The basketball star serving up his skills on the other side of the court – The Quadrangle
By Carter Silane, Donor
Entering the field this season in a different uniform, second Bella Nascimento returned to Manhattan College, but this time as a dual-sport athlete.
Nascimento came to Manhattan College in the 2022–23 season to play for the women’s basketball team as a guard. This year, when the women’s volleyball team was short of players, Nascimento, along with other players from the basketball team, was asked to help fellow Jaspers and join them on the court. volleyball.
Assistant volleyball coach Sara Atai had the idea of asking head basketball coach Heather Vulin if she had any players interested and ready to play for the team. Due to a lack of recruitment over the summer and pre-season injuries, the volleyball team was down to five players, one player short of the six needed on the court during a match.
Almost everyone on the women’s basketball team offered to step in, which resulted in a mini-trial to see which girls to choose to loan out to the volleyball team.
“It was seven in our team’s mini-trial and then four of us were picked,” Nascimento said.
Coming back to school after summer break can be a bit of an adjustment for any student, but being a student-athlete and playing two sports is a handful. But that didn’t stop Nascimiento. When she’s not playing a volleyball game, she’s at basketball practice, and whenever she’s not playing either sport, she uses that free time to focus on her schoolwork. .
“Every day is long. I mean, with basketball, it’s always been long. But with volleyball, I don’t practice as much because when they’re in their practice time, that’s our ascent time. So I just come and play the games and it’s long days, long nights,” Nascimento said.
Besides having more work to manage than last year, Nascimento has also had to adapt to a different pace on the pitch. In basketball, it’s what she calls “constant ups and downs,” without much time to cheer each other on.
“In volleyball you can cheer and support your teammates more than you can in basketball,” Nascimiento said.
But with the team welcoming him with open arms, the adjustment was easy.
“I love playing with them. They’re really nice. They really come into play, like even if we mess up since we haven’t played and we’re not used to their system, they teach us the way they help us with everything, even when we are in the field,” Nascimento said.
Basketball has always been Nascimiento’s passion, but when given the opportunity to play the two sports she loves, she couldn’t pass up the offer.
“I told my mom earlier in the season that I was like, I don’t know, I just have a passion for volleyball like I do with basketball, which is so weird …it’s been like two or three years since I played volleyball again,” said Nascimento.
Along with joining the volleyball team for part of their 2022-23 season, Nascimento was named ‘Athlete of the Month’ by the Manhattan College Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Nascimento started her volleyball career when she was in high school, but was always surrounded by the sport. Zueylha Lennon, her mother, played professional volleyball in Brazil.
“When she comes here and when she watches TV, she’s like turning her hands, lowering the defense, being better at it, so she really helps,” Nascimento said.
It is obvious that Nascimento is a very complete player and teammate in the basketball and volleyball teams. She scored 85 points her first year on the basketball team and 40 points this volleyball season.
“Her last year with us was my first year as a JV coach so I didn’t know her very well. I remember she was a phenomenal player on the volleyball court and a great team player,” said Nicole Smith, the girls’ varsity volleyball coach at Shepherd Hill Regional High School, where Nascimento attended and played volleyball before coming to Manhattan College.
Unfortunately, the game against Rider University on Sunday, September 25 was perhaps Nascimiento’s last game for the volleyball team this season. Nascimento and head coach Mauro Miletic hope she will return to play for a few of their home games over the weekend.
“I hope we can get her to stay. She is important. Plus, she has a lot of heart. She plays hard. It just shows you how all the athletes are working together to make Manhattan College better,” said Coach Miletic, head coach of the women’s volleyball team.
When Nascimento was asked if she would play for the volleyball team again next season if she were to have it, she answered without hesitation.
“Oh 100%,” Nascimiento said. “Why not? I love volleyball!
Hopefully we will see Nascimento again on the volleyball court. But one thing is for sure – fans will see her at the season opener of the women’s basketball team wearing number five on November 7 at the Draddy Gymnasium.