February 2, 2021 – By NJP
The Roxbury Gaels have one of the premier girls volleyball teams in North Jersey and are returning all but one of their varsity team members from last Spring. They have six seniors, five juniors, and 2 sophomores from last years squad and a solid talent level that will insure success for years to come. One of those talented freshman from last year was Victoria Latino.
Latino has been playing since the third grade. Volleyball has been engrained in her life for the past seven years and has become her sport of choice and ongoing passion. Victoria grew up in Whippany before moving to Roxbury, and spent her first club years at Allegro before switching to Xtreme after the family move.
Victoria is such a pleasure to have in our program. She has an unrivaled passion for volleyball. She eats, sleeps, and breathes volleyball. If she is not in the gym training, she is helping coach younger girls, or studying the game at home. – Roxbury Head Coach Anthony McMichael
Victoria broke onto the scene in Roxbury, sharing time with star middle Juliana Medina, and made an uncommon mark for a young first year player, splitting rotations. But she certainly made the most of her time on the court. This year, she hopes to further excel as a six rotation player and when you watch her videos, you can see why she feels that wa
The 6′ Gael can play any position. Her time at Xtreme has developed her into a complete player. And with that development, she has become a dangerous weapon for Roxbury. Victoria has developed a steady passing touch. She hits with power and has strong balance. She gets height on her jumps and puts up a formidable block. She has the jumping ability and hands to dominate on the joust and superlative instincts at the net. She gets power on her serve and as you may have guessed, has a rising VBIQ.
And you will always be able to pick Victoria out of a crowd on the court. She not only has the height that stands out, but she also has the brightest pair of pink volleyball shoes you will ever see. Talent, power, and a fashion plate to boot.
This should be a fun season for Victoria and the rest of the Gaels. Their starting squad can compete with any team in NJ with juniors Sammy Olander and Isabella Chan as well as seniors Amber Chen, Quinn Longo, Julianna Medini, Cassidy Dettlo, and Jocelyn DeFuria. And of course alongside this sophomore with a super bright future.
Here is our interview with Ms. Latino…
Tell us a bit about yourself, Victoria?
I am a sophomore at Roxbury High School and part of the 2023 graduating class. I am a varsity starter for the volleyball team at Roxbury. I live in Mine Hill with my Mom, Dad, Abuela, Abuelo, my three-year-old sister Giana, and my dog Roxy. I am pretty new to the Roxbury community, considering the fact that I switched schools back in the summer of 2019 and started attending Roxbury. I am also a club National player for the past three seasons, playing a year up during each season.
She is a wonderful student and person off of the court as well, and her teammates are incredibly lucky to have her! – Roxbury Head Coach Anthony McMichael
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I started playing volleyball back in third grade. So this is my eighth year playing the sport. I have been playing sports all my life, including basketball, soccer, MMA, gymnastics, and dance. At the time I was playing basketball with the boys rec team, they never passed me the ball during any games. That discouraged me a lot, so I stopped playing. Soccer just got boring for me so I stopped playing as well. So since I stopped playing those sports, my Mom heard of this volleyball facility in Denville, that one of her students mentioned to her. So she thought I should give the sport a try, and now eight years later I am fully committed and totally in love with the sport.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I am currently 6’0″ and hope to get taller. My vertical is 25 inches, my approach touch is 9’5″ and block touch is 9’2″. My standing reach is 7’8″. I am currently playing for Xtreme Volleyball Academy’s 17 National team. My favorite position is outside.
Tell us about your Roxbury teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
When I first arrived at Roxbury, all the girls were so welcoming and kind. If it were not for them I would not have had such an easy transition to the school. To be honest with you, Roxbury has such talented players on the roster that it can be hard to keep track of who the best players are.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. As a sophomore, are you already considering your college choices? What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?
I am currently undecided as to what I would like to study, but I know I would definitely want to play at the college level anywhere in the U.S.
Tell us about your club experience at Xtreme.
This is my second season playing for Xtreme. The environment there is so positive. Xtreme is like no other organization, you can truly see how much they love the game. They are like a second family to me. From day one, they have expressed and shown interest in helping my performance excel, and for me to become a better player physically and mentally. Xtreme has helped me become the player I am today and I thank them for that.
You had a solid freshman season for the Gaels helping them achieve a 20-9 season with 55 kills and 25 blocks on a very talented high school team. What are your goals for the remainder of your high school career?
I was a freshman on a very talented varsity roster and I felt extremely lucky to be starting in those games and to be playing with those girls. This year, I would like to improve my stats, and hopefully become a six rotational player, like I am on my Xtreme team.
Valerie has enormous athletic talent, and she will keep improving with time and experience! We definitely have big plans for her future here at Roxbury. – Roxbury Head Coach Anthony McMichael
Who is your support group?
My support group is my Mom, Dad, Abuela, Abuelo, and my sister Giana. They are constantly pushing me to become a better player than I was yesterday. They love to watch me play and all they want is what’s best for me. They have always been there to support my choices. Family is everything to me, and I am grateful to have such a supportive family by my side.
What is your favorite volleyball story?
My first ever game and kill on varsity as a freshman last year. We were playing WMC, and their student section started barking to distract our server. Once that served ball crossed the net, one of the WMC players overpassed it. That’s when I got an overpass kill, and my first kill ever. It was the best feeling ever, it got me and my teammates hyped up.
Who is your favorite college or pro volleyball player and why?
Samy Bricio is my favorite pro volleyball player. She is so talented at what she does. Samy Bricio is definitely one of the most athletic volleyball players I have ever seen, and I hope to be as good as her one day.
What are your other hobbies or interests?
I am really into creating art, mostly painting and drawing. I also like to read on my free time.