Passaic Boys Volleyball Team Could See Promising Season Wiped Out

Coronavirus pandemic could cancel season for one of Passaic’s top high school teams

Fernando Paredes
Courtesy of Fernando Paredes
Passaic Prep senior Fernando Paredes is one of the top players on the highly successful Passaic High boys volleyball team.

The Passaic High boys volleyball team hoped to have a season to remember in 2020. 

However, that might not be possible because of the coronavirus pandemic crisis. 

The volleyball team went to the final of the Passaic County Tournament last year and reached the state sectional semifinals before losing.

This year seemed like the perfect redemption season, with a star-studded lineup and a highly respected coach. 

However, it might not happen. At this point, the season is still scheduled to take place, but has been pushed back to June, according to team captain Fernando Paredes, a senior at Passaic Preparatory Academy.

The volleyball season for spring has not been canceled and has been extended until June 30,” he said. “The NJSIAA (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association) says they will not be extending it further than that.”

Fernando said if the season is canceled, many athletes would be very disappointed.

“If this season is canceled it will be very disappointing for the seniors and myself on the team, since for some of us it is our last time playing volleyball together and last time to wear a Passaic volleyball jersey,” he said.

If this season is canceled, it definitely won’t be the last time Fernando will play volleyball. He plans to continue his career at the next level.

“I’m actually going to be studying Criminal Justice and have just committed to continue my volleyball playing at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts,” he said.

Fernando thinks that if there is a season, this team is capable of keeping up the high standards of Passaic volleyball.

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I’m actually going to be studying Criminal Justice and have just committed to continue my volleyball playing at Eastern Nazarene College.

— Fernando Paredes, Prep senior

“Although we have lost many seniors due to last year’s graduation and will have many brand new varsity players added to the roster, I have no doubt that our coach will put us in the best position to win and strive for excellence,” he said. “I can say with pride that I know that our brand new varsity players will be fighters, and will fill our team’s missing components very well. We will be playing the good standard of volleyball that Passaic is known for.”

Last year’s accomplishments included:

  • Starting the season 10-0
  • Finishing 19-4, and 9-1 in the Big North Conference-Liberty Division
  • Reaching the final of the PCT tournament before losing to Wayne Valley
  • Eliminating Dover and Paterson Eastside in the North Jersey, Section 1 tournament before falling to Bloomfield in the semifinals

Some of the top players, according to the captain, are setter Anthony Lorenzo, middle Kendall Malloy and defensive standout Ivan Ramos, the team’s emotional leader.

Fernando said the goal for this season was to win each day, and not to focus too much on state championships.

“The goal for this season and mantra was to win the day,” he said. “By saying that I mean that we were not focused on the bigger picture of winning titles and state championships, but getting better and learning something new every day. As they say, practice makes perfect.”

Coach Omar Munoz is one of the key reasons Passaic has done so well, according to Fernando. Munoz wants to see kids succeed, and that is one of the reasons he is so effective as a coach.

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Coach Munoz is such a great role model and coach it’s unbelievable.

— Fernando Paredes, Prep senior

“I think Coach Munoz has a great impact on this team,” Fernando said. “I’ve known him for about seven years now, since middle school. This man loves the sport of volleyball and always wants to see us grow and get better. When asked, he will say that we, the students, are the program and that we are the reason why it’s so successful. Coach Munoz is such a great role model and coach it’s unbelievable. You can talk to him about anything, life, ways to get better in the game, and the lengths that he will go through to find answers is just amazing. 

“He is one of those coaches that comes once in a lifetime. We are so blessed to have him as a coach. He is the definition of Passaic volleyball pride.”