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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Norwood Volleyball Looking To Develop New Players

By Christopher Tremblay
The Norwood boys volleyball team found themselves just on the outside of the State Tournament last spring; a mere one game away from punching their ticket to the post-season. Despite having a rather young team this year, however, Coach Paul Nimblett is optimistic that the boys can do what is necessary to achieve that goal.
“We are a young team with only a few returning athletes from last year,” the Mustang Coach said. “We have a lot of athletes this year with little to no volleyball experience. It will be a learning experience for a lot of them and it will take some time for the new pieces to gel together, but once we get going we will be ok. I can see the potential and their ability to play together; we will definitely be able to compete.”
Two big-time returners for Norwood will be seniors Joe Greene and Zach Smith. Greene will be proficient in the middle of the net with his kills and blocks but is an all-around player that will also get the team some points with his serving. According to Nimblett, he will play a big part in the team’s success.
Smith unfortunately suffered a dislocated shoulder deep into the season and had to have surgery last year. Having the right-side hitter back this year makes the Norwood coach very happy.
“We are very glad to have him back on the court,” Nimblett said. “He is very good at getting to the ball and brings a lot of energy to the team. When he went down last year it was big loss to the team, and being that we missed the tournament by one spot hurt.”
Another senior coming back is Khang Nguyen, a three-year player like Greene, who not only can pass the ball with the best of them, but he will also lead the team in the back row playing great defense. 
In addition to the seniors coming back, Norwood has two senior newcomers looking to make an impact this season. Ciledson Diaz Segundo, a soccer player for the Mustangs in the fall has decided to give volleyball a shot before graduating. According to the coach, he has already shown potential playing the outside hitter position in only a few weeks and should be a good addition to the team once he gets his timing down. The other first year player to Norwood as a senior is Yuri DeSousa, who is relatively new to the school, but has played volleyball in the past. Nimblett will be looking for him to be a defensive specialist in the backrow for the Mustangs this year.
While the seniors, new and returning, will be the major forces on the team, Nimblett will be looking to some sophomores who should take this team into the future. Xavier Walkins and Khyrell Miller were a couple of the team’s most talented athletes last year as freshmen. The coach is expecting big things from the duo in their second season. 
Walkins was an outside hitter last year, but during the off-season he played a lot of volleyball and worked on his setting skills. 
“He has a really good volleyball IQ and worked extremely hard to bring his game to the next level,” the Norwood coach said. “He came in and I was impressed with his passing ability. Originally, I was a little worried as we had lost our setter from a year ago to graduation, but Xavier has looked to take over that position.”
Miller will play right-side and outside hitter this season for the Mustangs, and being a lefty will give Norwood a different dynamic on the court. He is another athletic individual and when spiking the ball into the opposition’s court he shows what can be expected of him. Along with Walkins, Miller will bring a combination that should be tough to stop when they are connecting. 
One other sophomore, Sebastian Eugene, will also provide the Mustangs with yet another athletic outside hitter.
“Once he gets his timing down and picks up his steps, he’s going to be a really good asset for us,” Nimblett said. “All three of these sophomores have convinced me that they can play the game and will be the building blocks to our future.”
Having just missed out on a tournament position last year, that is one of Norwood’s top priorities this season.
“We definitely want to push through and get into the tournament this season while improving upon last year’s record,” the coach said. “It’s too early with all these new players to say exactly how many wins we should be able to get, but these kids are ready to play, and on any given night they can help us to a win.”