December 27, 2020 – By NJP
Milliana Senescat has unlimited potential as she enters her senior year for the Linden Tigers. As a junior, she was an absolute force on the block, tallying 30 for the Union county team fell just short of a .500 record in 2019. She also slammed 83 kills for the Tigers and has the size and work ethic to be a dominat player in her senior campaign.
Milliana is making the commitment to her volleyball career by joining up at SureShots VBC these past two years. The experience has opened the door for Senescat who wants to further her volleyball career after high school and advance her academic and athletic career in college.
Last club season, Milliana joined forces with high level teammates on the SS 16-1 team such as Kate Louer of Clifton and Drew Leonardis from Hudson Catholic. It’s so unfortunate that COVID is wreaking havoc with this years club and high school schedules as Milliana preparation for the upcoming season will be choppy at best. But her hard work ethic and passion to succeed will position her highly for the shortened Spring high school schedule. Hopefully she will still have the opportunity to spread her wings at the club level, playing the game she loves.
Milliana can be an absolute wall on the block. She has excellent timing and gives opponent attackers nightmares trying to figure a spot to hit around her blockade. As a senior, we expect her block per game totals to be near the top in the state.
As for Linden, we expect this years team to qualify for the state tournament (if one happens). They are slotted in pre-season projections to finish third in their division behind a fast rising Governor Livingston team and last years winner Kent Place. Of course, the UCC also has Union Catholic and Westfield and we expect SPF and Union to be on the rise so theyn have a difficult road ahead of them in Union County.
We know Milliana wants to go out in style and with the short season, anything can happen.
Here is our interview with Ms. Senescat…
Tell us a bit about yourself, Milliana?
I attend Linden High School in Linden, NJ. I am in the 2021 graduating class. Both of my parents are from Haiti and I am the youngest on my mother’s side of the family and the only girl . On my father’s side I am the oldest of two girls. I have an extended family with a lot of aunts and cousins etc…
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I have only been playing volleyball for 4 years. My freshmen year, I had to attend peer leadership during my ROTC classes. One of the leaders was talking about sports and saying how I should try out for both basketball and volleyball. I wanted to, but I was scared, and she talked me into trying out. She said, “the worst that could happen is you don’t make the team”.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I am a 5’11 Middle Hitter and I play for Sure shots VBC. My favorite position would have to be anything! Honestly, you name it I’ll do it.
Tell us about your Linden teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
The Linden high school volleyball program really is a family itself and “we are really one band, one sound”. Starting freshmen year with Coach Abalos teaching me the basics of volleyball along with seeing my full potential as a leader. Being a captain with Aijanae Capers (another really talented and amazing person) really motivated me because I had teammates that looked up to me. Following sophomore year with Coach Skrec, he showed me discipline and really showed me the game. I still remember waking up bright and early Freshmen year before my practice to watch the Senior class of 2017-2018 because I fell in love with the playing style of Tony Frino (OH,2017-2018) and I wanted to be a big hitter like she was. I was also trying to embody Lexis Rodriguez’s (MB,2017-2018) playing style and wanting to have the many skills that Cristina Ventura (S,O; 2017-2018) possessed.
Sophmore year, watching the twin towers (Mariam Kromah & Rosibell Arias MB, 2018-2019), I wanted to imitate my blocking style similar to these two phenomenal players. Also, I looked up to Renee Rocha (2018-2019,OH) because she is the definition of the beast itself and I wanted to mirror a bit of her hitting style.
Continuing on to junior year, Coach DelloRusso really molded me and helped me be the player I am today along with the Sure Shots VBC program and Coach Leah’s coaching. Shadowing Marcda Thermitus (DS,OH) during the summer asking her to train me and workout with me truly helped in ways I can’t imagine. During her high school season at LHS, she was one the best passer alongside Abigail Pachon(Libero) in my opinion. Playing with Kenya Ramirez Rodriguez (S,O)”The clumsy one”, Nicole Monzon (Setter)”Goofball”, Shayla Alarcon (OH)”Cheek!”, Ashley Lopez (OH,DS)”AshAsh”, Naomi Borja (DS)”the dancer”, Abigail Pachon (Libero)”Bestpasser”, Sara Serio (DS)aka “The spirit of the team”, Xiara Reyes (OH,DS)”The Model”, Daniela Valverde (O)”bigblocker”, Andrea Luna (MB) & Jeanine Castro (DS)“Thesilentkillers”. Each and every one of these ladies helped me improve my game as an athlete because they all brought something unique to the table & practicing with such talented and lovely individuals crafted me into the play I am today. We truly made a sister hood. Anytime we need each other we can count on one another to be there and that’s what Linden high school girls Volleyball is truly about.
