Senior Massapequa volleyball player leads team to county championship
When Nick Bianco and the rest of his teammates on the Massapequa boys varsity team walked off the court at Farmingdale State after defeating defending Nassau Class A champion Plainview-Old Bethpage, it was a first for Bianco. It was also a rematch of last season’s Nassau Class A boys volleyball final. The difference was that Massapequa came out on top of this rematch.
“Up until a few weeks ago, we hadn’t beaten this team during my time here,” Bianco said. “Knowing that we could take them down, it was a big confidence-booster. It just proved to us that we knew we could beat any team.”
While Massapequa earned its second county title in three years, it would be as far as the Chiefs would go, as they fell to Sachem North in the Long Island Division I championship also held at Farmingdale State. With the Flaming Arrows having won four of the past six Long Island championships, Massapequa were distinct underdogs. Massapequa finished the 2019 season with a dominant 16-3 record. For boys volleyball coach Elissa DiSalvo, Bianco’s combination of athletic ability and leadership was a key for her team’s success ever since he was brought up to the varsity squad back in tenth grade.
“Nick has been an integral asset in many aspects of the game. He has been aggressive from the end line, with 47 aces for the season. His defense has provided us with 18 blocks and number digs. He has 324 kills on the season (hitting .250) which is quite impressive. His calm demeanor and easy-going personality has made him a ‘lead by example’ player,” she said. “Nick has tremendous athletic ability which is evident in his style of play. His input, both physically and mentally, has not gone unnoticed and his ability to move from point to point has been unwavering throughout the season. He has been an outlet from all positions on the court during gameplay, not just attacking from his outside position. Nick has contributed to this team, both on and off the court, and will continue to uphold the Massapequa volleyball brand of energy and discipline throughout his various endeavors moving forward. He is a pleasure to coach.”
While the 6’2” Bianco has been playing volleyball since middle school, his foray into the sport only came after his mother insisted he pick a school-related physical activity to participate in.
“I started in seventh grade when there were tryouts. It was between wrestling and volleyball, because my mom said I had to do a sport. At that point and time, I was even skinnier and more frail than I am now. I was pretty small—about 5’5” or 5’6” and about 75 pounds. I was not big and did not feel like getting messed up by the bigger kids. So I decided to try volleyball.”
Bianco is a two-sport athlete who has also been running track and field for about three or four seasons. His boundless energy led his coach to suggest he try his hand at the decathlon, which consists of 10 combined events. The senior’s strong suits are pole vault and the hurdles.
“I was always the kid bouncing around with a lot of energy. My coach asked about his trying me in the multi-events,” Bianco recalled. “I started with the pentathlon, which is five events. He put me in that and saw that I had energy in that the whole time and I didn’t tire that much. He knew the decathlon had better events, so he told me to try that out.”
Come fall 2020, Bianco is committed to running track for the University of Colorado, where he hopes to major in education and eventually wind up back in Massapequa teaching science. Having finished on such a high note and given the feelings he has for his neighborhood, it’s no surprise that he would want to return and serve the community.
“Personally. I can happily say that I can proudly retire my volleyball career after this season,” he said. “As for why I loved growing up here, there are always things to do and always a lot of support from everyone. [Massapequa] is full of a lot of people that it still feels like it’s a small town. You can go to IGA Supermarket and see people that you haven’t seen in years. The best thing about Massapequa is that people who grow up here stay here.”