MUNSTER | Antonia DalleCarbonare’s great-grandfather came to America from Italy and eventually enlisted in the Army.
However, his 14-letter surname did not fit on the name tag, so he became Private Carbonare.
Generations later, the family re-adopted the old world original name DalleCarbonare, and now one of great-grandpa’s descendants is making the original name proud on the volleyball court.
Antonia DalleCarbonare and her 10-syllable name are a vital piece of Munster’s long postseason run, which continues Saturday at the Class 4A Huntington North Semistate, where the Mustangs open the semifinals facing first-time qualifier Elkhart Central at 10 a.m.
“They called me ‘D.C.’ in club season,” said DalleCarbonare, whose maternal grandfather hails from France.
“Everyone just calls me Toni. They just don’t feel like pronouncing the whole thing.”
Whatever the nickname or full name, it won’t be the most recognizable Munster moniker at semistate, and that’s what will make DalleCarbonare, a junior outside hitter, an ideal candidate to have a huge day against an unfamiliar foe.
“I’ve just kept telling myself to constantly get better and better and take everyone else’s advice and put it together -- take everything that I’ve learned from them and get better,” DalleCarbonare said. “I feel like I’ve helped the team progress as I’ve gotten better this year.”
The biggest, albeit not longest, names on Munster’s roster are Shannon “The Cannon” Farrell and Elizabeth “Bitsy” Kloos. The outside and middle have excelled for years in prep and club volleyball, and they’ve even paired to make the beach nationals in California.
Whereas beach volleyball really is a two-person sport, prep volleyball requires more than a cannon and bits. That’s why players such as DalleCarbonare, Tori Foster and setter Morgan Switalla are important.
“Toni gets overshadowed sometimes by Shannon because everyone knows Shannon, and she’s a fantastic player,” Munster coach Tracy Summers said. “But those two are really good friends, and I think Toni has learned a lot from Shannon. I think other teams forget that our other outside hitter is extremely effective as well and also a great passer.”
When the rotation takes Farrell to the back row, Farrell does her best Cyrano de Bergerac to let DalleCarbonare know the open spots available for front-row spikes.
DalleCarbonare has a huge jump serve and a knack for making big plays when the ball caroms wrong to disrupt a play.
“D.C.” had 11 kills and 24 digs in Munster’s grueling sectional semifinal win over 2012 semistate participant Lake Central. In the last two matches she has combined for eight kills and 14 digs.
“Offensively she’ll make some plays out of system and get kills somehow,” Summers said. “She’s very aggressive. You’re not going to see her just throw it into the court. There’s a lot of swinging hard and making the daring play to get the kill, which is really, really nice.”
DalleCarbonare, who runs track and used to play softball but has played volleyball since seventh grade, wasn’t on the varsity volleyball team as a freshman and is excited about the itinerary for this weekend, which includes a bus trip, meal and hotel stay tonight.
“I feel very honored to be on this team,” DalleCarbonare said. “I know if I mess up, they’ll always have my back, and there’ll always be that next play to get that point back. There’s pressure, but it’s so distributed through the team because we have such a solid team.”