Behind Pantophlet, Lady Mavericks Volleyball Ready to Run

By Mike Perrota

Behind Pantophlet, Lady Mavericks Volleyball Ready to Run

Coming off a season-ending loss in the quarterfinals of the ECC playoffs last year, the 2009 lady Mavericks volleyball team has a new look and is hoping for a good run this season.

New head coach Reggie Pantophlet has a positive feeling about his squad and expressed his excitement to once again be involved in the sport of volleyball.

“Seven years ago I was the head coach at Pace University, but took time off to start my family,” he stated. “It’s good to start coaching again and I am happy to be involved in the sport.”

Along with coaching the Pace volleyball squad, Pantophlet spent time coaching volleyball on the high school level, front-running the Whippany High School and Dover Park High School teams in New Jersey. He also headed the Ramapo College volleyball team from 1998-2002.

At press time, the lady Mavericks are 1-10 overall and own a record of 0-2 in ECC play, which began Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Molloy. Pantophlet feels his team needs a certain spark.

“We have a lot of great individual players, but not a great deal of consistent team players,” he remarked. “The returning players are performing well, but the newcomers are still learning. It’s difficult to learn the system and play at the Division II level.”

Junior middle hitter Shedeiky Hamilton and senior outside hitter Diana Bruzzone are two veterans demonstrating experience this year, putting up solid overall numbers. Hamilton currently has 34 defensive digs while Bruzzone leads the team with 67.

On Sept. 11, the lady Mavs competed at the Kutztown Volleyball Challenge, taking division rival NYIT to five games. Pantophlet felt it was the best the lady Mavs have performed this year.

“According to the coaches’ poll, NYIT is ranked ahead of us. They defeated us, but we played well,” he said.

“We took them to five games and we were down big time. We just kept chipping back at them but we lost on a bad play. The team played well, but lacked that end potential, that killer instinct.”

Hamilton led the lady Mavs with 16 kills vs. NYIT and Bruzzone added 10 kills to the defensive game.

Pantophlet anticipates another playoff run this year and wishes to see the volleyball team around .500 towards the end of the season.

“I’d like to see us get to the post-season again, maybe with a fourth or fifth place finish,” he said. “There are seven teams in our conference and we have 12 games against ECC opponents. We are just looking to improve on last year. It’s certainly doable.”

In addition to development upon last year, Pantophlet hopes to see the returning players take the youngsters under their wing in order to continue a good run into next season.

“The incoming freshmen need to grow,” he said. “They can learn more from the veterans and be aggressive while the veterans can trust them more. After all, volleyball is a game of trust.”

The lady Mavs volleyball team will wrap up the month of September with a non-conference game at St. Rose as they continue their bid for a playoff spot.