Cardozo volleyball player is a dream on the court


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Anja Malesevic came to the U.S. in search of the American Dream, but she turned out to be the fantasy of every volleyball team.

Malesevic, who emigrated from Serbia in August, is finishing her senior year of high school at Benjamin Cardozo and is making waves as one of the city’s top volleyball players this season.

Following a victory against Francis Lewis on October 21, the Lady Judges are undefeated 8-0, and Malesevic leads the city in kills with 95 in seven matches. The next player has just 73.

“She’s a tremendous player,” said head coach Daniel Scarola. “She’s well-rounded in her skills and she hits really hard. She’s been a great gift to have.”

Scarola said he was informed that Malesevic, a long, sturdy outside hitter, was coming to the school over the summer. Since she grew up playing volleyball in Serbia, when the coach met her he instantly knew she was a great player.

“I was like ‘wow, the height, the athletic ability, it was just what we needed,” Scarola said.

When Malesevic first came to the country she said she had to overcome some challenges, such as the separation from her family and friends and using English as a primary language.

But she had no problems fitting in with the team.

“They were just so excited,” Malesevic said. “They wanted to know how tall I am and they accepted me from the first day.”

Malesevic, who towers over most of her teammates, is 6’2”. Her ability to spike the ball is a lethal weapon for the other players, who frequently look to feed her the ball for kills.

One of Cardozo’s key players, senior setter Zhan Cheng Yin, who had 20 assists in the game, leads the league in assists, 149, primarily because of Malesevic’s success.

Last year Yin had just 115 for the entire season.

With Malesevic, the Lady Judges are once again competitive and in the hunt for their seventh PSAL City Championship.

“I feel great helping these girls, this coach and this school,” Malesevic said. “It’s a huge step in my life. But I really like it here.”

 

PSAL QUEENS  A EAST GIRLS VOLLEYBALL STANDINGS – 10(23)2013

Benjamin Cardozo                                    9  -  0

Townsend Harris                                             5  -  3

Bayside High School                                      4  -  4

Francis Lewis                                                    4  -  4

Queens High School of Teaching              2  -  5

Martin Van Buren                                            0  -  8

 

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Girls grab victory: Kew-Forest wins tennis, volleyball


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Kew-Forest. Kew-Forest’s volleyball team netted a championship

The Kew-Forest School showed just how skilled its athletes are by capturing both the volleyball and varsity tennis girls’ championships in the span of one week – capturing the 2011 Private Parochial School Athletic League (IPPAL) Championships, capping off both teams’ impressive seasons.

On October 25, the varsity volleyball team defeated Lawrence-Woodmere in a match played at the Lexington School. Led by coach Adreama Mackey and team captains Maria Tsiatis and Lexis Valentine, the Jaguars won 2-1. After losing their first set 19-25, the Jaguars hit their stride and went on to win the next two sets. The second set resulted in a 25-22 win, and in their final set, they achieved a decisive victory of 25-10.

“After losing the first set, we were really determined to get it back,” said co-captain Maria Tsiatis. “It was really intense — they were a great team and we had to play our best to beat them. We saw what it means to work hard and see the results. Five of us are graduating, and winning it all meant so much.”

The team’s victory gave them a 7-1 record on the year.

On the tennis court, Kew-Forest defeated last year’s champions, the Portledge School, 3-2, for the championship. The Jaguars secured victory under the leadership of captain Whitney Schott to complete a successful 9-1 season for the team.

One of the key players, sophomore Grace Tom, played on both the tennis and volleyball teams, helping bring home both championships. Until this year, Kew-Forest had not fielded a girls’ tennis team for decades. In prior years, female players participated on the boys’ team, where they played a significant role in achieving a championship win last year.

The formation of the girls team has been invigorated by last year’s launch of the Kew-Forest Tennis Academy at the West Side Tennis Club, a partnership between the school and the tennis club. The Academy provides a unique interface between college-preparatory academics and competitive athletics — giving students three hours of daily practice and tennis pro instruction during the academic year. Scott Gordon-Somers, Director of Sport, Health and Wellness at Kew-Forest and acting girls’ tennis coach, has been key in the development of the Girls Varsity Team and the Academy.