This year is my last go round & I really am going to turn up on the court one last time. I am not fully sure who will be this year’s standout player and or upcoming players. This year, I am prepared to set a goal to at least get to qualify for states and to get the Linden high school girls volleyball program on the map for sure because our program is very much slept on.
You are dominant on the block in your first year playing as a junior. Tell us about how your basketball experience has helped on the volleyball court.
Playing basketball has definitely changed my volleyball game for the better. I jump higher due to all the rebounds and layups I complete. Running up and down the court for 4 quarters boosted my stamina. Being a center/power forward caused me to be stronger because I have to box-out girls bigger and or stronger than me.
Tell us about your experience at Sure Shots?
Due to Covid, my time at Sure Shots was shortened. I’ve only been playing with Sure Shots for 2 years now and I truly love everything about it. I love how the coaches love you like their own, because there is a major sense of family in this club team. Another thing is that each coach is so passionate about their sport. Going to each and every one of the tournaments we go to, I was flabbergasted at how much competition there was. Just being able to go to the Capitol Hill Classic in Washington was such a game changer because that was the first time I ever played at an overnight tournament and seeing such competition automatically made me want to play better. Sure Shots was an actual eye opener because it really showed what volleyball is really like and getting to play and practice with some outstanding hitter and getting blocked by some of the best blockers out there. Especially coming into a club my junior year and having to play with girls who’ve been doing this all their lives made me want to be better and push myself even more.
Who inspires you?
My family is my greatest inspiration. Starting off with my grandma. She passed away on 12/31/18 and she was my best friend. She was the sweetest, most genuine person you could’ve ever met. She was a very courageous woman because she alone brought all her family to America for a better life and more opportunities. Without that, I don’t believe I would be here now. My father is another person because he came from nothing and made himself into something. Imagine paying for your school tuition as an 11-year-old kid by just picking rice in the garden to make money. My father came to American by himself and then he worked diligently to bring all his family to come live with him. Lastly, my dear mother. A woman who’s been through so many obstacles in life but has overcame each and everyone of them. She is the definition of courage and strength.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing volleyball in college and of so which schools are you considering?
I do plan on playing in college I already got accepted to 9 schools (and counting) and picked up a couple of offers. I will be committing mid-season and or after my season.
What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?
In college, I plan on studying Criminal Justice & or Political Science.
Who is your support group?
My biggest support group would have to be my family and the people I tend to surround myself with that have the same go-getter mindset as me. And most of all, each and everyone of my coaches.
How are you and your family dealing with current world situation with COVID-19? How did the postponement of the Fall high school season effect your Linden team?
My family and I are just managing as well as anyone else is in this horrendous situation. The postponement of the fall season actually has been very hard and heartbreaking. But I like to turn negativity into positivity, so I believe this has happened for a reason and its giving me time to work and perfect my craft. Covid-19 effected the high school teams season, but most of all, it did have a negative impact on all players that play fall sports especially because seniors were hoping for be ready and in shape during summer workouts and playing summer league. What really effected the team was not being able to see each other as much as we used too.
What are your other hobbies or interests?
Writing poetry and lately I’ve been into fashion and putting things together to make something unique.
What is your favorite inspirational video or music that you like to watch or listen to before games?
My favorite inspirational video before a game is any Les Brown video but I like listening to Eric Thomas as well. My favorite artist to listen to before a game is Meek Mill because he really has a flow and a way with his words that gets me pumped for a game. He has one song “Wins and Losses” where one of Eric Thomas’s inspirational saying is the beginning of the song. My favorite song by him currently is “Middle of It” featuring Vory.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way that you would like to recognize here?-
The coaches I would like to give some special recognition to that helped me along my journey are Coach Abalos, Coach Skrec , Coach Marissa DelloRusso and Coach Leah Hansford.