Season Preview: Boys Varsity Volleyball Looks to Repeat NJAC Championship Win This Spring


Kiersten Tinio

Back row, left to right: Marko Aksentijevic, Aziz Kodirov, Jonas Covalesky, Hunter Kasper, Joshua Barrett, Edward Barton, Antony Hajsok. Front row, left to right: Ramon Fernandez, Christopher Lagomarsino, Kevin Tinio, Daniel Piatek, Diego Ali, Thomas LaDieu, Jayden DeCarvalho.

Kiersten Tinio, Staff Reporter

Following last year’s 13-8 record, Boys Varsity Volleyball is looking to four returning varsity players–three of whom were starters last year–as well as some new faces, in order to fill the shoes of the eight seniors the team lost to graduation last year.

“A few goals we have this year are to win the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) tournament again like we did last year as well as make a big run in the state tournament,” said Erik Novack, who is beginning his third season as head coach. “We were the unexpected team to win the NJAC last year, and the goal is to surprise even more people for the state tournament.”

This year’s captains are seniors Jonas Covalesky (middle blocker), Josh Barrett (outside hitter) and sophomore Kevin Tinio (setter), who was the lone freshman on the team last year and fulfilled the role of defensive specialist. Along with seniors Christopher Lagomarsino (defensive specialist) and junior Hunter Kasper, all five said they look forward to sharing their expertise with the new players.

“I am most excited for the relationships we are building because that reflects how we play and the energy we have,” Barrett said.

“I am expecting great things from two varsity starter returns, Jonas Covalesky and Kevin Tinio, and others who I know have been working hard in the off season,” Coach Novack said, adding that he is eager to see what the new players and underclassmen will bring to the team and program. In the off season, members of the Boys Volleyball program practiced at open gyms around Randolph and participated on club teams, so they could begin the season with good chemistry and a strong foundation.

“I have been impressed with the number of players that have been keeping up with practice during the off-season,” senior Jonas Covalesky said. Covalesky was one of the four varsity starters last season and a key contributor to the team’s success as a middle blocker. He is expected to be an impressive force this upcoming season.

Coach Novack described how volleyball is not an individual sport and that it takes effort from all members to reach the team’s goals. “One player is just as crucial as the next guy in order for the program to have great success, so whoever is on the roster, I will rely on them all,” Coach Novack said.

New to the varsity team this year are seniors Diego Ali, Joshua Barrett, Edward Barton, Antony Hajsok, Aziz Kodirov and Daniel Piatek; Marko Aksentijevic and Ramon Fernandez complete the junior roster; and Jayden DeCarvalho and Thomas LaDieu wrap it up for the sophomores.

The Rams have a tough schedule this year against many top teams including Hillsborough, Hunterdon Central, Southern, Fairlawn and Jefferson. “We’ve seen them before and now we know how they play,” sophomore Kevin Tinio said. “Our competition won’t see us coming, since we’re going to have a new team and mindset. We’ll need to work closely together and rely on each other’s strengths to make up for the loss of our eight seniors.

The Rams open their regular season away against Morristown High School at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 3.