October 2, 2021 – By NJP

Bergen Tech has been having a very strong year thus far, and along with Clifton, have really been the stars of the Big North Liberty Division. They are off to an 8-1 start and played the first half of a dozen games without their exceptional libero Bryanna Purisima. The added infusion of talent will make the Knight’s even more versatile on the back line and take an already sound defense and make it better.

Since returning, Bryanna has posted 52 digs, rising to second on the team in that category. Purisima is just a junior but has solid club experience at Sideout Sports since turning 13.

Bryanna is athletic and possesses great volleyball instincts. She anticipates well and attacks the ball with reckless abandon. Her passing skills are exceptional as is her expertise in serve receive. She has explosive speed when needed, and can set as well, giving Coach Kingsley some options and depth.

Purisima’s return comes at an opportune time as Tech has Fair Lawn on Monday and Wayne Valley on Wednesday of next week. If they can push through and win those two games, they will take a big jump forward in the rankings and may even make the top 25. For Bryanna, she is just ecstatic to get back on the floor and contribute toward her teams success. And of course have some fun with her friends and teammates during her junior year.

Here is our interview with Ms. Purisima…

How are you, Bryanna? Thanks for joining the NJP player interview club. Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m doing well, thank you! I attend Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro and will be graduating in 2023. I live in Lodi with my little sister, mom, and dad; however, I have my older brother attending Drexel University, my older sister teaching in North Carolina, and my oldest sister living close by. 

How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially? 

 I’ve been playing volleyball for 5 years now. Growing up I played basketball competitively, until seventh grade when I decided to try volleyball because my mom suggested it. After joining my middle school team, I immediately fell in love with the sport. It was simply fun. The next year (8th grade), I joined SideOut Sports and made the 14 National Team. 

What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What is your favorite position to play? 

I have been playing for SideOut Sports for 3 years, going on my fourth. I am 5’5 and play both setter and libero. My favorite position to play is libero. The thrill of diving all over the place and picking up balls you didn’t think you could is amazing. 

Tell us about your Bergen Tech teammates. Who do you expect to be this year’s standout players in the Fall? 

I believe Catalina Cecoltan, Riley Sobel, and Katelyn Acevedo will be this year’s standout players in the Fall. Riley is an amazing passer and is very smart on the outside. Katelyn is our setter who is very athletic and can dig everyone off the court. Lastly, Catalina is our Senior outside who is our go to player for kills. 

Bergen County Technical High School

NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing in college? (If so, which ones are you looking at? What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path? 

Yes, I do plan on playing volleyball in college. I am looking at College of Charleston, Salve Regina University, Bryant, Nyack, Nova Southeastern, and a few more. I am currently unsure on what to study in college; however, I was thinking about business or something with physical therapy or sports medicine. 

Bergen Tech is off to a great start this season. What has been the key ingredient for the team’s success? 

The key ingredient for our success has definitely been our serving and passing. In practice, we focus on those two elements. 

Tell us about your Coach Matt Kingsley? 

Coach Kingsley has coached us for a short time. However, I really believe he has transformed our team to something special. Ever since he started coaching us last year, he has believed that we were going to make it far, even if we didn’t. He strongly believes that serve and serve receive are two elements that are key for success. It is an honor to be coached by someone as successful as him. 

Tell us about your club volleyball experience this past year? 

Although this past year was difficult with Covid, I was privileged enough to have a club experience. I was a libero for the 16 National Team at SideOutSports. I attended NEQ’s in Philly, Lonestar Classic in Dallas, AAU Nationals in Florida, and Atlantic City Invitational. 

Tell us about your season thus far… we see you have not been in the starting roster. Were you injured? 

 Yes, I have not been in the starting roster due to a lower back injury. In the beginning of August, I sprained my back deadlifting and was out for about a month and a half. It was hard watching and not being able to play and help out my team; however, I am back now and eager to be on the court again. 

What is your favorite place to compete? 

My favorite place to compete is at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Due to Covid last year, Capitol Hill Classic was shut down. I’m reminiscing on how magical it was to play in the convention center with hundreds of courts and right in the center of D.C. 

Do you think attitude is a factor in winning? I believe attitude is an enormous factor in winning. I keep a positive attitude no matter how much we are losing or winning by because you should play every point like it is tied 24-24. You should always be gritty and have the mentality that no ball should touch the floor; however, if you or your teammates begin to struggle, you have to lift them up and remind them they could do anything they set their mind to. 

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