Shepro strives to lead spikers to the Promised Land
Bruce Betts has been the coach of the Staples boys volleyball team for 23 years and built the program into a powerhouse winning 11 FCIAC championships and eight state titles.
Betts decided this January that he would retire as coach and handed the team over to girl's head coach Jonathan Shepro, who hopes to see continued success.
"The thing I hope to take from Betts is the strong relationships he had with his students. He understood their point of view and they respected him. The relationships he was able to foster were amazing," Shepro said.
Senior captain Steven Denowitz said, "I am very excited to have Shepro as the new coach. Although Betts has taught me a lot, it's interesting to get a different view on the game."
Shepro said he is looking to bring a more focused attitude to the team and "a new sense that the things we accomplish will be accomplished as a team."
As always, Staples has a team full of talent. Seniors Danny Fishman, Jake McCambley Ryan Winter, and Denowitz are the team captains.
Fishman said, "Being a captain along with Jake, Steven and Ryan means that we get to collaboratively lead the team so that we have the best team chemistry and volleyball skills possible."
In addition to the captains, senior Andreas Bub and junior Jonah Ayelon will be in the starting lineup. Other team members that will make contributions are seniors AJ Green, Drew Appleman and Jordan Goldstein, and juniors Emerson Lovell, Andrew Fishman, Scott Cohen and David Kalb.
The team's biggest strength will be on offense as Staples has many powerful hitters. Shepro believes that Bub and Fishman will be instrumental to this offense. "Our offense will probably go around Bub. His hitting has been fantastic. The key with Bub is Danny setting him the ball. They have been working together so much and their timing has become impeccable. Bub's power will scare the defense into watching him which will open up things for everyone else."
Denowitz added that Bub is a "force in the middle" but that every player on the court knows what they're doing and will be able to contribute as well.
The team has set high goals for the season. Green said, "We are a really strong team with a lot of talented players and we're looking to make some noise during championship season."
Danny Fishman agrees and said, "We want to make it as far as we can in every tournament we play in and to bring back trophies."