September 19, 2021

SMH

Santa Maria History

Italian trade university student Mattia Casagrande delivers volleyball savvy to Taunton boys’ group

“I enjoy the experience of actively playing sporting activities for your school,” he mentioned, “because I think it creates a sentiment for your faculty . . . that sort of patriotic experience that you have for your school [and] for your town.”

Casagrande is a native of Cogliate, a compact city outdoors of Milan, and picked up volleyball at age 10. Not like several stateside players who play many sporting activities inside seasons, Casagrande concentrated on the sport calendar year-spherical for close by club staff Pallavolo Saronno. He enjoys the fervor volleyball results in in Italy, and reminisces about the 2016 Olympic semifinals, when the Italian men’s countrywide team knocked off the United States in 5 sets.

Mattia Cassagrande has grow to be one particular of the ideal gamers on a impressive Taunton Substantial staff.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON World

Nevertheless he took a break from the sport at age 16, Casagrande was ecstatic to soar back in when he figured out about the Taunton system. He moved in with his host spouse and children in August and turned heads from his initially winter season tryout.

“He’s unquestionably a person of the smartest gamers on the courtroom at all situations when it arrives to volleyball,” reported teammate Tyler Stewart.

As Casagrande acclimated, he observed a variety of technological differences between the American and Italian recreation. For case in point, the libero never serves in Italy, and positions are additional rigidly defined. He approached mentor Toby Chaperon with his activities and ideas, and Chaperon was all ears.

“Me getting a visible learner, I informed him to draw it out,” Chaperon mentioned. “Tell me who’s wherever in each individual rotation and let us see what it looks like, and I claimed, you know what, basically I like that. I believe it’s going to match our personnel.”

Casagrande thrives as an outside the house hitter in a utility purpose he prospects the Tigers with 34 aces and sits third in kills (114), digs (130), and assists (17). But he’s not on your own. Daniel Medina slots in seamlessly as a initially-year setter with 33 aces and 544 helps.

Then there is Stewart, a 6-foot-6 senior who has racked up at minimum 10 kills in just about every match this spring. Stewart will be the 2nd participant in plan heritage to make the condition postseason in each individual yr of his 4-calendar year Taunton vocation (albeit without the need of a junior season).

“Of program, Tyler, he’s unstoppable,” Casagrande claimed.

Taunton High boys volleyball coach Toby Chaperon has led his team to a strong season.
Taunton Large boys volleyball mentor Toby Chaperon has led his staff to a potent year.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON World

“We weren’t genuinely expecting to be this very good, if I’m sincere,” Stewart stated. “Our anticipations were being rather low but we’re really joyful with wherever we are suitable now.”

As gyms heat up and tension intensifies, Casagrande has modified to a new plan as properly. When he performed club in Italy, matches only occurred on weekends, with weekday procedures intended to ramp up players for competitors. But Taunton has played 16 games in just around one month, a jam-packed agenda that leaves a lot less time for restoration.

“Here we have to relaxation, mainly because possibly we have 3 or four game titles a week. So normally tactics are [used] a minimal bit to get relaxation,” he claimed.

Casagrande’s yr as an exchange scholar finishes on June 15. But he labored with his exchange method to extend his visa, and will be staying in Taunton right until July 10 – sufficient time for a operate by the state tournament.

“I am incredibly grateful for that,” he stated, “because I think we’re getting a really, really great year, and it would have been a very little little bit disappointing — really, a lot disappointing — leaving the team.”

Tyler Stewart uses his length to deliver another winner for Taunton High during a recent match.
Tyler Stewart employs his size to produce an additional winner for Taunton Significant during a modern match.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON Globe

The senior will remain to stamp his distinctive viewpoint on the Tigers. Chaperon thinks this yr renewed a passion for Casagrande — just one that could proceed well earlier his time in Taunton.

“He even explained one thing to me He goes, ‘You know, I imagine I want to coach volleyball in the foreseeable future. I’d like to be a coach,’” Chaperon claimed.

“He’s variety of like a mentor within of a player,” he additional.

Assistance points

▪ Revere boys’ volleyball was intended to make its system debut in 2020. The yr-long wait around was value it, though, as the Minutemen have surprised even themselves in their initial year by way of a 10-2 document.

“I envisioned a handful of wins at very best,” reported coach Lianne O’Hara.

Competing in opposition to generally Bigger Boston League and Boston Metropolis League foes, the squad has been led by Luis Palacio, a Colombian immigrant with a volleyball tattoo on his leg and a frenetic electricity. O’Hara claims Palacio lifts the spirits of everyone on the workforce.

“He goes out and he finds like the weakest participant of JV when we’re overlapping, and he is effective with that kid. “He’s just incredibly form,” she reported.

The Minutemen opted out of the state tournament O’Hara said she did not want to put much too much pressure on her players in their first year.

“The goal was understanding and acquiring enjoyment,” she claimed.

▪ Milford (14-2 all round) carries on to tempo the Tri-Valley League which include a perfect 13- operate in meeting enjoy. Coach Andrew Mainini suggests some of that accomplishment can essentially be traced back again to very last summer months, when beach front and grass volleyball took maintain of the Scarlet Hawks.

“That was a new detail for our application,” he mentioned. “A good deal of the boys talked about this 12 months how beach and grass volleyball assistance them get the job done on their fundamentals, mainly because it’s a significantly far more defensive recreation than participating in indoors.”

Past calendar year, the collaborating players joined summer time leagues at Blue Fish Bowl Volleyball Club in Rhode Island. This summer months, Mainini hopes to go on the momentum, and is starting off grass leagues by means of the Milford Community University Use Program. The leagues are gaining steam in a small time.

“We’re really pretty much comprehensive,” he reported.

▪ Westford Academy (8-2) clinched its initial Dual County League title this previous 7 days just after splitting the week’s series with Lincoln-Sudbury. In the Merrimack Valley Convention, Chelmsford (9-) secured an unbeaten history and its initial league title because 2014 by knocking off 9-2 Lowell on Saturday.