John F. Kennedy has had a stranglehold on the Bronx for much of coach Iris Bromfield’s 27 years with the program. But this season, the Knights lost their first league game since 2001, to Walton. The Wildcats emerged as a legitimate city powerhouse, earning the No. 4 seed in the postseason. Bronx Science was also a force to be reckoned with, led by Daniel Dworakowki.
But in the end, it was still Kennedy owning the borough. The Knights shared the Bronx VI title with Walton, but they were still the last ones standing in the playoffs. Kennedy made it to the semifinals and Walton was upset by Brooklyn Tech in the quarters.
Bronx Boys’ Volleyball
Player Of The Year
OH Arturo Cabrera, John F. Kennedy: The senior was Kennedy’s undisputed emotional leader this season. When the Knights were reeling, losing their first league game since 2001 to Walton, they leaned on Cabrera. In their next match with the Wildcats, Cabrera had no problem deferring his captainship to Ross Vizcaino, as advised by Bromfield. The pressure was getting to Cabrera. That kind of selflessness is what made him a great leader and he came back to play some of his best volleyball of the season to led Kennedy to a revenge win against its rival.
Cabrera led the team with 81 kills in the regular season and also had 63 digs, 14 blocks and 23 aces in 10 matches. There wasn’t a better all-around player in the Bronx. In the playoffs, he had 33 kills, 40 digs and 11 blocks in four matches, helping Kennedy into the PSAL semifinals, where it lost to McKee/Staten Island Tech.
Bronx Boys’ Volleyball
Coach Of The Year
Andrea Milsome, Walton: Before six years ago, Milsome had not played in or coached a volleyball game in her life. The United Kingdom native has certainly learned plenty in a short amount of time. Walton has traditionally been the No. 2 team in the Bronx behind John F. Kennedy, but this year the Wildcats broke through. They handed the Knights their first league loss since 2001 and took a share of the division title.
Walton was upset in the PSAL quarterfinals, but the Wildcats had just one senior who saw regular time. They’ll surely be a force to be reckoned with citywide next season.
ALL-BRONX FIRST TEAM
OH Aris Ducasse, Clinton: The 44th-seeded Governors came in gigantic underdogs against No. 21 Francis Lewis in the outbracket round of the PSAL playoffs. But, led by Ducasse and his leadership, Clinton pulled off the massive upset. Lewis and the city found out that day what the Bronx already knew: Ducasse, a senior, is one of the smartest, toughest players around. He finished the regular season with 110 kills, 91 digs and 30 aces in 10 regular-season matches.
MH Daniel Dworakowski, Bronx Science: Tall and talented, Dworakowski was Bronx Science’s force in the middle this season. At 6-foot-3, the junior had all the physical tools to be one of the most dominant players in the borough and he was just that. He adjusted to a new setter midseason (Mike Sideris) and it never fazed him. Dworakowski 66 kills and 20 blocks in 10 regular-season matches.
S Hansel Collado, John F. Kennedy: Kennedy had all the pieces this season to contend for a PSAL city title. There was just one problem before the season: a new setter. But Collado, just a sophomore, actually made it a strength. He helped lead the Knights to the PSAL semifinals and Bromfield called him her team’s MVP after the season. Collado had 241 assists, 41 digs and 20 aces in 10 regular-season matches. Not bad for a first timer.
L Jose Grullon, Walton: The Wildcats had some serious firepower with guys like Carlos Jimenez, Carlos Rodriguez and Zachary Pichardo. But without Grullon, a junior, there’s no way Walton takes a match from Kennedy and earns a share of the Bronx VI division title. He was all over the court and his service game was outstanding. Grullon had 63 digs in nine regular-season matches.
OH Carlos Jimenez, Walton: Coach Andrea Milsome would get on Jimenez sometimes, most notably after the Wildcats won their first-round match. But that was only because of the incredible talent and potential the junior had. With his size, strength and athleticism, he looks more like a football player than a volleyball player. Jimenez had 88 kills, 36 digs and 21 aces in nine regular-season matches. Look for him to be one of the best players in the city next year.
OH Ross Vizcaino, John F. Kennedy: Just days after he helped lead the Kennedy boys’ basketball team to the PSAL Class AA championship game at Madison Square Garden with his 3-point marksmanship and incredible leaping ability, Vizcaino took his place as one of the best volleyball players in New York City. His athleticism is nearly unmatched and is power is up there, too. The senior had 74 kills and 44 digs in 10 regular-season matches and turned it up in the postseason. There, Vizcaino had 43 kills and 41 digs in four playoff matches.
All-Bronx Honorable Mention
OPP Angel Acosta, John F. Kennedy; MH Matt Gao, Bronx Science; MH Joel Gomez, John F. Kennedy; MH Rasheem James, Columbus; S Oscarlin Pichardo, Walton; MH Zachary Pichardo, Walton; MH Chris Ramos, Lehman; MH Omar Rivera, John F. Kennedy;MH Carlos Rodriguez, Walton; S Mike Sideris, Bronx Science.