In their senior season, Andrew High School volleyball players Nicole Bernardi and Baylee Panfil are focused on fostering chemistry on a team of mostly young players. Hoping to build upon last season’s trip to the regional semifinals, both Bernardi and Panfil have set high personal goals for themselves.
Names: Nicole Bernardi and Baylee Panfil
Age/year in school: Seniors
Hometown: Tinley Park
Position: Right side (Bernardi); Middle hitter (Panfil)
How long have you played volleyball?
Bernardi: Since 4th grade.
Panfil: I started when I was in fourth grade and discovered how much I enjoyed playing it.
What do you love most about volleyball?
Bernardi: The fact that it’s a team sport and there are so many opportunities to get the point back! I also love the feeling of when you or a teammate gets a kill or block!
Panfil: The intense volleys in the game and the opportunities I can receive to win the point. It gives me such a rush.
What are your goals for this season? How will you achieve them?
Bernardi: My personal goal is to get more kills this season and my team goal is to play with chemistry. We will achieve [these goals] through practice!
Panfil: One of my goals since freshman year has been to break the school’s blocking record for a game. This goal motivates me to work harder every practice. Another goal is to have great team chemistry on the court by developing good camaraderie with my teammates.
What is your biggest challenge this season?
Bernardi: Building up the chemistry of the team because we have a young team this year. But everyone is extremely hard working!
Panfil: We have some pretty good competition this season which means we will all have to work hard on focusing during the game and laying it on the line for each point.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions when you play?
Bernardi: I always listen to music before I play a game and I always have to wear a black headband.
Panfil: I like to listen to music and visualize winning.
Who has inspired you most in your athletic endeavors?
Bernardi: My older brothers because they were hard working athletes while they were in high school and have set great standards for me which I would like to follow!
Panfil: Growing up I watched my two older brothers play sports and their hard work inspired me to play sports and be the best athlete I can be. They set the bar high for me.
What is your favorite sports memory?
Bernardi: Volley for the Cure, which Andrew High School does every year and we raise tons of money for breast cancer. Our team also gets to wear pink jerseys and it’s always fun seeing the crowd in the bleachers wearing pink.
Panfil: My sophomore year on varsity, we played our rival, Sandburg. Even though we lost, it was a great game. We were down by many points but the team really came together and tied the score 24-24. It was so intense.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
Bernardi: Misty May-Treanor because she is one of the top beach volleyball players and made an amazing comeback after an Achilles injury.
Panfil: Kerri Walsh and her beach partner Misty May-Treanor. I just loved watching the two of them power through every team in the past three summer Olympics.
What hobbies or activities do you enjoy outside volleyball?
Bernardi: I play badminton for my school and I also enjoy hanging out with friends and family!
Panfil: I like to hang out with my friends and family, or just relaxing while reading a good book.
Favorite quote or words to live by:
Bernardi: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
Panfil: “Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.” – Winston Churchill
Profile edited by Lauren Comitor. Local coaches who would like to see an athlete featured in TribLocal should email email@example.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun