Wednesday, April 23, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2014) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce its 11th annual AVCA Men's Division III All-America Teams. 

Springfield College and Juniata College lead the way this season, with a total of four athletes honored on the first and second teams. SUNY New Paltz, Stevens and Carthage are next in line with three All-Americans each. This is the first season each team was expanded to 14 players with AVCA All-America Honorable Mentions.
Carthage senior Connor Wexter headlines the year's recipients as the only four-time AVCA All-American after being selected to the second team in 2011, and the first team over the next three years.  Rivier's Aaron Almario, Juniata's Joe Bortak, MIT's Brendan Chang, SUNY New Paltz's Tim Ferriter, Springfield's Nick Ferry, Juniata's Paul Kuhn and Springfield's Jimmy O'Leary are the other repeat All-Americans on the first team.  Nazareth's Luke Lawatsch and NYU's Connor Mortland are the only members of the second team who have earned All-American honors multiple times.

The selections were made by the AVCA Men's Division III Volleyball All-America Committee: chairperson Charlie Sullivan (Springfield College), Todd Hollenbeck (UC Santa Cruz), Paul Dill (MIT), John Hutton (D'Youville), Braden Zamore (Daniel Webster), Hudson Bates (Marymount), Dan Ames (Dominican), Evan Giglio (Wentworth IT), Ray Bello (Hunter), Robert Cole (NJCU), Richard Gary (Wells).










Aaron Almario$+

Rivier University




Alhambra, CA

Joe Bortak$*

Juniata College




Jeannette, PA

Brendan Chang*

Mass. Inst. Of Technology




Laytonsville, MD

Tim Ferriter*

SUNY New Paltz




Rochester, NY

Nick Ferry#

Springfield College




Valencia, CA

Paul Kuhn+

Juniata College




York, PA

Jack McKee

Baruch College




Bay Shore, NY

Jimmy O'Leary+

Springfield College




Reading, PA

Keaton Pieper

Springfield College




Dallas, TX

Christian Smith

SUNY New Paltz




Massapequa, NY

Chris Vaughan

Stevens Inst. Of Technology




Medford, NJ

Luis Vega

Springfield College




Corozal, Puerto Rico

Michael Vellutato

Elmira College




Topanga, CA

Connor Wexter@^*

Carthage College




New Lenox, IL









Chad Albert

Juniata College




Cranberry Township, PA

Bez Arslani

Kean University




Wayne, NJ

Trevor Barrett

Medaille College




Amherst, NY

Matt Bynon

Rivier University




Burnt Hills, NY

Luke Lawatsch*

Nazareth College




Penfield, NY

Alex McColgin

Juniata College




Buffalo, NY

Connor Mortland@$

New York University




San Diego, CA

Alec Redlich

Lakeland College




Wauwatosa, WI

Gabe Shankweiler

Stevens Inst. Of Technology




Allentown, PA

Daniel Smith

Stevens Inst. Of Technology




Tucson, AZ

Jon Storm+

Carthage College




Naperville, IL

Paul Syta

Mass. Inst. Of Technology




Fairport, NY

J.P. Tulaka

Carthage College




Westmont, IL

Steven Woessner

SUNY New Paltz




Massapequa Park, NY



2014 AVCA Division III Men's National Player of the Year: Announced April 24 at the NCAA Division III Men's Volleyball Championship banquet in Huntingdon, PA.

2014 AVCA Newcomer of the Year: Steven Woessner, SUNY New Paltz

* - 2013 AVCA Division III Men's First-Team All-America selection

+ - 2013 AVCA Division III Men's Second-Team All-America selection

^ - 2012 AVCA Division III Men's First-Team All-America selection

$ - 2012 AVCA Division III Men's Second-Team All-America selection

# - 2011 AVCA Division III Men's First-Team All-America selection

@-2011 AVCA Division III Men's Second-Team All-America selection

AVCA Division III Honorable Mention

Chris Markuson, Rivier, OH, Junior

Adam Weaver, Hilbert, OH, Senior

AVCA Division III First-Team All-America 

Aaron Almario, a 6-7 middle blocker for Rivier University, is a senior from Alhambra, Calif. There were high expectations for Almario to remain one of the best heading into the 2014 season, and he did not disappoint. He ranks in the top-10 nationally in both hitting percentage (.401) and blocks per set (1.13) while placing second on his team in kills per set (2.46).Rivier holds a No. 4 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament, and will play No. 5Carthage on April 25th. This is Almario's third AVCA All-American honor, but his first on the first team.

Joe Bortak, a 6-7middle blocker at Juniata College, is a junior from Jeannette, Pa. One of the most efficient hitters in the nation, Bortak heads into the NCAA Tournament ranked second in the country in hitting percentage hitting at a .434 clip. However, he doesn't let that impact what he can do on the defensive end averaging nearly one block per set. Bortak joins Almario as a three-time AVCA All-American.

Brendan Chang, a 5-9 libero for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a sophomore from Laytonsville, Md. In a game full of gaudy offensive numbers, Chang has proven to be one of the best in handling what the hitters have coming his way. His3.25 digs per set places him in the top-5 in the country and first in the United Volleyball Conference. He had a big hand in keeping MIT's opponents to just a 0.151 team hitting percentage on the season. Chang has garnered AVCA First-Team All-American honors for the second consecutive year.

Tim Ferriter, a 6-3 outside hitter for SUNY New Paltz, is a sophomore from Rochester, N.Y. There are few players who can beat a team in a handful of ways, but Ferriter is one of them. He ranks in the top-10 of the UVC in hitting percentage (0.365), kills per set (3.71) and service aces per set (0.32). In one day in February when the Hawks swept both then-No. 1Rivier and then-No. 2 Springfield, Ferriter combined for 27 kills, including hitting an even .500 against the Pride. Ferriter is now a two-time AVCA First-Team All-American.

Nick Ferry, a 6-0 libero for Springfield College, is a senior from Valencia, Calif. The Pride has consistently been one of the top teams in the country in the last four years thanks in large part because of the play of Nick Ferry. His 2.44 digs per set places him first on the squad as he helped lead the Pride to a No. 1 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament. Ferry will also be looking for his third consecutive NCAA Championship. Ferry was named an AVCA First-Team All-American in 2011, making this his second honor.

Paul Kuhn, a 6-7outside hitter for Juniata College, is a junior from York, Pa. He helped leadthe Eagles to a 2014 Continental Volleyball Conference Championship as his school will play host to the NCAA Tournament. His .411 CVC hitting percentage and 35 service aces place him third in the league. He came through in the conference semifinal against Carthage, smashing a team-high 13 kills on .455 hitting. After earning AVCA Second-Team All-American honors a year ago, this is second AA appearance.

Jack McKee, a 6-6 right-side for Baruch College, is a senior from Bay Shore, N.Y. He entered the NCAA Tournament as one of the most feared attackers in the country, averaging 3.77 kills per set. That's not to say he shouldn't be taken seriously on defense. McKee is third on the Bearcats accumulating 185 digs and second with 107 blocks. For his outstanding season, he was named the 2014 CUNYAC Most Valuable Player. McKee earns AVCA All-American honors for the first time.

Jimmy O'Leary, a 6-6 middle blocker for Springfield College, is a senior from Reading, Pa. There is no question that Springfield would not be in the position they're currently in if not for the play of this senior. He's currently tops in the country in hitting percentage at .501 and No.3 in blocks per set with 1.18. Springfield will play Endicott in the secondround of the NCAA Tournament, who already defeated the Gulls in straight sets on April 4th. O'Leary is now a two-time AVCA All-American after making the second team a year ago.

Keaton Pieper, a 6-4 setter for Springfield College, is a junior from Dallas, Texas. Currently ranked fifth in the nation in assists per set (10.19), Pieper also contributes on the defensive end averaging0.84 digs and 0.70 blocks per set. His incredible skill set and instincts contributed to the team's 0.328 hitting percentage, which is good for the highest in the country. Pieper is afirst-time AVCA All-American.

Christian Smith,a 6-5 setter for SUNY New Paltz, is a sophomore from Massapequa, N.Y. It should be no coincidence the Hawks currently rank No. 1 in the country in assists per set (12.44) and kills per set (13.42) and second in team hitting percentage (.323). Being a versatile setter, he also nailed 184kills, 33 aces, 125 digs and 59 blocks. The work of Smith helped them earn the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which for them will begin on April 25thon the campus of Juniata College. This is Smith's first AVCA All-American award.

Chris Vaughan, a 6-4 outside hitter for the Stevens Institute of Technology, is a sophomore from Medford, N.J. In just his second year as a member of the Ducks, Vaughan has established himself as one of the best in the competitive United Volleyball Conference. His 3.52 kills per set places him seventh in the conference while his team-leading 4.04 points per set has a lot to do with his 213 digs and 67total blocks. Vaughan is now a first-time AVCA All-American.

Luis Vega, a 6-0 outside hitter for Springfield College, is a sophomore from Corozal, Puerto Rico. One of the more dynamic players in 2014, Luis Vega became just the second player in Men's Division III history to record consecutive AVCA National Player of the Week honors when he did it the weeks of April 1st and April 8th.In a team with four AVCA All-Americans, Vega ranks first on the Pride averaging3.87 kills per set to accompany his .362 hitting percentage. Vega earns his first AVCA All-American honor.

Michael Vellutato, a 6-1 setter for Elmira College, is a senior from Topanga, Calif. His 10.32assists per set places him in the top-5 nationally as he led his Soaring Eagles a top-15 national ranking for every week of the season, reaching as high as seventh. His 41 service aces also ranked him eighth in the United Volleyball Conference. Vellutato is now a first-time AVCA All-American.

Connor Wexter, a 6-1 setter for Carthage College, is a senior from New Lenox, Ill. Just the fifth player in Division III Men'sVolleyball history to earn AVCA All-American honor four times, Wexter has led his squad to another berth to a national championship tournament. He currently sits at No. 1 in the country with a 10.88 assists per set average. The No. 5 seed Red Men will take on No. 4 Rivier on April 25th in the NCAA Quarterfinals.

AVCA Division III Second-Team All-America

Chad Albert, a 6-5 middle blocker for Juniata College, is a sophomore from Cranberry Township, Pa. Every opposing attacker has to be aware of where Albert is on the court. Ranking in the top-10 nationally in blocks perset (1.10), Juniata has one of the best starting lineups in the country with four AVCA All-Americans in 2014. This is Albert's first AVCA All-American appearance.

Bez Arslani, a 6-1 outside hitter for Kean University, is a junior from Wayne, N.J. Arslani joins Steve Vahalla as the only two members of the Kean program to be selected AVCA All-Americans. Arslani earned the Skyline Player of the Year after leading the Cougars to a third consecutive conference championship. In the four-set victory over Ramapo to complete the perfect 14-0 conference record, Arslani smashed 21 kills on .326 hitting with 11 digs.

Trevor Barrett, a right side for Medaille College, is a senior from Amherst, N.Y. In February, he became just the seventh player in program history to record 1,000 kills. The First-Team All-UVC honoree led the Mavericks with 3.90 kills per set and third on the team in digs and blocks with 167 and 59, respectively. Barrett is now a first-time AVCA All-American.

Matt Bynon, a 5-9 libero for Rivier University, is a senior from Burnt Hills, N.Y. Placing second in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference with 2.56 digs per set, Bynon helped lead the Raiders to an NCAA Tournament berth where they will take on Carthage. Rivier is no stranger to playing big matches against the nation's best with five wins coming against teams currently in the top-15 of the latest AVCA Coaches Poll. Bynon earns AVCA All-American accolades for the first time.

Luke Lawatsch, a 6-5 middle blocker for Nazareth College, is a junior from Penfield, N.Y. One of the more feared middles in the sport, Luwatsch ranks nationally in the top-10 averaging 1.13 blocks per set. His 97 total blocks were 36 more behind the second-highest individual total from Tim Zyburt who recorded 61 in the 2014 campaign. This is Lawatsch's second AVCA All-American honor after making it on to the first team a year ago.

Alex McColgin, a 6-4 right side from Juniata College, is a junior from Buffalo, N.Y. One of four Eagles to make All-CVC honors, McColgin proved to be one of the steadiest players in the nation. A "jack of all trades" contributor for one of the top teams in the nation, McColgin averaged nearly three kills per set, and notched96 digs and 68 blocks. He leads the No. 3 ranked team in points with 302.5.McColgin is a first-time AVCA All-American.

Connor Mortland, a 6-5 setter for New York University, is a senior from San Diego, Calif. Moving nearly 3,000 miles across the country from the Golden Coast to the Big Apple, Mortland established himself as one of the most decorated setters in program history. He was a lot more than a traditional setter despite his 10.38assists per set. He attacked at nearly a .400 clip taking 128 swings. His 124digs ranked him second on the Violets while also adding 51 blocks. Mortland ends his NYU playing career a three-time AVCA All-American.

Alec Redlich, a 6-1outside hitter for Lakeland College, is a junior from Wauwatosa, Wisc. After competing the previous 17 seasons at the club level, Redlich led the Muskies to a nationally-ranked Division III program in 2014. Redlich ranks in the top-25 recording 3.58kills per set while finishing second on the team with 173 digs (1.77 per set).He earned Sports Imports/AVCA Player of the Week honors the week of February 11thwhen he averaged 15.5 points per match en route to Lakeland knocking off threetop-15 teams, including then-No. 1 Juniata. Redlich is the first player in program history to be selected an AVCA All-American.

Gabe Shankweiler, a 6-2 outside hitter for the Stevens Institute of Technology, is a freshman from Allentown, Penn. Second on the Ducks in points per set (3.89) and kills per set (3.41) to teammate and AVCA First-Team All-American Chris Vaughan, Shankweiler recorded a double-double (14 kills, 11 digs) in their NCAA Tournament first round win over Baruch. For his strong freshman campaign, the Pennsylvania native was selected the UVC's co-Rookie of the Year.

Daniel Smith, a 6-4 middle blocker for the Stevens Institute of Technology, is a junior from Tucson, Ariz. Smith will lead his Ducks into the second round of the NCAA Tournament against the No. 2 seed SUNY New Paltz Hawks. In order for them to be in this position, Smith has had a tremendous 2014 campaign, ranking in thetop-10 nationally hitting at a .414 clip. Defensively, his 116 total blocks(1.09 per set) also puts him amongst the best in the country. Smith earns AVCA All-American honors for the first time.

Jon Storm, a 6-5 outside hitter for Carthage College, is a junior from Naperville, Ill. An All-CVC West Division Honoree, Storm was second on the team with 3.38 kills per set to accompany his 1.72 digs per set. The Red Men will play Rivier in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This marks Storm's second consecutive season as an AVCA Second-Team All-American.

Paul Syta, a 6-2 setter for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a senior from Fairport, N.Y. Syta was a do-it-all setter for the nationally-ranked Engineers in 2014. In addition to his 750assists (7.35 p/s), the New York native tallied 126 kills, 31 aces, 226 digs(2.22 p/s) and 49 total blocks (0.48 p/s). MIT is ranked No. 6 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll, and have remained in the top-10 since the third week of the year. Syta garners AVCA All-American accolades for the first time.

J.P. Tulaka, a 6-5 middle blocker for Carthage College, is a sophomore from Westmont, Ill. His .484 hitting percentage, 1.95 kills per set and 0.86 blocks per set were good enough to be named to the All-CVC West Division Team and his first AVCA All-American award. In Carthage's regular season finale against the College of Mount St. Joseph, Tulaka smashed 10 kills on .471 hitting.

Steven Woessner, a 6-5 middle blocker for SUNY New Paltz, is a freshman from Massapequa Park, N.Y. He garnered Sports Imports/AVCA Player of the Week honors last week as he helped the Hawks win their first ever UVC Conference Tournament. He certainly left his mark behind the service line, nailing 13 aces in the final three matches. The 2014 AVCA Newcomer of the Year recorded a .359 hitting percentage, which puts him in the top-20 nationally.

The NCAA Men's Division III Championships will take place this weekend...
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The NCAA Men's Division III Championships will take place this weekend... The eight remaining teams from the NCAA Men's Division III ranks will compete this weekend in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania on the campus of Juniata College to determine the 2014 National Champion.  Click here to view the entire bracket including the scheduled times for each match.  The matches will be viewable online at

12U Boys Eden Mizuno Volleyball Teams wins Springfest Tournament 
Daryl Janus

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The 12U Eden Mizuno Boys Volleyball Team won the Springfest Tournament on Saturday, April 5th held at Buffalo Niagara Court Center. In pool play, the team swept their opponents winning all 8 of their games. Those victories came against Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club, Volley FX and Club Syracuse. 

Moving on to the Boys' Championship Game, Eden Mizuno defeated the Lockport Volleyball Club, sweeping the first two games in the best of three match. The first game saw Eden defeat Lockport 25-8, and then Eden won the second game, 26-24.

The team reached the championship game in all five of the tournaments they entered, and won two of those championships games.

The team is coached by Daryl Janus and Jim Winnert.

Players on the team are:

Jake Basinski (Eden)
Connor Booth (Hamburg)
Ian Burnett (OP)
Brad Fowler (OP)
Charlie Hanlon (OP)
Jake Janus (OP)
Teddy Payne (Clarence)
Alex Rojas (OP)
Eric Stuhr (OP)
Riley Winnert (OP)

The following players are pictured: Front row (from left to right)- Teddy Payne, Jale Basinski. Charlie Hanlon, Eric Stuhr,
 Jake Janus, Back row (from left to right)- Riley Winnert, Alex Rojas, Connor Booth, Ian Burnett and Brad Fowler.

Eden Mizuno VBC 16s capture WEVA Championship
Sunday March 23, 2014

The Eden 16s rolled through pool play at the Western Empire Volleyball Association Championship going 8-0 in pool play by defeating Grand Island 16, Lockport 16, Pace 16 and Panther 16 earning a 1st seed in the playoff bracket. After Pace 16s defeated Southtowns 16s in 3 sets, Eden 16s won their match 25-19, 25-19. Penfield Traditional 16s defeated Grand Island 16 2-0, then faced 2nd seeded Victor 16s. Victor dispatched Penfield Traditional 16s 25-12, 25-17 setting up the seemingly enivitable match between Eden and Victor. The two teams met in the finals of a tournament 3 previous times, with Eden winning 2 of them. 

In the WEVA finals, the match endured a series of momentum swings and was closely contested throughout with Eden winning 2-0, 25-22, 28-26. 


Eden Mizuno 16U Front Row: Joe Zanelotti, Spencer Eagleton, Connor 
Basinski, Charlie Desmond and Chas Palka. Back Row: Cody Smith, Brad Schneider,
Griffin Schmit, Cam Bartus, Jay Baumann, Daniel Berry and Coach Weislo

Hawaii Warrior Men Volleyball 2014 - #8 Hawaii Vs #8 UC Irvine 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

UC Irvine Men's Volleyball vs. UC Santa Barbara 2014 
Anteater TV
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Anteater TV's Ella Rosenfeld catches up with Daniel Stork and Connor Hughes after their win over UCSB.

Hawaii Warrior Men Volleyball 2014 - #11 Hawaii Vs #3 UCLA 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Springfield College Men's Volleyball - Highlights and Postgame

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Carthage Men's Volleyball vs. Dominican 2012_02_26
Carthage Athletics

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Carthage College Men's CVC Volleyball vs. Dominican University, recorded February 22, 2014, at Tarble Arena, on the Carthage College Campus. Sights and Sounds of Tarble Arena.

UC Irvine Men's Volleyball vs USC 2014
Anteater TV
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Anteater Television's Ella Rosenfeld catches up with UCI Men's Volleyball players after a great 5 game win over USC

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Week #5 Poll: February 25, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 201


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 SUNY New Paltz (12) 194 17-1 1
2 Juniata (1) 179 13-2 3
3 Springfield 160 12-7 4
4 Rivier 149 9-3 2
5 Lakeland 130 11-5 8
6 MIT 122 11-2 10
7 Stevens 117 9-4 12
8 Carthage 97 6-5 9
9 Nazareth 92 7-5 5
10 UC Santa Cruz 91 7-8 6
11 Kean 66 10-6 NR
12 Elmira 63 11-6 11
13 Baruch 50 9-4 7
14 Stevenson 22 8-5 T-14
15 NYU 16 7-4 13


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Medaille 10; Emmanuel 2 

Dropped Out: Medaille T-14

Next Poll: March 4, 2014 

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #8 Poll: February 24, 2014
Monday, February 24, 201


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank   
1 Loyola-Chicago (14) 259 13-1 1
2 BYU (3) 250 10-3 2
3 UCLA (1) 233 12-3 3
4 Pepperdine 219 8-3 4
5 Long Beach State 196 9-4 6
6 UC Santa Barbara 168 9-4 5
7 Southern California 154 9-5 8
8 Stanford 149 9-5 9
9 UC Irvine 143 10-8 7
10 Penn State 95 12-2 12
11 Hawai'i 91 9-6 11
12 Lewis 88 10-4 10
13 Ohio State 41 7-6 14
14 Ball State 26 7-5 13
15 IPFW 23 8-3 NR


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Cal State Northridge 20; Harvard 4 

One team mentioned on only one ballot for a total of one combined point.

Dropped Out: Cal State Northridge 15

Next Poll: March 3, 2014

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Eden 17U Win Eden Thaw
Sunday, February 23, 2014

Front Row: Calvin Nowicki (Falconer), Trevor Gooch (Canisius), Connor Basinski (Eden), 
Declan Pierce (Eden). Back Row: Coach Robert Pierce, Christian Graziano (Will South),
Hadyn Herc (Eden), Coach Will Siwy and Jason Donorovich (Lockport)

Eden 14U Win Eden Thaw
Sunday, February 23, 2014

Front Row: Irvin Harrell (Cheektowaga), Jake Siwy (West Seneca West), Troy Gooch (Lancaster),
Drew Hesse (Eden) and Gavin Musielak (Eden). Back Row: Coach Brett Widman, Alex
Kurdziel (Clarence), Collin Rigley (Eden), Brandon Dunz (Frontier) and Coach Dennis Gooch


Springfield College Men's Volleyball - Highlights and Postgame Comments - Feb. 21, 2014 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Springfield College and Concordia Irvine advanced to the championship game of the 27th Annual Volleyball Hall of Fame Morgan Classic in Blake Arena on Friday night. The host Pride knocked off UC Santa Cruz in four sets, while Concordia swept Princeton in the first semifinal.

IPFW vs. Ball State highlights 
The News-Sentinel

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The third game of the Ball State vs. IPFW match was the longest game for the Mastodons this season. Check out the highlights from the overtime game.

Sports briefs
Amherst Bee
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Williamsville South’s Christian Graziano and Joe Zanelotti will be competing for the Eden Mizuno Volleyball Club at the 2014 Boys Junior National Championships June 28-July 5 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. Graziano plays for Eden’s 17U squad and Zanelotti plays for the 16U team. Both teams qualified at the Rochester Can/Am Jan. 18-19.

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Week #4 Poll: February 18, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 201


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 SUNY New Paltz (13) 195 15-1 T-3
2 Rivier 181 7-1 1
3 Juniata 164 10-2 T-3
4 Springfield 155 11-6 2
5 Nazareth 135 5-3 5
6 UC Santa Cruz 128 7-5 6
7 Baruch 117 7-1 7
8 Lakeland 99 10-5 8
9 Carthage 88 6-4 9
10 MIT 76 9-2 11
11 Elmira 74 9-4 10
12 Stevens 61 6-3 12
13 NYU 30 6-4 13
T-14 Stevenson 21 6-3 14
T-14 Medaille 21 3-6 15


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Kean 11; Ramapo 3 

Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of two combined points. 

Next Poll: February 25, 2014

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #7 Poll: February 17, 2014
Monday, February 17, 201


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank   
1 Loyola-Chicago (14) 261 11-1 1
2 BYU (3) 249 10-3 4
3 UCLA (1) 233 11-3 2
4 Pepperdine 213 7-3 3
5 UC Santa Barbara 196 8-3 7
6 Long Beach State 180 7-4 6
7 UC Irvine 153 9-7 9
8 Southern California 150 7-5 5
9 Stanford 134 8-5 8
10 Lewis 107 9-3 10
11 Hawai'i 95 9-4 11
12 Penn State 77 10-2 12
13 Ball State 39 7-3 15
14 Ohio State 32 5-6 14
15 Cal State Northridge 27 3-8 13


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: IPFW 7; Harvard 5 

Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of two combined points. 

Next Poll: February 24, 2014

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Harvard Wins Five Set Thriller Against Princeton
Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association 
Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pat Schwagler had 22 kills and hit .514 in a 3-2 loss at Harvard.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team rode a .306 hitting percentage to a 3-2 win over Princeton in EIVA action Thursday night at the Malkin Athletic Center. The victory came by set scores of 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 12-25 and 15-12.

Harvard, which improved to 3-3, 2-0 in EIVA, with the win, received double-digit kill efforts by a quartet of Crimson. Senior Nick Madden's 17 kills lead the way while junior Caleb Zimmick notched 13. Freshman Casey White chipped in 11 and junior DJ White rounded out the foursome with 10. Zimmick finished the night hitting a career-high .571 (11-4-25) as Madden posted a .351 percentage. Nick Bendell handled setting responsibilities as the freshman handed out a career-best 47 assists.

DJ White was one dig shy of his first double-double of the season recording nine to go with his kill total while C. White, Madden and senior Chris Gibbons added seven each. Senior Kyle Rehkemper and Zimmick let the charge at the net with three blocks each.

Princeton (0-5, 0-0 EIVA) was led offensively by senior Pat Schwagler who totaled a match-best 22 kills and .514 hitting clip.

Harvard came out strong in the first set, earning a 25-20 victory behind six kills from Madden. On a Zimmick kill the Crimson jumped out to 14-11 lead and continued to stay out in front to eventually go up, 20-16. Princeton chipped away at the lead and came within two, 21-19, but Harvard used a 4-1 run to finish the set.

The Crimson jumped out to 4-1 lead in the second and was on top, 11-8, as the midway point approached. Leading 19-18, Harvard embarked on a 6-3 run down the stretch to put the frame away on a kill from DJ White, 25-21.

Princeton bounced-back and forced Harvard to play from behind in the third to force a fourth set. The Crimson trailed by as many as five, 17-12 before a 4-2 stretch, which featured two kills by C. White, pulled Harvard within three, 19-16. The Tigers finished the frame on a 6-4 run to steal the set, 25-20.

Princeton bounced-back and led nearly the entire way to force a fourth set. A 5-1 broke a 10-10 tie to put the Tigers ahead by four, 15-11. Harvard chipped away at the lead with to pull within three, 16-19.

The Tigers led the entire way in the fourth and evened the match at two sets apiece with a 25-12 win. Harvard's home-court advantage proved to be the difference in the final frame, however, as the Crimson took an 8-6 lead at the midway point. An error from Princeton gave Harvard the match, 15-12.

Harvard returns to action Sunday, Feb. 16 when it hosts George Mason at 3 p.m. at the MAC.

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Week #3 Poll: February 11, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 201


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 Rivier (7) 179 4-0 3
2 Springfield (2) 177 8-4 4
T-3 Juniata (1) 166 10-2 1
T-3 SUNY New Paltz 166 10-1 2
5 Nazareth 131 4-3 6
6 UC Santa Cruz 129 7-4 5
7 Baruch 115 6-1 8
8 Lakeland (2) 108 9-2 NR
9 Carthage 85 5-4 10
10 Elmira 81 7-4 7
11 MIT 77 6-2 13
12 Stevens 59 4-3 T-11
13 NYU 33 6-3 9
14 Stevenson 21 6-3 T-11
15 Medaille 19 3-5 NR


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Kean 12 

Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of two combined points. 

Dropped Out: Kean 14; Thiel 15

Next Poll: February 18, 2014 

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #6 Poll: February 10, 2014
Monday, February 11, 201


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank   
1 Loyola-Chicago (11) 257 9-1 2
2 UCLA (5) 253 10-2 1
3 Pepperdine (2) 242 6-2 3
4 BYU 217 8-3 4
5 Southern California 186 6-4 5
6 Long Beach State 178 6-3 6
7 UC Santa Barbara 159 6-3 8
8 Stanford 155 7-4 7
9 UC Irvine 112 7-7 9
10 Lewis 106 8-3 10
11 Hawai'i 102 7-4 11
12 Penn State 79 8-2 12
13 Cal State Northridge 45 3-6 13
14 Ohio State 35 5-5 14
15 Ball State 24 5-3 15


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Harvard 4; IPFW 4 

Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of two combined points. 

Next Poll: February 17, 2014 

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Eden 14U Win Lockport Winter Challenge
Monday February 10, 2014

Front Row: Irvin Harrell (Cheektowaga), Drew Hesse (Eden), Gavin Musielak (Eden), Troy Gooch (Lancaster)
and Jake Siwy (West Seneca West). Back Row: Coach Dennis Gooch, Brandon Dunz (Frontier),
Collin Rigley (Eden), Alex Kurdziel (Clarence) and Coach Brett Widman


Eden volleyball club team wins with young OP talent
Orchard Park Bee
Thursday, February 6, 2014

The 12-and-under boys Eden Mizuno Volleyball Team won the Snowflake Showdown Tournament on Sunday at the Buffalo Niagara Court Center in West Seneca.

After pool play, they were 5-1 with victories against Penfield, the Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club 12-2 squad and split with the Niagara Frontier Blue Team.

In the playoff bracket, Eden Mizuno defeated the Pace Bootlegger 12-and-under team in the semifinals by winning the first two games in a best of three format.

They moved on to play against Lockport in the championship and struggled at first. Eden Mizuno lost the first game 25-8 but then battled back to win the second game 25-15.

In the third and deciding game, Eden Mizuno took an early lead and never looked back, winning 15-9.

The team has seven players from Orchard Park, including Ian Burnett, Brad Fowler, Charlie Hanlon, Jake Janus, Alex Rojas, Eric Stuhr and Riley Winnert.

Amherst Bee
Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Williamsville South graduate Evan Singer, a three-year player for the D’Youville College men’s volleyball team, recorded a career-high five blocks at the SUNYIT Invitational against Elms College Jan. 24 and then matched it against Wentworth Jan. 25. In the second match of the day Jan. 24, the Spartans’ middle blocker tallied 12 kills against Cazenovia College, making it a single-match personal best.

12U Boys Eden Mizuno Volleyball Teams wins Snowflake Tournament
Daryl Janus

Monday February 3, 2014

The 12U Eden Mizuno Boys Volleyball Team won the Snowflake Showdown Tournament on Sunday, February 2nd held at Buffalo Niagara Court Center. In pool play, the team defeated Penfield, the Niagara Frontier Volleyball Club 12-2 squad and split with the Niagara Frontier Blue Team. In Pool Play, the team’s record was 5 wins and 1 loss.

Moving on to the Boys' Playoff Bracket, Eden Mizuno defeated Pace Bootlegger 12U in the semifinals, sweeping the first two games in the best of three match. In the finals against Lockport, Eden struggled in the first game losing 25 to 8. However, Eden stormed back in the second game with strong serving and won 25 to 15, forcing a game three. In the third and deciding game, Eden took an early lead and never looked back, winning 15-9 to take the championship medal.

The team is coached by Daryl Janus and Jim Winnert.

Players on the team are:
Jake Basinski (Eden)
Connor Booth (Hamburg)
Ian Burnett (OP)
Brad Fowler (OP)
Charlie Hanlon (OP)
Jake Janus (OP)
Teddy Payne (Clarence)
Alex Rojas (OP)
Eric Stuhr (OP)
Riley Winnert (OP)


Front row (from left to right)- Jake Janus, Charlie Hanlon, Eric Stuhr, Teddy Payne, Jake Basinski
Back row (from left to right)- Riley Winnert, Alex Rojas, Brad Fowler, Ian Burnett, Connor Booth

Men's Volleyball Rutgers-Newark vs.Cairn 
Thursday January 30, 2014

D'Youville vs Nazareth Men's Volleyball 

Wednesday January 29, 2014

Hawaii Warrior Men Volleyball 2014 - #10 Hawaii Vs UCSD 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

UC Irvine Men's Volleyball vs BYU 2014 
Anteater YV

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fall varsity sports teams earn scholar athlete status 
Clarence Bee
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Boys volleyball

Jake Baran, Derek Burghardt, David Cummiskey, Thomas Ecker, Robert Kuberka, Thaddeus Okon, Skyler Reinhardt, Richard Sebian

Eden Mizuno VBC Comes Up Big at the Rochester CAN/AM
Tuesday January 21, 2014

The Eden Mizuno VBC qualified 4 teams for the 2014 Boys Junior National Championships in Houston, Texas. The Eden 14-1's made it to the Gold Bracket final against BRYC out of Virginia. After defeating BRYC earlier in the day, the 14s fell 2-0. They turned down their bid to BJNC. The Eden 15U team fell in the semi-finals of the Gold bracket to eventual champion Pittsburgh Black. The Eden 16s split with Borinquen Coqui of Puerto Rico (22-25, 25-19) before falling in an epic 3rd set 22-20. Borinquen Coqui won the gold bracket final. Finally, the Eden 17s lost to Markham Stingers out of Toronto.

The Eden 15s, 16s and 17s will all represent WNY in Houston in July.


Eden Mizuno 16U Front Row: Joe Zanelotti, Charlie Desmond, Chas Palka, Connor 
Basinski, Coach Weislo. Back Row: Coach Palka, Cody Smith, Spencer Eagleton,
Jay Baumann, Cam Bartus, Griffin Schmit, Brad Schneider and Daniel Berry


Eden Mizuno 14U Front Row: Jake Siwy, Drew Hesse, Nico Zanelotti, Troy Gooch, Gavin Musielak,
Irvin Harrel. Back Row: Coach Widman, Collin Rigley, Alex Kurdziel, Brandon Dunz and Coach Gooch.


AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #3 Poll: January 20, 2014


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank   
1 Pepperdine (12) 264 3-0 3
2 Loyola-Chicago (6) 250 4-1 2
3 UCLA 225 5-1 6
4 Southern California 212 3-1 5
5 Long Beach State 192 3-2 4
6 Stanford 180 3-2 1
7 BYU 164 4-2 8
T-8 UC Irvine 132 4-4 7
T-8 UC Santa Barbara 132 3-0 11
10 Hawai'i 109 3-2 10
11 Lewis 102 4-2 9
12 Penn State 80 3-2 12
13 Harvard 39 0-1 13
14 IPFW 32 3-1 14
15 Ohio State 29 2-3 15


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Cal State Northridge 14; Princeton 3

Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of three combined points. 

Next Poll: January 27, 2014 

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Penn State Altoona Men's Volleyball vs. Medaille
Penn State Altoona Athletics

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Despite the highlights, Penn State Altoona lost to Medaillle 3-1.

Hawaii Warrior Men Volleyball 2014 - #10 Hawaii Vs #4 Long Beach State

Saturday, January 18, 2014

BYU vs UCI 1/17/14

Friday January 17, 2014

This is a compilation of clips from the Rematch between BYU and UCI from the NCAA Championship last year and the home opener for UCI's 2014 season. Very little editing was done in this video. Enjoy!

Gauchos Unveiled: Men's Volleyball 2014

Thursday January 16, 2014

The UCSB men's volleyball team returns a majority of its starting lineup from 2013 and the Gauchos are ready to prove that they've got what it takes to win it all this year.

2014 Harvard Men's Volleyball Season Preview
Thursday January 16, 2014

Head coach Brian Baise caught up with to preview the 2014 season.

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Preseason Poll: January 14, 2014


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points 2013 Record Final 2013 Rank
1 Springfield (13) 209 32-3 1
2 Nazareth 183 36-2 2
3 Juniata (1) 172 24-12 5
4 SUNY New Paltz 152 27-6 T-9
5 Baruch 146 34-6 3
6 UC Santa Cruz 144 15-8 4
7 Carthage 139 24-8 T-9
8 Rivier 110 27-12 6
9 Stevens 84 25-10 8
10 NYU 80 14-13 13
11 Stevenson 78 26-12 10
12 MIT 55 24-12 14
13 Kean 52 26-8 11
14 Elmira 28 19-16 NR
15 Medaille 16 17-15 15


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Vassar 14; Endicott 13; Emmanuel 4

One team mentioned on only one ballot for a total of one combined point. 

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Hawaii Warrior Men Volleyball 2014 - #14 Hawaii Vs #7 UCLA

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pacific Men's Volleyball vs. Lewis
Don Ross

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hawaii Warrior Men Volleyball 2014 - #14 Hawaii Vs #11 Penn State

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hawaii Warrior Men Volleyball 2014 - #14 Hawaii Vs #12 Ohio State 

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 NCAA Men’s Volleyball Season Preview
Deb Stadick, Volleyball Magazine
Friday, January 10 2014

Regardless of which teams thrive or fail, 2014 will be a historic season for NCAA men’s volleyball. Conference Carolinas will join the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), and Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) as the fourth men’s volleyball conference eligible for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and for the first time, six teams will qualify for the post-season, the four automatic qualifiers plus two at-large bids. The tournament will feature a pair of play-in matches before the final four. The 2014 season will also see UC Irvine vie for their third consecutive national championship, and Pacific University men’s volleyball program will compete in their 22nd and final season before disbanding due to budget cuts. To help you prepare for the excitement of the season, VBM has chosen our top 10 teams to watch. 


2013 Record: 26-5 
2013 Postseason: NCAA Finalist 
Head Coach: Chris McGown (50-12, third season) 
Key Returners: Michael Hatch (So., MB), Jaylen Reyes (Jr., L), Josue Rivera (Jr., OH), Taylor Sander (Sr., OH), Devin Young (Sr., MB) 
Key Losses: Ryan Boyce (S), Russ Lavaja (MB), Ben Patch (Opp.) 
Key Newcomers: Bennett Bird (Fr., OH), Lucas Coleman (Fr., OH), Tim Dobbert (Fr., Opp.), Joseph Grosh (Fr., MB), Carson Heninger (So., Opp.), Price Jarman (Fr., MB), Jake Langlois (Fr., MB), Kiril Meretev (Fr., OH) 
Notes on BYU: For the Cougars to finish what they started last season and earn an NCAA Championship title, returners and newcomers alike must step up and embrace new roles. BYU loses three key offensive players in AVCA Second Team All-American Lavaja (166k, 113b); VBM Freshman of the Year, AVCA Newcomer of the Year, and First Team All-American Patch (418k, 126b, 101b); and starting setter Boyce (1,160a, 161d). AVCA First Team All-American and VBM and MPSF Player of the Year Sander (461k, 178d, 93b) is back to lead the offense, while Rivera (228k, 123d, 84b) returns as a consistent all-around contributor. BYU should continue to excel defensively behind the blocking of Young (104k, 81b) and court defense of Reyes (169d). Several newcomers, including transfer Heninger, could step in and contribute immediately. 
Coach on the team: “Certainly we’ll need to fill some big holes in the middle, setting, and opposite positions, but we have a group of excellent athletes competing for those spots. We’ve liked the contributions our incoming freshmen have made to our team dynamic.” 
International Affair: Five members of the Cougar squad hail from around the globe: Lucas Coleman and Carson Heninger (Canada), Tim Dobbert (Germany), Kiril Meretev (Bulgaria), and Josue Rivera (Puerto Rico).


2013 Record: 20-10 
2013 Postseason: MIVA Finalist 
Head Coach: Dan Friend (330-189, 17th season) 
Key Returners: BJ Boldog (RS Sr., S), Eric Butch (RS Jr., OH), Eric Fitterer (Jr., Opp.), Greg Petty (Jr., OH), Geoff Powell (RS Jr., OH), Bobby Walsh (So., MB), Yiwei Zhou (Sr., MB) 
Key Losses: Jay Petty (OH) 
Key Newcomers: Tom Beckmann (Fr., Opp.), JB Brinkerhoff (Fr., OH), John Hodul (Fr., MB), Connor Lammey (Fr., MB), Gert Lisha (Fr., S), Kyle Rohde (RS Fr., OH), Riley Rutan (RS Fr., OH), Jacob Schmiegelt (RS Fr., MB), Lucas Yanez (Jr., L) 
Notes on Lewis: With five starters returning from last season’s MIVA finalist squad, the Flyers have the leadership and talent to claim the conference title and post a tournament berth in 2014. AVCA Second Team All-American Boldog (1,101a) is back for his final campaign and will rely on fellow Second Team All-American Powell (385k, 173d, 75b) to pace the offense. A new outside will be called on to step up and replace Jay Petty (285k, 183d, 74b). That new outside could very well be his younger brother Greg Petty (57k, 36d, 28b), who saw action in 20 of 30 matches last season. The Flyers will once again look to middles Zhou (102k, 100b) and Walsh (174k, 133b) along with opposite Fitterer (257k, 116d, 71b) for strong blocking and consistent offensive numbers. 
Coach on the team: “This year’s team is in a great mental and physical place. There is a sense of maturity and experience that I believe will help us as the season gets long and grueling.” 
Frequent Flyers: Of the 24 team members, only 10 are Illinois natives. The roster features players from New York (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), Florida (2), California (3), Missouri (2), Wisconsin (1), Washington (1), and China (1). 


2013 Record: 24-8 
2013 Postseason: MPSF Finalist 
Head Coach: Alan Knipe (193-111, 11th season) 
Key Returners: Dalton Ammerman (Sr., OH), Taylor Crabb (Sr., OH), Taylor Gregory (So., MB), Connor Olbright (Sr., S), Jeff Ornee (Sr., MB), Andrew Sato (So., L), Ian Satterfield (Sr., Opp.) 
Key Losses: Colten Echave (MB) 
Key Newcomers: Matt Butler (Fr., S), Jorge Cabrera (Jr., OH/Opp.), Eric Ensing (RS Fr., OH/Opp.), Zach Gates (Fr., Opp.), Cody Martin (So., OH), Curtis Stallings (Fr., S), Scott Stephanoff (Fr., Opp), Chris van Vuuren (RS Jr., OH), Bryce Yould (Fr., MB) 
Notes on Long Beach State: Long Beach State tabbed a 24-8 record and MPSF championship berth last season in a campaign that stands out as the program’s best since 2008. The 49ers return a veteran squad, including AVCA National Player of the Year/First Team All-American Crabb (502k, 209d, 72b) and Second Team All-American Olbright (1336a). Long Beach State loses half of their middle tandem with the graduation of Echave (187k, 107b), but last season’s top blocker Gregory (130k, 156b) returns to the net. Ammerman (333k, 176d, 71b) and Satterfield (137k, 86d, 42b) provide depth and additional scoring options for this stacked 49ers’ squad, while Sato (209d) is back to pace the court defense. 
Coach on the schedule: “We have scheduled a few international matches early in January, the UCSB Tournament, and our mid-season tournament in March. All of these non-conference matches will provide us great opportunities to prepare for the grind of the MPSF.” 
Grow the Game: Long Beach State’s libero Andrew Sato is the son of Gary Sato, who early last year was named head coach of the Japanese Men’s National Team.


2013 Record: 22-10 
2013 Postseason: NCAA Semifinalist 
Head Coach: Shane Davis (208-85, 11th season) 
Key Returners: Dainis Berzins (Sr., OH), Cody Caldwell (Jr., OH), Peter Hutz (So., S), Thomas Jaeschke (So., OH), Peter Jasaitis (RS Sr., L), Trevor Novotny (So., OH), Nicholas Olson (So., MB), Diego Rodriguez (So., S), Joseph Smalzer (RS Sr., Opp.) 
Key Losses: Eric Daliege (MB), Jeff Patton (OH) 
Key Newcomers: Jagger Kroener (Fr., L), Owen McAndrews (RS Fr., MB), Brandon Palmer (Fr., MB) 
Notes on Loyola: Men’s volleyball is gaining momentum in the Midwest and this Loyola squad promises to keep the trend going. Last season, the Ramblers earned their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance and finished the season ranked ninth in the AVCA Coaches Poll. The Ramblers return their top offensive weapons from last season: First Team All-American Smalzer (430k, 160d, 69b) and Jaeschke (344k, 162d, 157b). Hutz (678a) and Rodriguez (541a) bring experience to the setting position, while Jasaitis (229d) is back to lead the court defense. Loyola lost last season’s top blocker in Daliege (155k, 110b), but Olson (145k, 95b) should be ready to take over that role after a breakout freshman campaign. 
Coach on the schedule: “We’re trying something different with having West Coast teams come to our gym instead of us making the trip out there to begin the season. I think it’s great to get high-caliber teams in our arena so our fans can see us compete against them.” 
Berzins Bros: For the past six years, Loyola’s roster has featured a Berzins brother. Kris Berzins competed for the Ramblers from 2007-10 and is currently one of their assistant coaches. His younger brother, Dainis Berzins, joined Loyola’s roster in 2011.


2013 Record: 23-8 
2013 Postseason: NCAA Semifinalist 
Head Coach: Mark Pavlik (460-134, 
20th season) 
Key Returners: Connor Curry (RS Jr., L), Taylor Hammond (RS So., S), Aaron Russell (Jr. MB), Peter Russell (Sr., OH), Matt Seifert (RS So., MB) 
Key Losses: Tom Comfort (Opp.), Nick Turko (MB) 
Key Newcomers: Aiden Albrecht (Fr., Opp.), Matt Callaway (RS Fr., MB/Opp.), Joey Farrell (Fr., OH), Kevin Gear (Fr., MB), Chris Nugent (Fr., OH), Jalen Penrose (Fr., OH), Andrew Roberts (RS Fr., Opp.), Spencer Sauter (RS Fr., OH) 
Notes on Penn State: Expect another postseason run from this young, improving team. The Nittany Lions return five players from their 23-8, NCAA Semifinalist squad and bring in a slew of newcomers. Penn State will have to account for the loss of Turko (81k, 66b) and Comfort (185k, 37b), but returning players in critical positions will ease the transition as new players step up and fill those roles. Aaron Russell (366k, 180d, 47b) is back to pace the offense after leading Penn State in kills last season. The Nittany Lions also return top-blocker Seifert (163k, 77b). Curry (259d) will continue to frustrate opponents with his scrappy defense, while Hammond (1,172a) is back to quarterback the offense. 
Coach on the team: “This year our starters will be youthfully experienced, but our depth is going to be inexperienced, so I think it’s going to be a situation where this team is really going to gel about a month or two into the season when we really get used to what we’re facing.” 
Unstoppable: Penn State tabbed their 15th-straight EIVA championship title last season. The Nittany Lions now have 25 EIVA titles to their name.


2013 Record: 14-12 
2013 Postseason: MPSF Quarterfinalist 
Head Coach: Marv Dunphy (546-241, 31st season) 
Key Returners: Nikola Antonijevic (Jr., MB), Parker Kalmbach (RS Jr., MB), Ryan Plueger (Sr., L), Matt Tarantino (RS So., MB/Opp.), Josh Taylor (Jr., OH), Matt West (Jr., S) 
Key Losses: Maurice Torres (Opp.) 
Key Newcomers: Brennan Anderson (Jr., L), Soren Dion-Kindem (Fr., S), James Gehrels (Fr., OH), Chad McCallister (Fr., L), Mitchell Penning (Fr., MB), Max States (Fr., OH) 
Notes on Pepperdine: The Waves boast an experienced, upperclassmen-dominated squad. Five starters return from last season’s 14-12 team along with Ohio State transfer Anderson, who set the Buckeyes’ record for average career digs and single-season digs. In addition, MPSF All-Freshman Team selection Tarantino returns to the court after redshirting last season. First Team All-American West (1,114a) will continue to orchestrate the offense, while last season’s top blocker Kalmbach (173k, 121b) is back to defend the net. With the graduation of kills leader Torres (417k, 82b, 154d), the Waves will likely call on Taylor (305k, 123d, 58b) to carry the offense. Plueger (148d) returns as a feisty backcourt defender. 
Coach on the team: “We have to contend with the loss of Maurice Torres, who led our team in kills and aces during his four years here. If we can stay healthy, I think we will be in the thick of it.” 
Making Olympic Waves: Pepperdine has been represented on the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team every quad since 1984.


2013 Record: 15-13 
2013 Postseason: N.A. 
Head Coach: John Kosty (121-82, eighth season) 
Key Returners: Brian Cook (Sr., OH), Grant Delgado (RS Jr., L), Denny Falls (Sr., MB), Spencer Haly (Jr., MB), Madison Hayden (So., OH), Steven Irvin (Sr., OH), Eric Mochalski (Sr., MB/Opp.), Scott Sakaida (RS Jr., L), James Shaw (So., S/OH), Daniel Tublin (RS Jr., OH) 
Key Losses: Jake Kneller (OH) 
Key Newcomers: Cole Fiers (Fr., S), Clay Jones (Fr., OH), Colin McCall (Fr., OH), Kevin Rakestraw (Fr., MB) 
Notes on Stanford: An experienced Stanford squad will take the court this winter. Ten of 16 returners saw significant court time last season, including All-Americans Cook (First Team, 417k, 148d, 62b) and Irvin (Second Team, 344k, 183d, 45b). The Cardinal lost a valuable role player in Kneller (69k, 96d, 25b) but should be able to compensate for the loss with their deep bench and strong incoming class. Blocking leader Mochalski (179k, 88b) returns to defend the net, while Delgado (146d) brings experience to the backcourt. Shaw (1,027a) will likely continue to start at setter, but could be called on to hit as well. Add four talented newcomers to the mix and the 2014 Cardinal squad is poised to contend with the best. 
Coach on the team: “I would describe this version of the Cardinal as skilled, athletic, and experienced. We have two strong setters that can now be considered veterans and a solid core of outsides and opposites that are fairly interchangeable.” 
Worst to First: Since taking over as head coach in 2007, John Kosty has completely transformed the Stanford men’s volleyball program. He took the Cardinal from a three-win season in 2007 to an NCAA Championship title in 2010. 


2013 Record: 25-7 
2013 Postseason: NCAA Champions 
Head Coach: David Kniffin (25-7, second season) 
Key Returners: Michael Brinkley (Jr., L), Jeremy Dejno (Sr., OH), Connor Hughes (Sr., OH), Scott Kevorken (Sr., MB), Zack La Cavera (Jr., Opp.), Collin Mehring (Sr., MB), Daniel Stork (Sr., S), Travis Woloson (Jr., OH) 
Key Losses: Chris Austin (S), Kevin Tillie (OH) 
Key Newcomers: Andrew Benz (Fr., MB), Reid Dominguez (Fr., OH), Phillip Friedman (Fr., OH), Tamir Hershko (Fr., Opp.), Dillon Hoffman (Fr., L), Tucker Pikula (Fr., OH), Michael Saeta (Fr., Opp.), Ben Sebastian (Fr., MB), Austin Vaickus (Fr., Opp.), Marius Wollan (Fr., OH) 
Notes on UC Irvine: In his first year at the helm, Kniffin led the Anteaters to their second consecutive NCAA championship title. This season, 10 letterwinners and nine newcomers take the court to vie for a three-peat. AVCA First Team All-American Brinkley (290d) returns to pace the defense, while AVCA Second Team All-American Mehring (188k, 134b) along with Kevorken (178k, 122b) and La Cavera (280k, 112d, 69b) add experience to the front line. UC Irvine lost key offensive players with the graduation of Austin (611a) and AVCA First Team All-American Tillie (395k, 64b, 179d), so returning outsides Dejno (241k, 80d, 64b) and Hughes (195k, 92d, 55b) will need to step up and carry more of the offensive load. Stork (737a) will likely remain in the conversation for starting setter. 
Coach on the team: “The competitive objective to win a national championship remains the same, but it will be a different journey. The dynamics have shifted, but the sum of the parts is equal to last year.” 
League-Of-Almost-His-Own: In the 44-year history of NCAA men’s volleyball, David Kniffin is the second head coach to claim the national title in his first season.


2013 Record: 21-11 
2013 Postseason: MPSF Semifinalist 
Head Coach: John Speraw (21-11, second season) 
Key Returners: Trent Kersten (RS So., MB), Steve O’Dell (So., S), Robart Page (Sr., OH), Clayton Paullin (RS Jr., MB), Gonzalo Quiroga (Sr., OH), Spencer Rowe (Sr., MB) 
Key Losses: Connor Bannan (S), Evan Mottram (L), Dane Worley (OH) 
Key Newcomers: Jackson Bantle (Fr., OH), Grant Chalmers (Fr., L), Oliver Martin (Fr., OH), Jake Reeves (Fr., S), Hagen Smith (Fr., S), Eric Sprague (Fr., MB), Mitch Stahl (Fr., MB) 
Notes on UCLA: The Bruins spent last season adjusting to a new coaching staff, but the future is bright for this talented squad. UCLA returns six key members of their MPSF semifinalist squad and brings in arguably the strongest recruiting class in the country, including two of the nation’s top-five recruits (according to VBM’s Fab 50) in Stahl and Martin. AVCA First Team All-American Quiroga (420k, 146d, 58b) along with Page (356k, 162d, 56b) are back to pace the offense, while AVCA Second-Team All American Rowe (213k, 112) returns as a force at the net. The defensive contribution of AVCA Second Team All-American Mottram (267d) and consistent offensive production of Worley (307k, 160d, 52b) will be missed, but UCLA’s deep roster should be able to pick up the slack. 
Coach on the schedule: “We’ve got a great schedule this season, particularly in the pre-conference season where we’ll travel to the Santa Barbara tournament and the Outrigger Hotels Invitational. These events will give us an opportunity to try different lineup combinations as well as expose our team to playing away from home. With eight new players, competition on the road is invaluable. 
Red, White, and Bruin: Bruins’ head coach John Speraw also leads the U.S. Men’s National Team. Talk about a jam-packed schedule.


2013 Record: 6-18 
2013 Postseason: N.A. 
Head Coach: Bill Ferguson (115-82, eighth season) 
Key Returners: Joey Booth (RS Jr., OH), Henry Cassiday (Sr., L/OH), Micah Christenson (Jr., S), Robert Feathers (Jr., MB), Tanner Jansen (RS Sr., Opp.), Cristian Rivera (Jr., OH/Opp.), 
Key Losses: J.B. Green (L), Ben Lam (MB), Chris Trefzger (S) 
Key Newcomers: Andy Benesh (Fr., MB), Riley Mallon (Fr., L/OH), Jack Yoder (Fr., S), Lucas Yoder (Fr., OH) 
Notes on USC: After spending the 2013 season rebuilding and developing young players, USC should be back on the national radar in 2014. The Trojans will have to replace role players in Lam (57K, 41b), Trefzger (100a), and Green (45d), but world-class setter Christenson (867a) is back to run the show. Christenson isn’t just a phenomenal setter: he also led the team in digs (179) and aces (41) in 2013. Also back is top hitter Jansen (241k, 65d, 48b) and blocker Feathers (170k, 76b), along with starting libero Cassiday (108d). Add in the consistent play of Rivera (193k, 66d, 32b) and Booth (156k, 59d, 19b) and a smattering of talented newcomers, and this USC squad is poised for a breakout season. 
Coach on the team: “Our expectation for the 2014 season is that we will finish with a record closer to what we had in 2012, when we advanced to the NCAA final four for the third time in a four-year span.” 
What I Did Over My Summer Vacation (And Fall Semester): Junior setter Micah Christenson spent his summer (and fall) setting for the U.S. Men’s National Team. He could very well be on the court in the next Olympics.

Player of the Year Candidates

Three names consistently came to the forefront when discussing the nation’s top players. 

Micah Christenson
Jr., S, 6'5", USC, Honolulu, Hawaii 
Arguably the best setter in the nation, Christenson led a rebuilding USC squad to a .228 hitting efficiency last season. He nabbed Second Team All-MPSF honors and led the Trojans with 867 assists, 179 digs, and 41 aces. His 59 total blocks were good for second best on the team. Christenson spent his summer competing with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He set the national team to a first-place finish at the NORCECA Continental Championship and a fifth-place finish in the FIVB Grand Champions Cup in Japan.

Taylor Crabb 
Sr., OH, 6'0", Long Beach State, Honolulu, Hawaii 
Crabb earned his first-ever All-American recognition in 2013 when he stormed onto the scene and claimed AVCA First Team All-American and Player of the Year honors. The outside hitter was an instrumental part of the 49ers’ 24-8 season and MPSF championship appearance. Ranked third in the nation with 4.18 kills per set, Crabb blasted 20 or more kills in eight matches last season. His .353 hitting percentage was in the top-10 nationwide. Also a strong defender, Crabb posted 209 digs, good for second best on his team, and 72 blocks. 

Taylor Sander 
Sr., OH, 6'4", BYU, Huntington Beach, Calif. 
An AVCA First Team All-American and MPSF and VBM Player of the Year in 2013, Sander led his BYU squad to an MPSF conference title and NCAA championship appearance. The three-time All-American notched a team-high 461 kills on 947 attempts for a .333 hitting efficiency. His 3.94 kills per set rank fifth best in the nation, and he posted 20 kills or more in five matches. He also posted a team best 178 digs (1.52 digs per set) and tabbed 93 blocks and 42 service aces. 

Pepperdine Men's Volleyball Outlook 2014
Pepperdine Athletics

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Josh Taylor, Matt West and Kyle Gerrans preview the upcoming season for the Waves. Season and home opener is Friday, January 10. at 7pm.

Eden 17s Play in the SCVA National Qualifier
Eden VBC
Sunday January 5, 2014

The Eden 17s traveled to Anaheim, CA to play against many of the best club teams in the United States. On day one, the defeated Seaside 17 Green 2-0 (25-13,25-21)before falling to both Outrigger 17 2-1 (25-22, 12-25, 13-15) and 2nd ranked Pacific Rim 171 2-1 (19-25, 25-20, 10-15).

On day two, Eden defeated LIVBC 17 Regional 2-0 (25-23, 25-18), Spectrum 17s 2-0 (25-20, 25-22) and NCVC Revolution 17-2, 2-0 (25-22, 26-24). 

On day 3, Eden faced Balboa Bay 17 White, defeating them 2-0 (27-25, 25-21) to advance to the Flight 1 Finals to face KU`IKAHI 17R RoShamBo out of Hawaii. Eden defeated KU`IKAHI 17R RoShamBo 2-0 (25-13, 25-18) to win Flight 1. 


Pictured above in Laguna Beach: Dylan Durni, Frontier, DJ Ulmer, West Seneca West, Cole Overhoff, Eden,
Declan Pierce, Eden, Christian Graziano, Williamsville South,
Hadyn Herc, Eden and Calvin Nowicki, Falconer.

Season Preview: Every NCAA men’s volleyball team in a sentence or two
vinnielopes, Off The Block

Friday, January 3, 2014

Most preseason talk around a team can be summed up in a few sentences — and that’s what we did.

As the NCAA men’s volleyball season begins in full earnest this weekend, get a quick breakdown of every men’s volleyball team from around the nation as they enter the 2014 season.

Check out what to know about each Division I-II men’s volleyball team for the start of the season.


UC Irvine – The Anteaters are eyeing a potential three-peat. If this season-opening Midwest road trip is any indication, UC Irvine will be in contention all season long for that three-peat.

BYU – All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander returns for his senior season with a chance to not only shatter the BYU record books but led the Cougars their first NCAA title since 2004.

Long Beach State – The 49ers are highly motivated after narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament last season and return two All-Americans. Coach Alan Knipe is on his way to bringing Long Beach State back to the NCAA Tournament.

UCLA – It’s been a long time since UCLA was in the NCAA Tournament. Everything points this veteran group of players led by All-American outside attacker Gonzalo Quiroga ending the eight-year drought.

Pepperdine – All-American setter Matt West has continued to improve throughout his first two seasons. However, West and the Waves will have to replace their top offensive options from last year after Maurice Torres graduated.

Stanford – This team last season looked one-year away from being a front-runner for a NCAA championship. That one year wait is now up.

Cal Baptist – The Lancers are postseason eligible following their successful transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. The big challenge this season now is for Cal Baptist to get into the postseason.

UC Santa Barbara – Setter Jonah Seif could be primed for a big breakout season. If the Gauchos can fill the void at middle attacker left by graduated All-American Dylan Davis, UC Santa Barbara should be a playoff team.

USC – All-American setter Micah Christenson has been only getting better since playing with the U.S. Men’s National Team this fall and he now has all his outside attackers back and healthy for the 2014 season. The Trojans will have a big bounce-back season.

Hawai’i – All but one stater returns for the Rainbow Warriors. Hawai’i showed last season it is capable to play with the best teams in the nation when it’s serving effectively and passing well.

Cal State Northridge – It’s going to be a rebuilding year for the Matadors. Cal State Northridge, though, will be more than competitive and potentially pull off a few upsets.

Pacific – It’s the final season for Pacific before the university dissolves the men’s volleyball program. Time for one more run at a MPSF Tournament berth.

UC San Diego – Kevin Ring is probably the most under-rated coach in the nation. UC San Diego has low preseason expectations but don’t be shocked if it knocks off a few nationally ranked teams this season.


Loyola – Joseph Smalzer, the 2013 MIVA Player of the Year, is returning for his senior season along with a majority of starters from last year’s team that won the MIVA title. This team has a legitimate chance to win a national championship on its home court.

Lewis – Even after earning All-American honors, BJ Boldog is one of the most under-rated setters in the nation and continues to give this team a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament. Add All-American opposite Geoff Powell and the Flyers can compete with any nationally ranked team.

Ohio State – The expectations are always high for the Buckeyes, especially after being upset last year in the postseason. Ohio State should be a fun team to watch this year with some of its new recruits and will continue to improve throughout the year.

Grand Canyon – Not many people outside of Arizona have high expectations for Grand Canyon. Don’t tell that to the Antelopes or their coaching staff, though, because they all believe they can make a deep postseason run in 2014.

Ball State – Ball State has one of the best middle tandems in the nation with All-American middle attackers Kevin Owens and Matt Leske. However, the Cardinals’ shot at contending for a MIVA title depends on its ability for develop its young outside attackers into all-conference caliber players.

IPFW – Coach Arnie Ball told The News-Sentinel recently that he didn’t want to retire because of the talent on his roster. The Hall of Fame isn’t exaggerating. The Mastodons were a young team last year that pulled off their share of upsets. 

Lindenwood – The Lions have a new coach, are postseason eligible and now a full member of NCAA Division II. Lindenwood is continuing to build it’s program and there are tons of reasons for Lions fans to be optimistic.

Quincy – The Hawks had a strong fundraising campaign in the offseason to get renovated locker-rooms — and they were desperately needed. It’s those small off-the-court steps that begin to turn around a program.


Penn State – This is the most scrutinized team in college men’s volleyball. No other program has the expectations from the public of anything less than an undefeated conference season being a complete train wreck. But man do those outside expectations say something about the program Mark Pavlik has built.

Princeton – Cody Kessel last season became the first Tiger to earn All-American honors since Bill Clinton was in office. Kessel and five other returning starters also give Princeton a realistic shot of ending Penn State’s championship reign in the EIVA.

Harvard – The culture of the program his completely changed. The players now not only know they can win, but know they can compete a EIVA championship.

George Mason – Returning to the court can be the best escape for the Patriot players as they continue mourning the loss of their former teammate Pat Sibley, who died in August.

St. Francis – It’s been two years of missing the postseason for St. Francis. All-EIVA outside attacker Logan Patterson and a veteran team returning gives the Red Flashes good reason to believe that postseason drought ends this year.

NJIT – Coach Ryan McNeil, besides being one of the most rebellious voters in the national coaches poll, has spent several years focusing on recruiting internationally. The Highlanders have players from Barbados to Poland on its roster and could be an intriguing to watch this season.

Sacred Heart – For as bad as Sacred Heart’s 4-19 record looked last season, the Pioneers were competitive in most of their matches. Expect Sacred Heart to continue to improve in 2014 but a postseason appearance is still a few years away.

Rutgers-Newark – Only one more year before this team officially moves to NCAA Division III, leaves the EIVA and becomes competitive for a league title.


Mount Olive – Mount Olive has recovered from its postseason disappointment of losing in the conference tournament semifinals. last season The Trojans now are eyeing to become the first team in represent the Conference Carolinas in the NCAA Tournament.

Pfeiffer – The two-time defending Conference Carolinas champions lost its head coach and the conference player of the year from last season. Pfeiffer, though, still has enough returning pieces to be competitive for a third straight title. 

Lees-McRae – David Schmidlin begins his first full season as the Bobcats’ head coach. Time to now see if this team can continue the tradition of pulling off some big non-conference upsets.

Limestone – The Saints surprised most people last season reaching the conference championship match after finishing the regular season in fourth place. With all-conference middle attacker Andrew Miller and all-conference outside attacker Eric Zaun returning for another season, Limestone could look even better this season.

Erskine – Erskine has a brutal non-conference schedule with four road matches against nationally ranked teams. That will make this young team well prepared for the heart of its conference season.

Belmont Abbey – The Crusaders will be in contention for a second consecutive postseason appearance. However, for most of nation Belmont Abbey will remain the second most popular abbey in 2014.

King – The Tornado last season lost nine of its final 11 regular season matches and just missed getting the final postseason berth. King earning a postseason berth in 2014 would be a major step forward for this program.

Barton – It took the Bulldogs almost two seasons to win their first match in program history. With that losing streak now behind them, expect Barton to one of the most improved teams this upcoming season.


Coker – The Cobras begin their first season as an independent team after school left the Conference Carolinas. Perhaps the bigger story for this team is will Coker find another conference to join for future seasons.

McKendree – It’s the inaugural season for the Bearcats men’s volleyball team. Don’t expect a lot of wins, but like most expansion teams expect this program to improve throughout the year.

This entry was posted in Ball State Cardinals, Conference Carolinas, Division I-II, EIVA, MIVA, MPSF by vinnielopes. Bookmark the permalink. 

Open Mike: Title for Pierce makes trip home even sweeter
By: Michael J. Petro | Sports

Friday January 3, 2014


PIERCE PART OF GREATNESS — Kendall Pierce leans in with teammates (bottom row, fourth from left)
as Penn State celebrates the women’s volleyball program’s sixth overall title. Photo courtesy of the Pierce family.


Kendall Pierce made it home from college just in time for the holidays.

Her semester break started a little later than most college students. When she arrived in Eden for the first time in seven months it was with an experience unrivaled by her peers.

The Penn State sophomore made it back for a second straight season to the NCAA women’s volleyball Final Four and this time, her Nittany Lions left as champions — the national power’s sixth overall.

Pierce, a role player as a defensive and serving specialist, played in three of Penn State’s four games as the second seed in the tournament defeated upstart Wisconsin on Dec. 21 in Seattle, Wash. The championship match and other tournament action were televised on ESPN2.

“When I got home, I was just excited to see everyone, in general, because it was the first time in seven months that I was home, Pierce said. “I got one hug from everyone for being missed and another hug for winning a title. It’s amazing all of the support I received and all of the people who tuned in to watch.”

The Eden High School 2012 graduate has reached rare territory as a college athlete, by being part of a Division I national championship team. She had plenty of stories to tell from her experiences over the past seven months.

“It didn’t sink in right away that we did it,” Pierce said. “It’s hard to wrap your head around it at first. It’s a dream to win a national championship, and it’s an accomplishment that’s easier said than done, but we did it.”

Pierce said emotions were flying about from players, as they celebrated, in many ways because of the way the season ended last year, with a disappointing loss in the national semifinals. A senior-led Penn State had last won a title in 2010 and was finding it difficult recapturing that same spark.

Players were determined to find a way as they went through a demanding offseason regimen, which Pierce said she feels separates this program from others.

“We had that awful feeling after last year’s Final Four,” Pierce remembered. “We started training for this season right after we lost. We train for it all year. I’m blessed to go to a school where training for a championship is what you do.”

There would be no disappointment this time around in the Final Four. Pierce said the team may have played the cleanest match of the season in a three-game sweep of No. 3 Washington.

In the other national semifinal, top-seeded Texas was knocked off by Wisconsin. A fellow Big-10 team, Penn State had beaten Wisconsin in a pair of regular season sweeps. Pierce said that helped the team’s confidence going into the final.She noted the team’s biggest scare came in the Round of 8 against another perennial power in Stanford. Penn State won a five-game match that went the distance. 

Pierce doesn’t play the same sort of role for Penn State that she once did at Eden High School and for Niagara Frontier Club Volleyball. As a senior, she won a third straight state title and was named state tournament Most Valuable Player.

She’s now simply looking to help provide her team with a spark, on the court, with a key serve or dig, and while on the bench, by cheering on and encouraging her teammates.

“You go from being a big fish in a small pond to being just another fish here,” she said. “For now, I’ve found my niche by giving the team energy on and off the bench.”

Just to be in that role is a big accomplishment as Pierce came to Penn State as a walk-on, earning her spot on the team and eventually a scholarship. But Pierce said she’s got plenty more to give.

“I had to fight just to get on the court,” she said. “I’m constantly putting in hours, even on top of the time we put in for our workouts.”

And what she’s already learned over the first few seasons from so many veteran players will be invaluable over her final two seasons. She should get more of an opportunity to play with what will amount to a newer looking team next season.

“As we flew to the Final Four, I sat with a couple of the seniors on the plane to Seattle,” she said. “They all won a championship as freshmen. They talked about how as the past few seasons built up, the pressure got to them. They stressed the importance of just going after it. I’ll always take what they said with me.”

She won’t have long before next season is her main focus. The time at home and away from the court will only be short-lived. 

Pierce said the team will get off the rest of the semester and then the first week back to school — for winning the title, before getting right back at work. Kendall is also excited to help welcome younger sister, Lainy, to the campus and volleyball team next season, as well.

Pierce can’t wait to start back up. She didn’t work this long and this hard and get to this point, just to sit around for too long at home.

Eden’s Pierce part of national title at Penn State
By: The Sun Staff | Sports

Friday December 27, 2013


Kendall Pierce holds up the NCCA national championship trophy.


Eden’s Kendall Pierce helped Penn State win the women’s volleyball NCAA D-I national championship Saturday (Dec. 21) in Seattle. The sophomore defensive and serving specialist played in three of four games as Penn State defeated Wisconsin for the program’s sixth national title.

South finished 12-0 in ECIC II and 24-3 overall. 

Town of Amherst Boys volleyball players honored
Amherst Bee
Thursday December 25, 2013

High school boys volleyball teams in the Town of Amherst were well represented with postseason honors. 


Senior outside hitter Evan Hall — led the Tigers in blocks and kills — was selected to the ECIC III Second Team for the second straight year.

Sweet Home 

Senior middle blocker Taylor Sutherland — led the team with 270 kills, 51 aces and 97 blocks — was selected to the ECIC II First Team.

Senior setter Corey Allen, senior middle blocker James Nix and senior outside hitter Connor Heald were selected to the ECIC II Second Team.

Sweet Home finished 8-4 in ECIC II and 12-7 overall. 

Williamsville East 

Senior outside hitter Mike Wisniewski and senior middle blocker Alex Wehrlin were selected to the ECIC II First Team. Junior libero Dylan Cicero — the team MVP — was named to the ECIC II Second Team. East finished 9-3 in ECIC II and 13-5 overall. 

Williamsville South 

Senior outside hitter Anthony Podgorsak was selected to the All-Western New York First Team.

A four-year starter and two-time team MVP, Podgorsak led the Billies to the Section VI Class B final, setting the single-season record in kills (345) while recording 80 blocks and 67 aces.

Junior middle blocker Christian Graziano — led the team in blocks (173) and recorded 230 kills — was selected to the All-WNY Second Team.

Sophomore setter Joe Zanelotti was chosen to the ECIC II First Team for the second year in a row.

Zanelotti was MVP at the Maryvale Tournament and led the team in aces (70) and set the single-season school record in assists (1,257).

Junior right-side hitter Ryan Nigro and senior outside hitter Steve Zaprowski were named to the ECIC II First Team. Zaprowski was also on the team last year.

Senior libero Kenny Stuber was an ECIC II Second Team selection.

South finished 12-0 in ECIC II and 24-3 overall. 

Beach Camps Attract Top Talent
By BJ Evans

Friday December 20, 2013

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 20, 2013) – Approximately 134 young beach volleyball players will be attending USA Volleyball Beach High Performance (HP) Holiday Camps in California and Florida over the next two weeks.

Forty-one up-and-coming boys’ players are at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., today through Sunday for the Boys’ HP National Camp.

Fifty-six of the top girls’ players will be in Chula Vista on Dec. 27-30 for their National Camp.

“This year’s holiday camps promise to be the strongest ever, from both a coach and an athlete perspective,” said Ali Wood Lamberson, who will serve as head coach for the Girls’ National Camp. “This is a group of athletes who will certainly leave their mark on NCAA sand and the international game, just as those who attended this camp in the past have gone on to do.”

Among the other coaches who will work with the athletes at the Girls’ National Camp is 2012 Olympic silver medalist April Ross, current USAV Beach National Team member Lauren Fendrick, Florida State Sand Volleyball Coach Danalee Corso and Beach National Team coaches Jose Loiola and Jon Aharoni.

The Beach HP Holiday National Camps are the highest caliber holiday camps in the USAV Beach Pipeline, catering to highly competitive beach players with previous national or international experience. On the girls’ side, many of these athletes have received sand and/or indoor scholarship offers.

Just below the National Camps, the Holiday Elite Camp is a high-level skills and competition camp serving the needs of those athletes who have demonstrated the ability to compete at a high level nationally or regionally. These athletes possess a high level of skill and/or physicality.

This year’s Holiday Elite Camp is being held Dec. 27-30 in Clearwater Beach, Fla., and will include 46 athletes.

Beach Boys' High Performance Holiday National Camp Dec 20-23 OTC

First Last City State 

Future Select (U15)
Thunder Bird Redondo Beach CA 
Kyle Marcolla-Gattasse Ashburn VA 
Archer Defterios Hermosa Beach CA 
Ethan Shinn Wellington FL 
Luke Grafton Hermosa Beach CA 
Christian Phung Stone Ridge VA 

Select (U17) 
David Barrett El Cajon CA 
Jackson Bacil El Segundo CA 
Luke Salm Trinity FL 
Charlie Siragusa Webster NY 
Tristan Vassberg Austin TX 
Richard Tierney Flower Mound TX 
Logan Glave Hermosa Beach CA 
Adam Gordon San Diego CA 
Jon Minsberg San Juan Capistrano CA 
Sebastian Roca Tierra Verde FL 
Alec Doran Ankeny IA 
Zach Thomsen San Diego CA 
Jakob Parks Tampa FL 
Lucas Rodrigues Ashburn VA 
Nicholas Rodrigues Ashburn VA 
Rob Mullahey Manhattan Beach CA 
Blaze Bird Redondo Beach CA 

Youth (U19) 
Noah Dyer San Clemente CA 
Connor Keowen San Ramon CA 
Adam Dake Victor NY 
Taylor Ho Foster City CA 
Jacob Brantley Ashburn VA 
Kyle Skinner Santa Barbara CA 
Cameron Rodrigues Arlington VA 
Grayson Gillis San Jose CA 
Brecon Richards Walnut Creek CA 
TJ DeFalco Menifee CA 
Donovan Mitchell Clovis CA 
Turner Longyear Manhattan Beach CA 
Blake Nelson Eugene OR 
Chris McDonough Concord CA 
Jackson McDonough Concord CA 
Benjamin Vaught Huntington Beach CA 
Blake Markland Manhattan Beach CA 
Louis Richard Los Angeles CA 
Tyler Cobian Ventura CA 
Cole Paullin Manhattan Beach CA 

Patricia Daugherty - Camp Director
Jose Loiola - USA Beach National Team & Camp Head Coach
Eduardo Bacil - USA Beach National Team Coach
Shannon Sneed - USA Beach National Team Coach
Alex Jones - Beach National Team Member & Beach HP Coach
Paula Roca - Volunteer Beach HP Coach

AVCA Division I-II Men's Preseason Poll: December 11, 2013


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points 2013 Record 2013 Final Rank   
1 UC Irvine (9)  246 25-7 1
2 UCLA (3)  238 21-11 4
BYU (4)  235 26-5 2
Long Beach State (1) 218 24-8 3
Stanford (1) 202 15-13 6
Pepperdine 175 14-12 5
Loyola-Chicago 126 22-11 9
8 UC Santa Barbara  116 15-16 7
Penn State 107 23-8 12
10  Lewis 99 20-10 10
11 USC 87 6-18 NR
12  Ohio State 78 19-8 15
13  Hawaii 72 11-17 13
14 Cal State Northridge  48 11-15 14
15  California Baptist 32 16-14 8

Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Pacific 24; Ball State 17; Harvard 14; Princeton 11; UC San Diego 5. Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of 10 combined points. Next Poll: January 6, 2014

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

USA Volleyball - Boys High Performance Tryouts
Collin Powers - USA Volleyball
Monday December 9, 2013

Dear Volleyball Athlete (2013 High Performance participant) – 

I am sending out this email to all boys and mens volleyball athletes who participated in USA High Performance tryouts this past year. I want to thank you for striving to be the best player you can be … and hope that you have been working hard since tryouts last year and since summer camps and teams. 

Here is a copy of our current USA Volleyball Boys’/Men’s 2014 High Performance Tryout Schedule. For the very first tryout (Anaheim) please note that we will no longer be at the American Sports Center, but rather at the Anaheim Convention Center. 

Boys’/Men’s 2014 High Performance Tryout Schedule (as of Dec. 9th – awaiting a few final confirmations):

USA Volleyball - 2014 Boys High Performance Tryout Schedule

All-WNY boys volleyball team - Sports - The Buffalo News
Buffalo News

Wednesday December 4, 2013

Members of the All-WNY boys volleyball team are (from left): Trevor Gooch, Canisius;
Jason Donorovich, Lockport; Brian Costello, Canisius; Anthony Podgorsak, Williamsville
South; Evan Koehler, West Seneca West; Zach Yerington, Hamburg; Dylan Durni,
Frontier; Patrick Stroh, Hamburg; and 2013 Coach of the Year Brett Widman,
West Seneca West. John Hickey/Buffalo News


Pos. Player School Yr. Fast fact

S Brian Costello Canisius 12 Repeat pick, Msgr. Martin Player of Year, team MVP, had 957 assists, made 3 all-tournament teams.

OH Dylan Durni Frontier 12 Up from second team, Falcons MVP, made 2 all-tournament teams, 92.8 GPA, kills leader.

M Jason Donorovich Lockport 11 Averaged 11 kills and led team in blocks, led Lions to Class A and NFL titles, 92 GPA.

OH Trevor Gooch Canisius 11 Has 32 kills in playoff final vs. St. Joe’s, had 518 kills, .378 hitting percentage, two-time All-Catholic.

MH Zachary Yerington Hamburg 11 MVP of OP tourney and all-tourney three other times, more than 600 kills, 95 GPA.

OH Evan Koehler W.S. West 12 His 310 kills rank him second in school history behind Olympian Matt Anderson, 92 GPA.

OH Patrick Stroh Hamburg 12 MVP of Sweet Home tourney and all-tourney three other times, led team in kills, 92 GPA.

OH Anthony Podgorsak Wmsv. South 12 Up from second team, 4-year starter, two-time team MVP, led Billies to Sectional finals.


All WNY 2013 First Team

Year Player School Position
12 Brian Costello Canisius S
12 Dylan Durni Frontier OH
11 Jason Donorovich Lockport MB
11 Trevor Gooch Canisius OH
11 Zach Yerington Hamburg MB
12 Evan Koehler West Seneca West OH
12 Patrick Stroh Hamburg OH
12 Anthony Podgorsak Williamsville South OH
All WNY 2013 Second Team
Year Player School Position
10 Declan Pierce Eden OH
12 Neil Conway St. Joe's OH
12 Greggory Hart West Seneca West MB
12 Tyler English St. Mary's MB
12 Erik Hatten Frontier OH
11 Jake Gleason Frontier S
12 Trevor Vail Hamburg OH
11 Christian Graziano Williamsville South MB
Coach of the year: Brett Widman, West Seneca West


ECIC I First Team   Niagara Frontier First Team
Year Player School Year Player School
10 Ryan Dils Hamburg 12 Brock Tetreault Grand Island
11 Doug Horbachewski Hamburg 11 Jason Donorovich Lockport
11 Ryan Kilijansski West Seneca W 11 Brad Schneider Lockport
10 Jay Bauman Lancaster 12 Eamon Yates Lockport
12 Mike Spengler Lancaster 12 Sam Mattheus NIA.-WHEAT
12 Dale Payne Clarence 12 Joe Piotrowski N. Tonawanda
12 Brandon Hill Clarence 11 Donovan Book N. Tonawanda
11 Martin Hackford Orchard Park  
ECIC I Second Team Niagara Frontier Second Team
Year Player School Year Player School
12 Ted Okon Clarence 10 Kyle Burns Grand Island
11 Matt Devic Lancaster 12 Tom Vancuran Kenmore East
10 Kenny Rudz Lancaster 12 Jack Whalen Lockport
12 Bryan Camp Hamburg 12 Bryce Perry Lockport
12 Tom Stoklosa Frontier 12 Joe Kelly NIA.-WHEAT
12 Pat Quinlivan Frontier 12 Ryan Fritz N. Tonawanda
12 Nolan McArdle Orchard Park 12 Victor Willison N. Tonawanda
12 Nick Clancy West Seneca W  
ECIC II First Team Niagara Frontier Honorable Mention
Year Player School Year Player School
10 Joe Zanelotti Will South 12 Mike Podgorny Grand Island
11 Ryan Nigro Will South 12 Niko Mancuso Kenmore West
12 Steve Zaprowski Will South 12 Shawn Moore Lockport
12 Mike Wisniewski Will East 12 Jonah Ribbick Lockport
12 Taylor Sutherland Sweet Home 9 Charles Lamar Niagara Falls
12 Brett Kane Starpoint 12 Austin Hayes NIA.-WHEAT
9 Devin Joslyn Lakeshore 12 Sam Weglarski N. Tonawanda
12 Alex Werlin Will East  
ECIC II Second Team

All-Catholic First Team

Year Player School Year Player School
12 Brad Owens Lakeshore 12 Kwesi Adjei Canisius
10 Kyle Wishman Lakeshore 12 Neil Conway St. Joe's
12 Corey Allen Sweet Home 12 Tyler English St. Mary's
12 James Nix Sweet Home 12 Patrick Galvin St. Joe's
12 Connor Heald Sweet Home 12 Peter Laux St. Joe's
11 Dylan Cicero Will East 12 John Moretti St. Mary's
12 Kenny Stuber Will South 12 Matt Wrobel St. Francis
11 Travis Krupinski Starpoint  
ECIC III First Team All-Catholic Second Team
Year Player School Year Player School
11 Hadyn Herc Eden 12 Brendan Blake Canisius
11 Cole Overhoff Eden 9 Griffin Schmit Canisius
11 Jake Schlegel Eden 12 Tom Sullivan Canisius
12 Tyler Nosal Maryvale 12 Tom Duszkiewicz St. Francis
12 Chris Karnyski Depew 12 Brad Kreppel St. Joe's
12 Jordan Teed Maryvale 12 Marc Gonzalez St. Mary's
12 Ryan Robida Maryvale 10 Alex Hokaj St. Mary's
12 Noah McGhee Cheektowaga  
ECIC III Second Team All-Catholic Player of the Year
Year Player School 12 Brian Costello Canisius
12 Evan Hall Amherst  
11 Adam Reichert Cheektowaga
12 Chad Outten Cheektowaga
10 Connor Basinski Eden
11 Shane Smith Eden
11 Eric Wagner Depew
12 Matt Federowicz Depew
12 Derek Kaczorowski Maryvale


Team propelled Lockport in boys volleyball
By Mary Jo Monnin | News Sports Reporter 
Wednesday December 4, 2013

Never having won a Section VI title in its history, Lockport took on some cliches as well as a ton of competition.

Coach Joe Whalen said his Lions were not a surprise team, they didn’t back into winning, and they didn’t sneak up on anyone. Lockport enjoyed success because it was a complete team with 16 players who were talented enough that they could spread the ball around.

Junior Jason Donorovich, a 6-foot-8 middle, may have been identified as the team’s lone All-Western New York pick, but Whalen said that has been graciously accepted as “a team honor.” The All-WNY team is in its 31st year.

“We didn’t have a mystic, we accomplished what no other team in Lockport has done because we had a very solid volleyball squad in all aspects of the game,” Whalen said. “You can win with one or two stars, but you can also win with six-seven players who are good teammates. That must have been what we were.”

Lockport finished with a school-record 24 wins against four losses, eventually beating Frontier in the Section VI Class A final. They lost early to Clarence, West Seneca West and St. Joe’s and then put a 16-match winning streak together before their season came to an end in the Far West Regionals.

Donorovich was the type of player who made coaches rethink their approach. Focus on him too much in the middle and Lockport could move the ball to its strong outside hitters.

Lockport finished 12-0 in the Niagara Frontier League, winning 11 of the matches in three games. The postseason wins also came in three games.

“We’re very proud of that,” Whalen said. “We were not a one-man team, we had a very solid squad with 11 seniors and we used them all as well as we could.”

Hamburg won the Class B title and finished as the No. 1-ranked team in Western New York in the final coaches poll. The Bulldogs and Canisius had two picks each. Dylan Durni of Frontier and Tony Podgorsak of Williamsville South are up from last year’s second team.

Canisius won its 14th playoff and regular-season title in the Monsignor Martin Association. They won the Midlakes Tournament in Rochester and placed second at Penfield and Hamburg. At Penfield they beat the eventual state Division I champion, Fairport, in the semifinals.

Coach Tom Weislo said his team had another terrific season while playing a tough schedule. He cited wins over Fairport, and a close loss in three games to eventual Division II state champion Victor. 

Senior setter Brian Costello was the only repeat pick on the eight-man All-WNY team chosen by area coaches. He was named to three all-tournament teams. “He was able to isolate our hitters against opposing blockers,” Weislo said. “He’s a deceptive setter, hard for opponents to read, we were able to get a lot of one-on-ones.”

Junior outside hitter Trevor Gooch led Canisius in kills and hit .350 for the year. In the MMA championship match against rival St. Joe’s, he had 32 kills.

“He had a tendency to play really well in big games,” Weislo said.

Canisius’ 22-5 record included nonleague wins over Clarence, Frontier, Eden and West Seneca West. Around the nets

Winning league or playoff titles were: Section VI Class A: Lockport (24-4); Section VI Class B: Hamburg (26-3); ECIC I: West Seneca West/Hamburg (11-1); ECIC II: Williamsville South (12-0); ECIC III: Eden (12-0); Niagara Frontier League: Lockport (12-0); Monsignor Martin: Canisius (7-1).

Brett Widman of West Seneca West, who has been building the program for the past eight seasons, was named the WNY Coach of the Year by his peers. The Indians finished co-champs of ECIC I and were 14-3 overall.

Senior outside hitter Evan Koehler represents West on All-WNY. He led the team’s attack from the back row and was that go-to player when they needed points at the end of games. The 6.0 kills he averaged per set included a 21-kill night against Lancaster in a five-game thriller.

Of the 11 local weekend tournaments, Lockport and Hamburg won three each, and Will South won two.


Pierce sees Penn St. as top option for college, volleyball
By: Michael J. Petro | Sports
Thursday November 28, 2013


PENN STATE-BOUND — Eden senior setter Lainy Pierce, pictured left, signs her letter of intent
while seated next to parents, Kiernan and Robert Pierce. Standing are, from left: Scott Minton,
Eden guidance counselor; Stephen Pierce, Eden girls volleyball coach; brother Declan Pierce;
Marisa Fallacaro, Eden athletic director; and Jeff Cervoni, Eden High School principal.
Photos by Jeffrey Barnes/Michael Petro.


Lainy Pierce said that she wanted to keep her options open in the process of selecting a college, but when it came right down to it, Penn State had too tight of a grip on the Eden High School senior – for good reason.

Not only is Penn State one of the more prestigious universities in the nation, but it is also the place her father, Robert, played men’s volleyball; her mother, Kiernan, competed in track and field and her sister, Kendall, is currently a sophomore on the women’s volleyball team.

The women’s volleyball team also continues to be a contender for the NCAA national championship, having won titles four straight years (2007 – 2010) and returned back to the Final Four last season.

Lainy, who had verbally committed to Penn State last year, made her decision official on Nov. 15, as she signed her letter of intent at Eden High School, before jumping on the bus with her Raiders teammates, to play in the state tournament in Glens Falls during the weekend.

“My parents and family were good about helping me keep my options open and not wanting me to feel too much pressure, but ultimately when I would discuss pros and cons of my top schools, it always came back to Penn State. Everything got compared to Penn State,” Lainy said. “Maybe it was because it was the first school I started looking at and I started looking at it from such a young age, and that might be from my parent’s influence. But whenever I thought of college, I’ve always thought of Penn State. It was hard for me to get out of that, but I’m glad I didn’t.”

It wasn’t just family ties that made the decision. If she wanted to play at the highest level and challenge herself academically, the athlete said she figured: What better place?

“Kendall and Lainy both understand that hard work does pay off and have had their eyes on the prize for a while now,” her father, Robert Pierce, said. “Yes, they’ve been smart enough to look at other options. We’ve taken them on visits, to say, ‘Look at this, look at this,’ but I think when they look at the whole big picture – family, volleyball and academics – having the opportunity to go to a university like this and play for national championship contender every year, it was a home run.”

Pierce, also the coach of Eden’s boys volleyball team, has already watched as Kendall Pierce earned her scholarship as a Penn State walk-on, and now he gets to see as his other daughter continue a family legacy at the university. Lainy Pierce was given some scholarship money, with the chance to win further scholarship awards.

“I never thought it would come to complete fruition, for both of them; I hoped it would ... it’s a dream,” Robert Pierce said. “We couldn’t be happier with Lainy’s choice. Penn State is rated a top 50 university in the world, and the resources afforded a student-athlete there are incredible, far more than when my wife and I went there. There placement and connection with alumni, academically, is top notch, facilities are top of the line ... and, to me, it’s one of the best coaching staffs around.” 

The decision brings a reunion between Lainy and Kendall Pierce as teammates. While at Eden, the two helped the Raiders to three straight state titles, a mark that was extended to five during the weekend, where Lainy Pierce won her second straight Most Valuable Player Award at states. Kendall Pierce had won it as a senior in 2011.

“My sister was super thrilled when she heard I committed to Penn State,” Lainy Pierce said. “She was bouncing off the walls. She wants to play with me again and I want to play with her again, because we had so much fun, but also it will be nice to be able to support each other at school.”

Originally looked at as a future libero at Penn State, playing as a setter at a state championship level the past two seasons has made Pierce more marketable and may get her on to the floor to compete and help right away at the next level, according to her father.

The athlete said she was a little reluctant to the idea of switching to setter at first, but she got used to the role and was willing to take it on, to help her team. She wound up embracing quarterbacking the team and helping others score, after being one of the main scorers herself on past teams she’s played on.

“Stephen [Pierce, her uncle and head coach at Eden] talked me into it and said, ‘This is something you have to do for the team,’” Lainy Pierce recalled. “I realized my role was something completely different from sophomore to junior year. I used to have my setter there and my sister as the libero and all they needed me to do was pass, serve and hit the ball, but I realized that I had to step up and truly be a leader. So if it was something I had to do for my team, than I would do it.”

Robert Pierce pointed out that Lainey had an advantage being the younger daughter and able to develop her athletic IQ by watching her older sister and playing up levels with older kids. He noted that this allowed her to mature quicker and be a major contributor for five years with Eden.

“Lainy’s been with me for five years and I’ve been able to see all of the growth,” Stephen Pierce said. “I’m proud of the young woman she’s become and the way she’s learned to put an imprint on the team. She’s one of the best pure athletes from this school. She should be the kind of athlete that responds well to the demands of the next level.”

Robert Pierce said that he is happy he and his wife now can make the four – five-hour trip to see two Pierces playing for Penn State at once. “We’re excited; we can go down there and watch both girls play,” he said. “They’re trading in the maroon and white for the blue and white, but they’ll always be Raiders. We couldn’t be happier for them. They worked so hard for this.”

West names October’s top athletes
West Seneca Bee
Thursday November 28, 2013

Hart, a senior on the boys volleyball team, was the team leader in kills for two matches this season, setting a career high of 24 kills against Orchard Park and also collecting 18 against Frontier in the sectional semifinals.

Hart “elevated his game at the net during October, becoming a potent offensive threat,” according to coach Brett Widman. Widman noted how Hart “was very consistent over the course of two weeks before spraining his ankle at Clarence on October 16.” Upon his return for the Indians’ annual rivalry match with East, Hart “took over the game offensively,” according to Widman.

Hart’s “desire and intensity on the offensive side of the net” helped keep the games close in West’s playoff finale against Frontier, Widman said, as Hart “continued to play at a very high level and never lost the desire to win.”

“Gregg is a committed athlete who puts in 110 percent to make his team as successful as possible,” Widman said. “When our passing was in sync, Gregg was an automatic kill, often hitting over the top of opposing blockers. 

He has always been receptive to constructive criticism and has improved vastly in his two years on the varsity squad. We are going to miss Gregg next year in the middle position; he has left very large shoes to fill.”

Awards banquet closes out Clarence volleyball season
Clarence Bee
Wednesday November 27, 2013

Clarence’s boys volleyball team officially put the finishing touches on its 2013 season recently when it held its annual awards banquet on Nov. 17.

The Red Devils, whose 15-11 overall record allowed them to finish third in the ECIC I standings and seventh in the final Western New York Coaches’ poll after reaching the Section VI Class A semifinals, set a new team record for digs in a season by collecting 1,268 of them to surpass the old record of 1,188 digs, which was set in 2010.

The team also became the first squad in the 27-year history of the Clarence Invitational to win the tournament.

Senior middle hitter Ted Okon had 94 blocks and a .612 hitting percentage, both of which were the second-highest single-season efforts in team history. Okon was also a Second Team ECIC I All-star because of his efforts. Senior Brandon Hill, the team leader in kills, and senior Dale Payne, the team leader in serve attempts, points serving and spike attempts, was both First Team ECIC I All-stars.

Senior Jake Baran, the team’s leader in digs and serve percentage, and senior Skyler Reinhardt, the team’s leader in assists, were both Honorable Mention ECIC I All-stars.

Team awards went to Hill (White Letter), Payne and Okon (co-Red Devil Players of the Year), senior Derek Burghardt (Michael T. Schlabach Memorial Award for leadership, dedication, and sportsmanship), and junior Matt Dempsey (Will-to-Win Award).

At the recently-held annual WNY Volleyball Coaches and Officials banquet and Hall of Fame induction at Ilio DiPaolo’s, JV coach David Grabowski was presented with the JV Coach of the Year Award for the fifth time in his 22 years as Clarence’s boys JV coach, and varsity coach Kevin Starr was presented with the Joe Gillespie Friend of Volleyball Award (named after the former Eden coach and fellow Hall of Fame member) for the fourth time since the award was established in 1998.

Grabowski’s JV team posted a 12-0 record in Division I (17-3 overall) to win its fourth consecutive league title.

Lockport volleyball squad revels in undefeated season
By Jonah Bronstein | Niagara Correspondent
Saturday November 23, 2013

As the Lions came together and made their championship run, they
became “the darlings of Lockport,” according to their coach.


The inventor of volleyball, William G. Morgan, spent much of his life in Lockport, yet the sport took awhile to take hold in his hometown.

Lockport High School didn’t establish a boys volleyball team until 1992, nearly a century after Morgan created what he called “Mintonette” at a YMCA in Holyoke, Mass., and 50 years after he was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.

And it took another two decades before Lockport put itself on the Western New York volleyball map.

Paper Lions no longer, Lockport now boasts a trophy case that shows a recent spike in interest in the sport. 

The Lockport Lions won their first Niagara Frontier League championship under coach Chris Niver in 2009 and a second one two years later. 

This fall, Lockport became the first team to go undefeated in NFL play and won its first sectional championship.

And though Lockport will graduate 11 seniors from this year’s team, program founder Joe Whalen, who returned to coach the Lions two years ago, believes there are even better days ahead for Lockport volleyball.

The Lockport varsity boys volleyball team won Section 6, Division A championship. Here, Coach Joe Whalen is pictured with three of his seniors; from left are Shawn Moore, Ryan Guyton and Brad Wroblewski. Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News

The Lions return at least two players who are being recruited to play college volleyball, and the three-year-old Lockport Volleyball Club, run out of North Park Junior High School, is accelerating the development of the area’s youth players.

“There is a lot of momentum coming up from the bottom,” Whalen said. “These kids already know how to play. They are fearless. They are hitting the ball on a net a foot higher than it should be.”

And after this year’s championship run, young players in Lockport no longer fear the traditional volleyball powers in the Southern Tier.

Lockport’s three-game sweep of Frontier in the Section VI Class A championship wasn’t just a victory for its own program, but for volleyball in the northern portion of the section.

It marked the first sectional championship for an NFL team since Kenmore West in 2000, and the first time a Niagara County school had won the Class A title. 

The program has come a long way since the 1990s, when Whalen recalls taking the Lions to Lancaster and realizing they didn’t even belong on the same court with the eventual state champions.

This year’s squad, having played against the area’s top players in club tournaments, was never intimidated by the Southtowns opponents senior captain Jack Whalen called “the best of the best.”

“If anything, the feeling was opposite,” he said. “Teams would come in and look at us and be like, wow.”

The Lions made their presence known at the season-opening Clarence Tournament with wins over Lancaster, Orchard Park and West Seneca West.

Even as Lockport swept through its NFL slate and entered sectionals having lost just eight games total in 21 matches, Joe Whalen played up the perceived superiority of the Southtowns in the Lions’ locker room.

“Let’s go out and show people that there is good volleyball north of Sweet Home,” was the coach’s battle cry.

“After we beat Grand Island, their coach said to us, ‘Go represent the NFL and show the Southtowns what the NFL is about,” senior captain Bryce Perry said.

Joe Whalen already believed he had a team capable of winning the section when Niver asked him to take over the program in 2012. 

The year before, after Jack Whalen, Bryce Perry and Eamon Yates played on the varsity team as freshmen, Joe Whalen told his son, “Get your friends and tell them to go along for this ride.”

Around the same time, volleyball official Tom Schneider, a Rochester transplant, started the Lockport Volleyball Club with an under-12 team.

Established club programs in Eden and Orchard Park are a big reason the schools in the Southern Tier have been so dominant in sectional play, Joe Whalen said.

In the early days, Lockport players had to drive 40 minutes each way to participate in club volleyball. In recent years, they would play for the Panthers Club at Sweet Home Middle School.

This winter, Whalen will coach an 18-under team for the Lockport Volleyball Club, which has also added a 14-under team.

“It helps a lot playing club because there isn’t much time off,” Jack Whalen said. “We get to the high school season, and we’re still ready, and we have more experience from club.”

Club play also familiarizes players with the talent in other towns and practice drills high school coaches will use during the season, Joe Whalen said.

Lockport will be favored to repeat in the NFL next year, with 6-foot-8 Jason Donorovich, a Division I prospect, and 6-3 Brad Schneider swinging on the outside. 

The rising talent has Joe Whalen confident the Lions will remain sectional title contenders and perhaps make a state playoff run in the coming years.

“Whoever takes over for me when I leave is going to inherit a very experienced group of young men,” Joe Whalen said.

But this year’s team set a championship standard for its successors. 

“We had a complete, solid squad,” Joe Whalen said. “If you’ve got six kids on the floor who are B-plus players, it’s better than having two great players. We never had to worry about chasing someone else on the floor who wasn’t playing well.”

As the Lions came together and made their championship run, they became “the darlings of Lockport,” Joe Whalen said, in a city that is normally preoccupied with football and soccer in the fall. “For Lockport,” Jack Whalen said after the sectional victory, “it was nothing we’ve ever done, and it was everything we’ve ever wanted.”

Open Mike: Eden volleyball stands out among all programs
By: Michael J. Petro | Sports
Friday November 22, 2013


CHAMPIONS — The Eden girls volleyball team celebrates the program’s 11th state
title, after sweeping its way through the state tournament over the weekend.


There is a separation that Eden has established from other girls volleyball teams and most athletic programs, in general, around the state.

The Raiders are accomplishing feats over and over again that most programs would be good with doing just once. It seems we’ve gotten so used to Eden winning state titles, it becomes commonplace to take these accomplishments for granted.

Eden coasted through the state’s final four – without losing a set – during the weekend, to win a fifth straight state title and seven in nine seasons. It’s the program’s 11th overall; eighth, as a Class C team.

There is such precision, attention to detail and an air of confidence that goes into every run and, when it ends with a state title, it almost seems to have become more expected than appreciated.

In actuality, this may be the most impressive run for a program since the era of state championship tournaments began in New York in the early 1990s. This is as close to perfection you’ll see at the high school sports level and it is all happening right here, in the small hidden-gem of a town called Eden.

“We consider ourselves a small school playing at a AA-size level,” said head coach Stephen Pierce.

Pierce is the driving force behind most of his players’ competing at the highest of levels, also encouraging them to play in club, many with Niagara Frontier Volleyball, which is also second to none in building and enhancing talent. Pierce also coaches and is on the board of directors with the NFVC.

There is year-round playing talent every season at Eden, which makes the program head and shoulders above similar-sized programs in the growing sport, but to have this much success at such a high level goes beyond solely talent. Pierce pinpointed two factors in Eden’s success: expectations and culture.

This team is held to a different standard, that which is required to win championship after championship.

There’s a certain level of play expected, which leaves some in awe and others uncomfortable, at times. To see a coach finding fault with a team that’s thoroughly dominating a match can elicit some uneasiness, but Pierce demands the best from his players at all times, regardless of the opponent’s strength.

“Even in a 20 – 5 set, the girls understand [that], if we don’t play to a certain standard, there’s an issue,” Pierce said. “If the girls play a point casually, it’s not about, ‘Oh well, we still won.’ It’s about playing to an acceptable standard.”

And then there’s the ownership that every player on the team seems to willingly take on. Pierce said that each new generation of team leaders are interested in leaving a path for others to follow, just like teammates before them did. 

It provides each player with a sense of responsibility, especially when younger eyes are watching. Pierce also said that the maturity of older players each season is very helpful to the coaching staff.

“I don’t have a lot of rules; I don’t have to because the juniors and seniors do that for me,” Pierce said. “That’s what we’re all about here.”

Of course, a team of this standard has been able to accomplish quite a bit individually, as well. Starting with 2009 graduate Heather Henry, who played for North Carolina, Eden has had a remarkable number of players go off to play for Division I programs, some at major schools. By my count, it’s now seven, if you include recent Penn State signee Lainy Pierce.

That also includes Stacey Smith (2010), a senior at Georgia; Hannah Herc (2010), a senior at Kent State, Hailee Herc (2010), a senior at Stony Brook, Heather Feldman (2011), a junior at Gardner-Webb and Kendall Pierce (2012), a sophomore at Penn State, who will soon be reunited with her sister.

No surprise: The Pierce girls are the nieces of Stephen Pierce and daughters of Robert Pierce, a former Penn State men’s volleyball player himself, who demands much of the same level of play from his boys volleyball program at Eden. In a way, the Eden volleyball program seems to be an extension of the Pierce family’s standards and values.

It takes discipline and dedication to maintain these expectations and a culture, which are the framework of all of the successes Eden has experienced. It may not be a fit for every student-athlete, but for the right person, the lessons learned while playing in this program can also help create some separation from others, in how that person carries one’s self in life.

Lockport earns plenty of all-NFL recognition
Staff Reports Lockport Union-Sun & Journal 
Wednesday November 20, 2013


Dozens of Lockport High School athletes have earned postseason accolades from the Niagara Frontier League.

Just a week after going further than any other volleyball team in LHS history, head coach Joe Whalen’s NFL and Section VI-champion Lions got the good news that seven players were named league all-stars.

Senior libero Eamon Yates and junior hitters Brad Schneider and Jason Donorovich were named to the NFL’s First Team for boys volleyball. Seniors Jack Whalen and Bryce Perry were named to the Second Team and seniors Shawn Moore and Jonah Ribbeck earned Third Team selections.

Rounding out the NFL’s First Team were Grand Island senior Brock Tetreault, Niagara-Wheatfield senior Sam Mattheus, North Tonawanda senior Joe Piotrowski and NT junior Donovan Book.

East boys volleyball finishes 13-5
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter
Wednesday November 20, 2013

Williamsville East boys volleyball coach Michael Braunscheidel stresses a winning attitude and accountability for his players both on and off the court, and it resulted in the Flames finishing second in ECIC II with a 9-3 record and a 13-5 overall mark.

Braunscheidel said a turning point for the team came against St. Mary’s of Lancaster in the North Tonawanda Tournament. The Flames rallied from a 23-17 deficit in the second set to win 25-23. East lost the third set, 15-13.

Braunscheidel said his team had a tough two-week stretch to end the regular season, defeating Lake Shore for the first time in school history, sweeping Sweet Home twice in a week and losing to Williamsville South in four games.

East hosted a Section VI Class B prequarterfinal against Maryvale, winning in four sets, and played well in a three-set loss to Williamsville South in the quarterfinals.

“I’m overall pleased with the direction of the program,” Braunscheidel said. “I feel like the culture of East volleyball is continuing to evolve and other schools are taking notice. I look forward to the kids continuing their development by playing club volleyball in the offseason.”

Junior libero Dylan Cicero was named Team MVP.

“Without his knowledge of the offense and defense and his back row play and passing, we wouldn’t be able to run our offense as well as we would have,” Braunscheidel said.

Junior middle hitter Cort Williams was named the team’s most improved player.

“Cort was eager to play the first day of tryouts,” Brauscheidel said. “He was all over the court. He improved every practice and games. At times, he was our go-to player in the front row and he delivered.”

Junior setter Patrick Irving won the coaches’ award, a player who exceeded expectations and gave 100 percent in every phase of the game.

“He was enthusiastic and willing to learn which I believe is the hardest position to play in high school boys volleyball,” Braunscheidel said.

Senior outside hitter Michael Wisniewski and senior Alex Wehrlin both won the Flames award, given to a graduating senior who left their mark on the East volleyball program.

The JV team, coached by Jocelyn Canaday, went 12-0.

Eden wins fifth straight state volleyball title
By Laura Owens Special to the News
Sunday November 17, 2013


Eden’s Lainy Pierce was named Tournament MVP for Class C. Buffalo News file photo


GLENS FALLS — Lainy Pierce isn’t a crier. But after winning a fifth consecutive title at the New York State Girls Volleyball Tournament, the Eden senior felt the tears coming on.

“I don’t think it hit me until we got our awards and started taking pictures,” she said. “It’s unbelievable, and it means so much to be a part of this program.”

In Sunday’s 25-7, 25-18, 25-15 win over Millbrook in the Class C final at the Glens Falls Civic Center, coach Stephen Pierce said he saw flawless play in the first set.

“Right off the bat, service aces, we were picking up every ball, stuff blocking,” he said, “and I knew we’re still young, we can’t maintain that level” for three sets, “and I think a little anxiety to finish it and get us in the second game. And Millbrook, they had nothing to lose, they went for it. Overall, I thought our play was excellent.”

Lainy Pierce is familiar with Glens Falls, as she and teammate Heather Holscher have won the last five state titles there. She recalled her contributions each year, starting with when she was an eighth-grader, and was glad she had something to take away from each one.

Her freshman and sophomore years were when she started having a bigger role, and then junior year threw her for a loop when she had to switch positions to setter.

“The start of my junior year I had to learn a whole other role of setting, and I had to continue that this year,” she said. “Although setting might not be what I’m going to college for, it was something I had to learn how to do for the better of my team.”

Pierce, named Tournament MVP for Class C for the second year in a row, finished with five aces and three blocks. Next year, she’ll be playing at Penn State and was glad to end her high school career on a good note.

“With my dad as a coach and my uncle as a coach, it’s not like you’re getting handed out, ‘You did so well,’ so it’s nice to feel like other people see it,” she said. “But they know I work hard.”

Also from Eden, Holscher had 19 kills, while Meghan Ballou finished with nine kills and five aces.

Eden was making its 14th straight appearance at the state tournament. The Raiders finished 6-0 in pool play on Saturday.

Coming into the season, Stephen Pierce thought his team had a good chance for another title and said if any team was going to break the streak, it would’ve been last year’s team.

“Simply because our team” last year was very young, he said. “We did lose some good seniors last year, but we had a lot of main players coming back, so I knew we were going to be better. I felt pretty good.”

Other Section VI champions Frontier (Class AA), Sweet Home (Class A) and Starpoint (Class B) were eliminated in the previous round of the state playoffs.

Frontier’s run of upsets ends in boys volleyball final
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Friday November 15, 2013


GETTING A PIECE — Frontier seniors Erik Hatten (center) and Dylan Durni
go up for a block in the Class A sectional final. Photo by David Marino.


As the fifth seed in the sectional tournament, the Frontier boys volleyball team pulled two upsets on the road to reach the Class A final, but couldn’t finish the playoff run.

Frontier head coach Bill Faust said the high level of volleyball in the area was on display even as his team fell in straight sets to Lockport in the final on Nov. 6 at Hamburg. 

“My kids are survivors,” said Faust, whose team battled numerous injuries this season, but lost for a second straight year in the finals. “We made it to the finals, and I think that says a lot about what my team was this season.”

Junior setter Jake Gleason had 30 assists in the loss for the Falcons, and seniors Dylan Durni and Erik Hatten combined for nearly 30 kills.

Second-seeded Lockport won the school’s first sectional championship. The Lions won the first set 25 – 21 and then cruised to 25 – 18 and 25 – 19 wins in games two and three, to complete the sweep. 

The play of 6-foot-8 middle Jason Donorovich was the difference for Lockport, but the supporting cast also did its job and it was a full team effort, their head coach noted. Brad Schneider led the Lions with 13 kills, while Shawn Moore recorded seven kills and seven blocks. 

“We filled a lot of our gaps on the floor,” said Lockport head coach Joe Whalen, whose son Jack helped bring home the title, with his play. “We were solid all around. We passed well and we hit well. It doesn’t hurt to have a 6-foot-8 man.”

Lockport defeated Kenmore West in the first round of the playoffs, and then avenged an earlier season loss to third-seeded Clarence, in the semifinals. The coach said he thought all facets of his team were clicking in its championship win.

“This is a team sport, and this is a year where I have a full team of players,” Joe Whalen said. “We were running our offense fast. We weren’t giving them time to set up triple and double blocks.”

Durni and Hatton will leave behind a young Frontier team, which gained quality experience and will benefit from it in the long run.

“There’s a lot of potential here,” said Durni, after the match.

Whalens guide Lockport boys volleyball’s first sectional title
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Thursday November 14, 2013


Pictured above top, Jack Whalen and Jason Donorovich go up for the block
during Lockport’s title-winning match with Frontier. Photo by David Marino.


Jack Whalen wanted to give something to his father that neither of his older brothers were able to.

With the Lockport boys volleyball team in the sectional finals, Whalen was not going to be denied bringing his head coach, and father, Joe Whalen, the school’s first sectional championship. 

The second-seeded Lions defeated No. 5 Frontier, in straight sets in the Section VI Class A final on Nov. 6.

“This is the best feeling,” Jack Whalen said. “It’s awesome for [Joe Whalen] and now I have a little bragging rights over my family, with both of my brothers playing for him, too, so that’s awesome.”

Ryan and Kevin Whalen, both played for their father at Lockport and neither could bring a sectional championship to their school. Lockport had won league championships before, but never a sectional title.

“Sometimes [Jack] comes home with me,” Whalen said jokingly after the victory. “He often times tells me he’s playing to bring me something, and I’m very proud of him. He’s worked hard; he’s been in clubs; and he’s done his job.”

The Lions won the first set, 25-21, and then cruised to 25-18 and 25-19 wins in games two and three to complete the sweep. 

The play of 6-foot-8 middle Jason Donorovich was the difference for Lockport, but the supporting cast also did their job, their head coach noted.

“We filled a lot of our gaps on the floor,” coach Whalen said. “We were solid all around. We passed well and we hit well. It also doesn’t hurt to have a 6-foot-8 man.”

Lockport defeated Kenmore West in the first round of the playoffs, and then avenged an earlier season loss to third-seeded Clarence in the semifinals. Coach Whalen thought all facets of his team were clicking in its championship win.

“This is a team sport, and this is a year where I have a full team of players,” the coach said. “We were running our offense fast. We weren’t giving them time to set up triple and double blocks. Those were all really important. 

“And we were getting in front of blocks. I just really felt like we were doing our job,” he added.

Brad Schneider led the Lions with 13 kills, while Shawn Moore recorded seven kills and seven blocks. Jonah Ribbeck added five kills and four blocks, as well.


Lockport's boys volleyball team celebrates the program's first sectional title. Photo by David Marino.


The Lions run was ended in the regional final with a loss to Fairport on Nov. 9.

Frontier head coach, Bill Faust said that the match proved the level of volleyball in the area is very high. As the fifth seed, the Falcons upset top-ranked West Seneca West in the semifinals, but couldn’t finish the playoff run.

“My kids are survivors,” said Faust, whose team, which won titles in 2010-11, battled numerous injuries this season to make it back to the final. “We made it to the finals, and I think that says a lot about what my team was this season.”

Frontier had lost to Orchard Park in last year’s final. Junior Jake Gleason had 30 assists in the loss for the Falcons, and seniors Dylan Durni and Erik Hatten combined for nearly 30 kills. Durni and Hatten will leave behind a young team, which gained quality experience and should benefit from it in the long run. 

“There’s a lot of potential here,” said Durni very simply.

Maryvale boys volleyball close year on sour note
Cheektowaga Bee
Thursday November 14, 2013

Maryvale’s boys volleyball team, meanwhile, finished the season 10-2 in divisional action (12-5 overall) to place second in league play for the second straight year despite losing three starters off last season’s roster.

The Flyers won a 3-2 playoff prequarterfinal at home against crosstown rival Cheektowaga in what coach Andrew Murtha called “one of the most exciting wins in Maryvale sports history.” That excitement didn’t last in Maryvale’s quarterfinal-round clash with Grand Island, however, as the Flyers were shut out, 3-0, to drop out of title contention.

“We started out strong against Grand Island, going point for point with them in game one, but they played steady and blocked a lot of balls, and we weren’t at our best,” Murtha said. “Overall, though, it was a terrific season by a unique group of eight seniors who will be missed. They were asked a lot by their coach and teammates but rose to the challenge and had an awesome year.”

South boys volleyball falls in Class B final
Amherst Bee
Wednesday November 13, 2013


Williamsville South’s Anthony Podgorsak hits a roll shot during the Section VI Class B final
Wednesday at Hamburg High School. The Billies lost to Hamburg, 18-25, 25-22, 15-25,
19-25. It was South’s first appearance since 2006. Podgorsak finished with 20 kills.


Williamsville South’s bid to win its first Section VI title in boys volleyball ended in the Class B final Wednesday at Hamburg High school.

The Billies lost to top-ranked Hamburg, 18-25, 25-22, 15-25, 19-25. It was South’s first appearance in a section final since falling to Eden in 2006.

“I think the kids started a little nervous and it caused them to lose the first game,” South coach Thom Knab said. “They played hard in the second game and got it together. But all of a sudden they tightened up again and couldn’t pass as well as we wanted to which would not allow us to run our offense.”

Knab also said Hamburg had some good hitters and his players did not adjust their blocks enough to shut them down.

South also did not play Hamburg during the regular season so Knab had to go by what he had heard about them to come up with a game plan.

South senior Anthony Podgorsak, a four-year starter, recorded 20 kills in his final high school match.

Junior middle hitter Christian Graziano added 10 kills.

Sophomore setter Joe Zanelotti recorded 45 assists.

South finished 24-3 and went 12-0 in ECIC II. Besides Hamburg, the only other team South lost to was Lockport, the Section VI Class A champion.

The Billies finished ranked fourth in Western New York large schools.

Six seniors and four starters graduate, including Podgorsak, Steve Zaprowski (outside hitter), Kenny Stuber (libero) and Austin Baker (middle hitter).

Podgorsak recorded 345 kills, an increase of 54 kills from last year, and 67 aces.

The other two seniors on the team are Will Atkinson at middle hitter and Austin Collins at libero.

The Billies return Graziano (230 kills, 40 aces, 173 blocks, an increase of 100 blocks from last year), Zanelotti (team-high 70 aces) and junior Ryan Nigro (100 kills, 103 blocks).

Young Lake Shore spikers come a long way, but fall to Eden in quarters
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Tuesday November 12, 2013


DOUBLE BLOCK — From left, Hayden Herc and Declan Pierce go up for a
block during Eden’s loss to Will. South. Photo courtesy of David Eckhardt.


The Lake Shore boys volleyball team lost its entire starting roster from a team that won two consecutive Section VI titles, and advanced to the state championship in 2012.

Replacing that elite lineup wasn’t easy, but the 10th-seeded Eagles found themselves with a chance to reach the semifinals of the Class B playoffs, when they matched up with the second-seeded Raiders of Eden on Oct. 31.

That is where the season would end for a young Lake Shore squad that made strides, this season. Meanwhile, the Raiders fell to Williamsville South in the semifinals, two days later.

Eagles head coach John Coyle, in his 19th season, had a challenging task when the season started, as he worked with players that had little to no experience on a varsity team.

“It was a lot of a feeling-out process,” said Coyle. “It was a lot of ‘who’s going to work here, who’s going to work there, what’s going to work with this rotation?’ We switched our rotation around a half-dozen more times than I wanted to, early in the year.”

This year’s team returned just one player, libero Brad Owens, the only senior in the starting lineup. It finished the regular season with an overall record of 9 – 9 and a 7 – 5 mark in Erie County Interscholastic Conference II play.

Lake Shore upset seventh-seeded North Tonawanda in straight sets in the pre-quarterfinals, setting up the matchup with a familiar foe. Coyle said the playoff win will be helpful going forward, with a young and inexperienced team.

The Eagles relied on Devin Joslyn, a freshman and younger brother of former Eagles standout and 2013 graduate Ryan Joslyn, as their floor captain this year. Coyle said that Joslyn’s experience playing club volleyball was important, as well as his versatility. He was a setter this year and contributed in hitting and passing, as well.

Sophomore Kyle Wishman was another setter for the Eagles who was forced to play all over the floor, throughout the season. Owens added experience he gained from advancing to the state championship a year ago.

The Eagles will look to use this year as a building block for future success.

“To finish over .500 in the division is a big accomplishment for these kids and winning a sectional match is a step forward,” Coyle said.

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - Final
Buffalo News
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rank WNY Coaches Poll PTS LW
1. Hamburg (B) [5] 113 1
2. Canisius [5] 106 2
3. Lockport (A) [2] 99 3
4. Williamsville South (B) 83 4
5. Frontier (A) 69 5
6. West Seneca West (A) 55 6
7. Clarence (A) 36 7
8. St. Joe's 29 8
9. Eden (B) 27 10
10. Lancaster (A) 25 9


Historic LHS run concludes
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Sunday November 10, 2013

Lockport boys volleyball Lions bow out in state FWR


Lockport junior outside hitter and Niagara Frontier League First Team all-star Brad Schneider (7) drills home a kill during Saturday’s boys volleyball state Far West Regional against Fairport at Midlakes High School in Clifton Springs, N.Y. The Section V-champion Red Raiders defeated the VI-champion Lions in straight sets, 25-12, 25-20, 27-25, to advance to Friday’s state finals in Glens Falls. Other Lockport players pictured at right are Schneider and seniors Jack Whalen (3), Shawn Murray (11), Bryce Perry (2) and Brad Wroblewski (9). Stephen M. Wallace/Contributor



A first-ever undefeated Niagara Frontier League championship season and the school’s first-ever Section VI volleyball championship are consolations that Lockport High School can live with.

On Saturday, Lockport’s historic boys volleyball season came to an end with a straight-set loss to Fairport in the 2013 New York State large school Far West Regional at Midlakes High School. The scores were 25-12, 25-20, 27-25.

Head coach Joe Whalen’s Lions finished 12-0 in the NFL and were 25-4 overall, earning their first Section VI Class A title last Wednesday at Hamburg High School with a straight-set win over Frontier. It’s the farthest a Lockport volleyball team has ever gone in the postseason.

Section V’s Fairport earned a FWR berth with a win over three-pete-champion McQuaid last Thursday. Head coach John O’Dell’s Red Raiders now advance to compete in the state tourney finals at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday. 

The Lions can look back fondly on their many historic accomplishments.

“I was proud of them before we started, and today, they showed once again that they belonged on that court with the best in New York state,” Whalen said.

“Like I said on Friday, today was gravy on the year. I think everything they envisioned as goals they reached. They rose to the level that they were challenged to get to. They would have loved to win, but they felt they lost to a quality squad. There was still smiles on their faces when we got done. They had a great run and it was an unforgettable experience.”

Middle hitter Jason Donorovich led Lockport with 7 kills and 3 blocks. Fellow junior Brad Schneider added 6 kills for the Lions spikers. Seniors Bryce Perry and Shawn Moore added three and two kills, respectively.

“Their jump serving didn’t turn out to be as much of an issue as I thought it would be,” Whalen said. “In the first game, our front row just didn’t get good positioning. In the second game, I thought we matched up pretty well and we started to impact their game. That game was a lot closer than the score indicates. 

“By the third game we really had the lead, 16-10, and moved ahead by 22-17, then we had a five-point lapse that started with perhaps a bad call — I’m not so sure about that — but we lost some concentration, we missed a few hits and before you know it, they’re back in the game.”

Donorovich, Schneider and LHS senior libero Eamon Yates were recently named NFL First Team all-stars. Following Saturday’s FWR loss, Yates was honored by the NYSPHSAA by being named to the All-State Playoff Team. 

“It was a deserving honor for Eamon. He played great today,” Whalen said.

Lockport, Hamburg Lose In Far West Regionals
Buffalo News
Sunday November 10, 2013

BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Lockport got off to a slow start and lost in straight sets, 25-12, 25-20 and 27-25, to Fairport of Section V in the Class A subregionals.

Meanwhile, Victor-V swept Hamburg, 25-23, 25-22, 25-21, in Class B at Midlakes High in Clifton Springs.

“Our offense wasn’t as potent as usual in the first game. I don’t think it was because we were nervous,” said Lockport coach Joe Whalen. “The boys got into the match in the second game and fought back hard in the third game. If we managed to win that one, I think we could have extended the match to a fifth game.”

Senior defensive ace Eamon Yates had a strong game on the backline for the Lions while Jason Donorovich, a 6-foot-8 junior, had seven kills and 10 blocks. 

“Donorovich forced Fairport to adjust how they were attacking and when that happens it’s a compliment to that player,” Whalen said.

Lockport will take on Fairport today in state FWR
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Saturday November 9, 2013

Whalen's boys volleyball Lions taking on a similar type team in many ways.


A pair of high school boys volleyball programs with interesting similarities will meet this afternoon for a chance to advance to the state tournament pool play and finals next Friday.

The Section VI-champion Lockport Lions will take on the Section V-champion Fairport Red Raiders at 4 p.m. today at Midlakes High School in the state’s Far West Regionals. The winner will compete in the state tourney finals at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Nov. 15.

Head coach John O’Dell’s No. 2 Red Raiders made history on Thursday by defeating top-seeded McQuaid 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 25-22 at Webster Schroeder High School to win the Section V Class A title, their first sectional championship in program history.

Head coach Joe Whalen’s No. 2 Lions also made history this week, claiming their first-ever Section VI Class A title with a straight-set, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 victory Wednesday over No. 5 Frontier at Hamburg High School.

Fairport, like Lockport, features a senior-laden roster with 12 on the team (The Lions have 11 seniors), led by 6-3 senior setter Mitch Kennedy, who was named Most Valuable Player of the V Tournament, recording 25 assists in the finals.

Topping the Red Raiders in kills against the three-pete-champion Knights were 6-5 junior outside hitter Jamie Wolmering (18 kills) and 6-3 senior middle hitter Josh Holm (14 kills).

Whalen said despite the similarities, there are significant differences in the two programs and two sections for that matter.

“In Section V, they play a much more aggressive serving type of game than we do here in Section VI. Everyone jump serves. We have a lot more float servers in our league and on our team,” said Whalen, who witnessed the V title match in person. “Fairport has a real good serving team. That will be one of our challenges — to meet their serving with good passing. They have some height as well. They don’t have anyone as tall as Jason (Lockport’s 6-8 middle hitter Donorovich), but they have a couple of good players with height.”

Among the keys to victory for the Lions today is getting past Fairport’s strong serving. Lockport is led by First Team All-NFL all-stars Donorovich and Brad Schneider, both juniors, and senior libero Eamon Yates; Second Team All-NFL all-stars Jack Whalen and Bryce Perry, both seniors; and Third Team All-NFL all-stars Shawn Moore and Jonah Ribbeck, also seniors.

“Beyond the serves, if we get onto a hard game and pass their balls fine, we can compete with them and match up with them,” Whalen said. “We’re a better blocking team and they’re a stronger serving team. Wolmering is a cool cookie. He’s good and they’ll go to him a lot. Their setter Kennedy and libero are also good players.

“They’ve got a great program and I enjoyed watching them,” Whalen said. “I told my kids, ‘You don’t get to the state finals by walking by everyone. You have to play the game of your life every match. Don’t assume these guys are going to be a walk in the park.’ “

The Lions will leave by bus at 12:45 p.m. today and arrive at Midlakes about two hours later, Whalen said.

“They’re going to play their hardest,” Whalen said. “These kids appreciate a good squad, but they’re not awed. And they appreciate the experience they’re going through. I’m personally more relaxed for this match than I was for the sectional finals match. Our goal was never to get to states. It was only to get to sectionals and be that team. Everything from here on in is like gravy. From now on, we’re playing for ourselves and we’ll see what happens.”

Sophomore setter, senior leaders help push Hamburg to sectional final
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Friday November 8, 2013


Patrick Stroh and Hamburg defeated Williamsville South in four
sets to win a sectional title in Class B. (Photo by David Marino)


After a long and grueling, yet successful regular season, the Hamburg boys volleyball team can officially call themselves champions.

The top-seeded Bulldogs used a third set rally to seize back momentum, and beat the No. 3 seed Williamsville South in four, to capture their first Section VI Class B championship, since 2009.

"It's been a long time," said Hamburg head coach Brian Carroll. "It feels really good. I'm just really happy for the boys. To win a sectional title with a sophomore setter [Ryan Dils], that means the seniors had to step up, the juniors had to step up, and when you win with a sophomore leading your team, it doesn't happen very often."

The teams split the first two sets, and the third proved to be match-changing. With Hamburg leading, 12-7, the Billies rallied for four consecutive points, which led to a Bulldog timeout. Out of the timeout, Hamburg went on a 9-0 run, and finished the game scoring 13 out of the final 17 points, to win 25-15.

"The flood gates opened up," said Carroll about the beginning of the third set run. "We got a few blocks and made them uncomfortable. When we blocked them, they didn't react real well, and the points just came a little easier."

Hamburg won the first game, 25-18, with the Billies firing back with a 25-22 win in the second. After Hamburg flexed its muscles in the third game, the Bulldogs finished off the visiting Billies in the fourth, with a 25-19 victory, which also included a 6-0 run to finish.

Williamsville South head coach Thom Knab thought his team was going to climb out of another hole, like they had all season long, but Hamburg wouldn't allow that to happen. Knab praised the Bulldogs and their ability not to allow the Billies to gain an edge.

"Hamburg is a really, really well-coached, solid team," Knab said. "They're so good at passing, and they're so good defensively, and they have some big hitters that you really have to be focused on. You can't let up, even a little bit."

The Billies, who went undefeated in ECIC play throughout the regular season, were very resilient, said Carroll, and presented a number of different challenges. They finished the season with an overall mark of 24-3, and showed why they were such a tough out this the season.

"They brought a lot of serving," senior captain Trevor Vail said. "They had great serving. Their passing was there and their hitting, they had incredible hitting. We found a way to get through it and battle through."

Junior middle hitter Zach Yerrington and captains Vail and Doug Horbachewski came up with a number of crucial blocks at the net which led to many points throughout the third and fourth games. Carroll noted a block by Yerrington late in the fourth put Hamburg ahead for good.

Dils, the setter and leader on the floor for the Bulldogs, matured throughout the season according to his coaches and teammates. Playing arguably the most difficult and important position on the floor, Dils proved that he was up for any and all challenges, including having a big match in the finals.

"He's gotten so much better from when we started," Yerrington said. "He's improved so much and he's a big part of our team."

The Hamburg faithful stormed the court after the final point was awarded. Although exhausted, players rode their adrenaline while celebrating the victory.

"It feels unbelievable," Horbachewski said. "We worked so hard in the offseason and we came here and did what we were supposed to do — win the championship."

The Bulldogs will travel to Midlakes High School in Clifton Springs for the regional finals on Saturday, Nov. 9, to take on the winner of Victor and Brighton.

Lockport knocks off Frontier; Hamburg advances
By Mary Jo Monnin | News Sports Reporter 
Thursday November 7, 2013

Their uniforms may have said “Lockport,” but the Lions felt their reach extended further.

The Section VI boys volleyball finals tend to showcase the strength of the ECIC, but on Wednesday the Lions flexed the muscle of the Niagara Frontier League in beating Frontier in three games.

The 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 victory in the Class A match ended Lockport’s long wait for its first section title. The last NFL team to win a sectional title was Kenmore West in 2000.

“It’s the first time Lockport has been in the sectionals with the Southtowns and we wanted to show that our program has come a long way and that we can play any of these teams,” said Lockport coach Joe Whalen. “It’s been a while since the NFL has been here. This means a lot to us.”

The Lions (24-3) will play the winner of tonight’s Section V final between McQuaid and Webster on Saturday in a 4 p.m. regional at Midlakes.

Lockport’s Shawn Moore had six kills and seven blocks while Brad Schneider had 13 kills. “Brad is usually my go-to guy and he had a great night, but Shawn played the best match so far this year,” said Whalen. “He blocked great, stayed at the net, and just really controlled things defensively.”

Four-year senior setter Jack Whalen, the program’s career assists leader and son of the coach, predicted Lockport would make the final.

“For Lockport, it was nothing we’ve ever done, and it was everything we’ve ever wanted,” Jack Whalen said. “It was nice to come out here and show a couple of these guys who’s boss. I don’t think they came as prepared as we did. We were hustling the entire game. We came out the first point like we were ready until the last point we were ready.”

The Falcons (9-13) found another gear the past couple of weeks and played themselves into what was their fourth consecutive trip to the final.

“We played with so much emotion for the past week that at some point – we definitely ran out of some steam tonight,” said Frontier coach Bill Faust. “We really had been playing some lockdown defense, tonight I’ve got to hand it to Lockport, they outplayed us in a lot of facets. They earned it.”

Hitting errors and unforced errors robbed Frontier of sustaining any momentum and they also had issues at the net against the Lions’ 6-foot-8 Jason Donorovich and the 6-6 Moore.

Frontier was led by Jake Gleason’s 30 assists and 16 kills from Dylan Durni and 13 by Erik Hatten.

“Just to be here meant a lot, but we have high expectations of our program,” Faust said. “The last four years we’ve been in the dance and we took two of them, but these last two, we let it slip a little bit.”

Class B

Hamburg (26-2) lived up to its No. 1 ranking in Western New York by beating Williamsville South, 25-18, 22-25, 25-15, 25-19. The title was the first for the Bulldogs since 2009. Hamburg will play the Section V champion in the regionals on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Midlakes.

When South tied the match at 1-1, the Bulldogs took it as a chance to refocus. “I wasn’t nervous, it was a little bit of a wakeup call,” said coach Brian Carroll. “Sometimes you need to get smacked in the face a little bit.”

Hamburg’s Trevor Vail kept South on its heels with seven aces. Carroll said Doug Horbachewski made the most of his additional swings.

The Billies ended their season 24-3, including the ECIC II crown at 12-0.

South’s Anthony Podgorsak dominated the net with 19 kills. “He had great passing, a great attack, he’s the heart of the team,” said South coach Thom Knab. “What we were really trying to do is spread it around as much as we could. We struggled a little with passing, so we weren’t always able to do that.” 


Section VI Playoff Bracket Class A
Thursday November 7, 2013

2013 Section VI Playoff Bracket Class A

Section VI Playoff Bracket Class B
Thursday November 7, 2013

2013 Section VI Playoff Bracket Class B

Frontier boys volleyball healthy, back to final
By: Mike Pidanick, Metro Source | Sports
Thursday November 7, 2013

After stumbling through an injury-plagued regular season, the Frontier boys volleyball team entered the postseason expecting to hit the road while turning things around. So far, that is exactly what has happened.

Led by the serving of Dylan Durni and net play of Zach Gerken, the Falcons opened the Class A Section VI tournament play with a 19 – 25, 25 – 21, 25 – 19, 25 – 21 win against Lancaster in a quarterfinal game on Oct. 30. They followed that, two days later, with an upset of top-seeded West Seneca West, which had been virtually unbeatable, during the season.

“We’ve been the walking wounded for the last month, so it was nice to have our lineup ready roll,” Frontier coach Bill Faust said, after the Lancaster win. “At times, we had to persevere, but collectively we endured and I thought collectively we did a nice job.”

Durney had 14 kills to lead Frontier, while Hatten added 10. Jake Gleason dished out 30 assists. But it was at the service line that Hatten made a difference, collecting four aces and leading a number of runs by the Falcons.

“Eric Hatten — holy cow,” Faust said. “What a performance tonight. Zach Gerken had a great game; I had a lot of seniors step up.”

During the fourth and final game, the Redskins surged out to a 10 – 5 lead, but Frontier battled back. Even with a lead at the end, Frontier had to hold off a game Lancaster challenge — and again, Hatten delivered, when the team needed him most.

Lancaster had beaten Frontier all three times the teams had faced each other, this season. Frontier moved on to the Class A final against Lockport to be played Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Hamburg. The first of two Section VI finals start 6 p.m.

“Even as the last couple points of that fourth game, he did a great job,” Faust said. “I thought about calming them down, but then I said, ‘No, don’t overthink it. Let Eric put them down.’ And he did a great job.”

“From day one of the playoffs, we knew we were going to have to go into other gyms,” he added. “West Seneca West is tough; we’re going to have to bring it.”

They did just that, and now Frontier is back in the final, where it will try to recapture the crown it earned in 2010 and 2011.

Hamburg crowd helps team to Wednesday's boys volleyball final
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Thursday November 7, 2013


GETTING ALL OF IT — Doug Horbachewski (left) and Hamburg advanced
to the Class B sectional final. Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.


The sixth and 12th man are two terms that are often associated with fans, in support of their sports teams. It’s unusual to hear the term “seventh man” associated with fanatics.

With the Hamburg High School gymnasium full capacity, and the noise level through the roof, the Bulldogs’ boys volleyball team swept Grand Island in straight sets on Nov. 2, to reach the Erie County Interscholastic Conference Class B final.

“I love our fans,” Bulldogs head coach Brian Carroll said. “We really have a great community that comes out and supports our team. When we don’t have fan support, our kids really miss it. They love looking up and seeing their parents in the crowd. It makes for a good community day.”

The top-seeded Bulldogs fed off of the crowd and came back in the third set, to beat the fourth-seeded Vikings. They will host No. 3 seed Williamsville South in the Class B final on Wednesday, Nov. 6 with the first of two championship matches starting 6 p.m.

“I feel like we worked way too hard not to make it all the way,” junior Zach Yerrington said. “We work hard, every day, in practice, and I feel like my team and I deserve to be there.”

The Bulldogs shared the ECIC division title at 11 – 1 and earned the top seed in the 20-team playoff bracket.

From chants of “Bulldogs,” to parents’ climbing on others’ shoulders, Hamburg fans were influential in the win.

Play by Yerrington and captains Trevor Vail and Doug Horbachewski led to the Bulldogs’ semifinal victory. Plays by both Ryan Filas and Ryan Dills throughout the game completed the team effort for Hamburg.

“As a team, we just kept getting better,” said Dills, about his team’s work throughout the season. “We’re just happy to be here now, in the finals. We’ve worked hard in practices, so I think we’ve earned it.”

Williamsville South defeated Eden in four games, in the other semifinal. Hamburg beat Eden earlier in the season in three sets, but did not match up against ECIC II’s Billies, all season.

Hamburg beat West Seneca East and Sweet Home, en route to reaching the semifinals. Hamburg players and coaches said they will be ready for the third-seeded Billies, as they hope for another packed house.

Bad passing leads Redskins boys volleyball to early exit
Thursday November 7, 2013

During the regular season, Lancaster defeated Frontier a total of eight times, but in the playoffs it was a different story.

Lancaster lost in four games to Frontier in the Division I quarterfinals 25-19, 21-25, 18-25, 21-25.

The loss dropped Lancaster’s overall record to 13-9 on the season.

The Redskins got off to a good start with a six point victory in game one, but could not close the deal in games two through four.

In each of the next three games, Lancaster was tied at either 17-17 or 18-18 and gave up long runs in crunch time.

“We had some trouble passing off their jump serves,” said head coach Jason Stang. “We didn’t handle it very well by giving up aces and passing poorly. Some things didn’t go our way at crucial times and we didn’t finish well enough.”

In game one, Lancaster controlled the net with three blocks, but they could only muster a combined total of three more blocks throughout the rest of the match.

“They had more good swings this time around because they passes better than in previous games against us,” said Stang.

With that said, it was the opposite case for the Redskins.

Poor passing made it tough for their offense to get in system. The Redskins front row had to make a lot of off-speed shots and send over more free balls than they would have liked.

The offense was led by a duo of sophomore outside hitters, Jay Baumann and Kenny Rudz. Baumann had 20 kills and just two errors in the match, while Rudz added 16 kills with just two errors.

Senior setter Mike Spengler dished out 21 assists in the match.

Last season, Lancaster was just 1-11 in league play and was always considered the underdog. This year against Frontier in playoffs, they were the higher seed and considered the favorite.

“We have a young team and didn’t have much experience as the favorite in a playoff game,” said Stang.

Overall, the Redskins played in a total of 95 games including tournaments. Baumann finished the season with 376 kills, while Rudz had 217.

Spengler finished with a total of 450 assists to end his career.

OP volleyball defeated in sectional quarterfinals
Thursday November 7, 2013

The Quakers had an entire week to prepare for Clarence in the quarterfinals of the Section VI Division I playoffs, but they could not produce a victory. 

Orchard Park lost in four sets 25-21, 17-25, 15-25, 17-25 and dropped their record to 7-13 on the season.

It was the first time since 1994 that head coach Matt Lexner was part of a losing season. In that year, he was coaching Amherst. 

“We executed really well in game one and played great,” said Lexner. “But Clarence cleaned it up and served tough, and we had a hard time passing.”

In game one, Orchard Park was able to move around their middle blockers on offense and ran a lot of “31” balls for kills.

But once the passing broke down, Orchard Park could not run the middle as often as they would have preferred.

“We were having trouble passing and we just couldn’t side-out,” said Lexner.

Senior outside hitter Brian Manley led the offense with nine kills and he added two aces at the serving line.

The other outside hitter, junior Martin Hackford, added eight kills and one service ace.

Senior setter Nolan McArdle dished out 39 assists in his final game.

Before playoffs started, Orchard Park defeated St. Joe’s — who at the time was ranked in the top five in WNY —as well as Frontier, who ended up reaching the championship game against Lockport.

“We had peaked after those two games, but then we hit a wall and tailed off a little bit and our confidence was down,” said Lexner. “Our confidence and experience were not like in years past and that’s one reason why we had a hard time against Clarence.”

Next season, Orchard Park will return five starters including both middle blockers, Jordan DeRosiers and Jeff Biddle.

“These guys are huge and super strong,” said Lexner.

The Quakers will also return right-side hitter Jay Manley as well.

“It was a challenging year for all of us, but the kids never quit,” said Lexner. “They played hard and never mailed it in. We kept pushing, but it just didn’t work out for us at the end.”

The players held team dinners throughout the season, and Lexner said with more experience and team chemistry, he expects for Orchard Park to get back to its winning ways. 


Maryvale boys gut out five-set match with rival Cheektowaga
By: Marquel Slaughter, Reporter | Sports
Thursday November 7, 2013

Crosstown rivals playing against each other in a win-or-go-home postseason game is always a match made in Heaven on paper. And, boy, the match did not disappoint.

Fifth-seeded Maryvale hosted No. 12 Cheektowaga to open up the boys volleyball Class B playoffs on Tuesday, Oct. 29 and the match went the distance.

Ultimately, the Flyers were able to avoid another early playoff exit and used a packed house and loud home crowd to their advantage to defeat the Warriors 3-2 in advancing to the quarterfinals.

“We talked about just that,” said Maryvale coach Andy Murtha. “One year ago, we were in the same situation. Going into Game Five. I just asked them how bad did they want it.”

Last year, Maryvale earned the fifth-seed and home-court advantage and couldn’t capitalize against No. 12 North Tonawanda.

This year, the game-winning kill came from the hands of Tyler Nosal. Maryvale received the serve up 24-17 as Ryan Robida got control of Wayne Hunzinger’s dig and passed it to Nosal, who was waiting at the outside for a ferocious spike that got in between two Warriors on the block.

“I could just tell it was a really good hit,” Nosal noted.

Maryvale took the first two games, 25-17 and 25-21. But Cheektowaga wasn’t going to go out that easily, taking the next two games, 25-17 and 25-19, to tie the match up at two wins apiece before the Flyers gained control again in Game Five.

“I feel like we lost some energy and we got a little cocky because we swept them before,” Jordan Teed said. “All the seniors knew that this could potentially be the last game that we played so we wanted to give it everything we had.”

It was an 11-10 match in Maryvale’s advantage before Cheektowaga called timeout inside a gymnasium full of fans on both sides that hadn’t stopped screaming since the final game began. The next timeout came when Maryvale held a 19-14 advantage, and Cheektowaga just couldn’t keep up any longer.

“My seniors stepped up,” Cheektowaga coach Jon Marcussen said about Tyler Adamczyk, Noah McGhee, Kevin Nguyen, Tim Petranchuk, Peter Pham, Zavon Sanders and Rob Sperrazza. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of these guys. The last time we played them, (Maryvale) thumped us, and tonight (our guys) weren’t going to let that happen.”

Maryvale headed to No. 4 Grand Island for the quarterfinals on Thursday, but the result was not available at press time.

While the boys were playing on Tuesday night, right down the street, No. 3 Cheektowaga won its girls volleyball Class B quarterfinal match against Amherst in straights sets. Telliah Bursie led her team in the win with 14 kills and four blocks.

The Lady Flyers will head to No. 2 Albion tonight. They defeated Albion in a nonleague game to end the regular season on Oct. 18.

South boys volleyball advances to Class B final
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter
Wednesday November 6, 2013

Williamsville South’s Joe Zanelotti (3) and Christian Graziano go for a block during the Billies’ Section VI
Class B semifinal match Saturday at Eden High School. The Billies won 23-25, 25-22, 25-13, 25-21
to advance to the Section VI Class B final Wednesday at Hamburg High School. Photo by John Normile


For the first time since 2006, Williamsville South’s boys volleyball team will be competing for a Section VI Class B title.

The third-seeded Billies rebounded from a 23-25 loss in game one against second-seeded Eden to win the next three, 25-22, 25-13, 25-21, in Saturday’s Class B semifinal meeting.

South (24-2) faces top-seed Hamburg for the Class B title at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hamburg High School.

Billies coach Thom Knab said his team upped its defense in the second, third and fourth games and took advantage of Eden’s problems serving the ball.

Anthony Podgorsak and Steve Zaprowski paced the South offense with 21 and 14 kills, respectively. Christian Graziano added nine kills. Joe Zanelotti handed out 44 assists.

It’s the third year in a row that South has eliminated Eden in the playoffs.

South downed 19th-seed Williamsville North, 25-11, 25-20, 25-21, in the prequarterfinals Oct. 29 and sixth-seeded Williamsville East, 25-15, 25-21, 25-22, in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Podgorsak posted 13 kills, Zaprowski recorded nine kills and Zanelotti recorded eight blocks against Williamsville East.

Podgorsak posted 12 kills and two aces against Williamsville North. Graziano added eight kills and eight blocks and Ryan Nigro had three aces.

Throughout the postseason, Knab has been pleased with the leadership of Podgorsak and Zaprowski and the play of libero Kenny Stuber. 

Sweet Home

The ninth-seeded Panthers hung tough in the first game of their quarterfinal game against top-seeded Hamburg Thursday before losing 15-25. Sweet Home dropped the next two games, 8-25, 15-25.

“We were ahead 4-0 and 14-12 in the first game. We were right with them,” Sweet Home coach Rich Cicero said. “But Hamburg had a really good jump server and we struggled to pass and it led to our loss in the first game.”

In the second game, Cicero said his team struggled to find an offense and made a lot of mental mistakes.

Taylor Sutherland recorded seven kills and an ace and James Nix had three kills to pace the Panthers’ offense.

“We couldn’t put the ball in the setter’s hands and were limited to where we could put the ball,” Cicero said. “We gave them too many down balls and free balls. You have to attack Hamburg, not give them ammunition.”

Sweet Home advanced after winning at eighth-seeded Depew, 25-17, 25-21, 25-17, in the prequarterfinals 

Oct. 29.

“Our kids passed well and executed the offense well,” Cicero said.

Sutherland recorded 14 kills and four aces, Connor Heald had seven kills and Nix added six kills. Corey Allen recorded 27 assists.

Sweet Home finished 12-7 overall and 8-4 in ECIC II.

Five starters graduate, including Sutherland, who led the team with 270 kills, 51 aces and 97 stuffed blocks, Allen with 23 aces, Nix, Ben Miller and Justin Okun.

“The team met their goals and went beyond them,” Cicero said. “To go 8-4 with a lot of new guys stepping in to start, I felt they did a really good job.”

In another matter: Cicero will be inducted into the Western New York Volleyball Hall of Fame Thursday at Illio DiPaolo’s Restaurant in Blasdell.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “To be recognized by a great group of guys and inducted into a hall of fame that has volleyball legends is quite an honor. I would not have thought that I would have made it this far.”

Cicero has been Sweet Home’s coach since 1999 and started Panther Volleyball Club in 2000.

A captain and member of the first All-Western New York Team at Sweet Home, Cicero went on to play at Penn State where he was a team co-captain in his junior and senior years and the team was ranked first in the nation. It was the first time a team not from California was ranked first. 


The Tigers’ season came to an end against West Seneca East in the Section VI Class B prequarterfinals Monday, losing 17-25, 26-24, 14-25, 19-25.

Coach Peter Wlosinski said the team played well in its 25-19, 22-25, 16-25, 26-24, 26-28 home loss to East Aurora Oct. 22. 

“Seniors Evan Hall, Dante Merrill, Alex Touma and Greg Zimmermann will never forget their senior night against East Aurora,” coach Peter Wlosinski said.

Wlosinski said the team came out to a great start, using a strong serve and powerful attack to win the first game, 25-19.

The Tigers lost the next two games, 22-25 and 16-25, and rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth game to win 26-24.

“We came together and it was great to see our high level of enjoyment and competitiveness,” Wlosinski said.

The fifth game went back and forth with Amherst losing 26-28.

“We lost but without a doubt, we played our best match of the season as a team,” Wlosinski said. “I was very proud to watch them play the game like I knew they were capable of all along.”

Throughout the match, Amherst earned 31 kills, six blocks, 14 aces and 37 digs.

The Tigers finished in sixth place in ECIC III with a 2-10 record and 2-15 overall.

Hall, a senior co-captain, recorded 117 kills, 33 blocks, 31 aces and 91 digs.

Alex Touma, the other senior co-captain, recorded 156 assists, 11 aces and 66 digs.

Senior Greg Zimmerman added 29 skills, 14 aces and 87 digs, senior Dante Merrill added 39 kills, 23 aces and 44 digs and junior Ethan Ahuna posted 28 kills, 11 aces and 46 digs.

Wlosinski said Ahuna and juniors Conor Brinkworth, Javier Fox, Harmanjeet Singh and Ben Touma are looking forward to next year.

Lockport boys volleyball team moves on to sectional final
By: Tom Gallagher, Reporter | Sports
Wednesday November 6, 2013

Even after losing an early-season match to Clarence, the Lockport boys volleyball team believed in its ability entering a crucial sectional semifinal match against the No. 3 Red Devils on Saturday (Nov. 2). 

After all, the Lions were still the No. 2 team. It showed in their play. Now they have a shot at a sectional Class A championship.

The Lions earned a little redemption by defeating Clarence in straight sets, 25-19, 29-27 and 25-11, at Lockport High School. As a result, they’ll play in the Class A final on Wednesday, Nov. 6 and take on No. 5 Frontier, which upset top-ranked West Seneca West later in the day.

“We knew coming in that we were a good team and that [Clarence] would have to fight,” outside hitter Brad Schneider said. “And we played our best.”

Lockport coach Joe Whalen and his club drew up a stiff game plan to thwart the effectiveness of Clarence’s tipping game, which is a staple of the Red Devils’ attack. 

“All we worked on in practice was tip defense, tip offense and just finding ways around the blocks,” Lockport’s 6-foot-8 middle Jason Donorovich said. “It obviously worked out very well for us today.”

“We knew that they were going to be tipping a lot and that they feed the outside,” Schneider added. “They only set the middle three times today. On the outsides, we made sure to cover the tips.”

In limiting the Clarence attack, Whalen said the Lions were able to run their offense for much of the match, a feat they couldn’t accomplish in the teams’ first meeting back on Aug. 31.

“I thought we ran our offense off those inside circles,” Whalen said. “It was a great game. Everything that they have been working on I thought they did a job.”

After taking the opening set, the Lions engaged in a thriller of a second with the Red Devils, which may have been the turning point of the match. Leading 6-3, they gave up eight unanswered points and were victims of an 11-1 run by Clarence, which had built a 14-7 lead. But Lockport wasn’t ready to lay down.

The team rallied back, ripping off a 6-1 run to cut the deficit to 15-13. Later, trailing 21-17, the Lions chipped away at the Clarence advantage and went on a 7-2 tear to take the lead — their first since claiming the set’s first two points — 24-23. 

Like Lockport, however, Clarence wasn’t finished. The Red Devils surged back and eventually took a 26-25 lead. They seemed poised to win, but a volatile Lions’ squad continued to fight, eventually escaping with a 29-27 victory.

Setter Jack Whalen, Joe’s son, spoke highly of his squad’s resiliency. 

“That shows everything that our team is trying to be,” he said of the Lions, who coasted to a 25-11 win in the third and final set. “Our team is never out of it. It shows when we’re playing one of the better teams in Western New York, and we beat them in three games.”

For the Red Devils, head coach Kevin Starr said it came down to running into a bigger, faster team in Lockport. They couldn’t execute as well as they would have liked because of it.

“We changed our defense to handle what they were doing and I thought we did that pretty well, especially in the first two games, but they just executed better than we did,” he said.

Clarence’s season came to an end, but Starr said he was proud of what the Red Devils accomplished. They finished 6-6 in ECIC I play and defeated Orchard Park in the sectional quarterfinals. Additionally, they won their own tournament for the very first time.

“We played very well all year long,” Starr said. “We just lost to a great team. I think on another day we could have beat them. Overall I’m proud of the boys.”

Prior to knowing who his club would square off against in the final, Joe Whalen noted that there is a preconceived notion of a discrepancy in the competitiveness of northtowns’ versus southtowns’ schools.

“There is a misconception that if you’re a northtowns’ school you won’t be at the same level as the southtowns,” he said. “Well, half a zone of my boys have been playing with all the southtown kids since they were in eighth grade. There is no difference in level.”

Whalen put that theory to the test when the Lions took on the Falcons Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Hamburg. Results were not available at press time.

Lockport’s strategy adjustment ends Clarence volleyball squad’s playoff run
Clarence Bee
Wednesday November 6, 2013

Clarence’s boys volleyball team was able to effectively neutralize the hitting prowess of the tallest squad in Western New York, but was unable to match Lockport when it made an adjustment to its strategy during Saturday’s 25-22, 29-27, 25-11 win in the Section VI Class A semifinal that ended the Red Devils’ playoff run.

Coach Kevin Starr pointed to the second game of the match as the turning point, conceding that the Red Devils “couldn’t make the defensive plays we needed to at the right times” to put the Lions away when Clarence had match point. In the end, Brandon Hill and Dale Payne ended their Clarence careers with seven and six kills, respectively, while junior Tommy Ecker added six.

Seniors Derek Burghardt and Ted Okon had four kills each in their final high school match.

“Lockport is the tallest team in Western New York, and we actually did a pretty good job of limiting the damage they did offensively by changing our blocking scheme,” Starr said. “The main problem was that once we did that, they started to tip the ball rather than pound it, and our defense was caught on its heels too many times.”

Clarence reached the semifinals by knocking off rival Orchard Park in the quarterfinal round, 21-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-17. The Red Devils started the match off by missing six serves, which Starr noted “has been a real problem for us,” but they got back on track en route to dominating the rest of the match. Hill had 13 kills and 14 digs, while Payne added 11 kills. Senior setter Skyler Reinhardt had 35 assists, while Ecker added five kills in the third game.

“We had beaten Orchard Park twice in league play and also in a couple of tournaments, but they had improved quite a bit since we’d last seen them,” Starr said. “They brought up a couple of sophomores to the varsity early in the season, and as those kids got some varsity experience the team had started to win some big matches, including a sweep against Frontier — which had beaten us twice this year. Fortunately, our senior outside hitters came up big for us.”

Clarence will officially close out its season on Sunday, Nov. 17, with its annual awards banquet.

St Joe’s volleyball loses in league championship
Ken-Ton Bee
Wednesday November 6, 2013

The Marauders volleyball team reached the Monsignor Martin championship game last Friday but lost to Canisius in four sets — 15-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-27.

It was the 14th consecutive Monsignor Martin title for Canisius. 

The loss for St. Joe’s dropped their record to 15-11 on the season.

Peter Laux led the offense with 18 kills, while setter Joe Koszelak registered 42 assists.

In the semifinal game, the Marauders defeated St. Mary’s of Lancaster in a thrilling five set match on Oct. 29 — 22-25, 21-25, 27-25, 25-19, 26-24.

Even though they lost the first two games, the Marauders managed to battle back, and barely sneaked out wins in games three and five.

Laux had 35 kills in the match, and middle blocker Neil Conway added 12 kills and 22 digs.

Blue Devils boys volleyball overpowered by Lockport
Wednesday November 6, 2013

With a young starting lineup, the Kenmore West boys volleyball team was overmatched in its Section VI Division I quarterfinal contest against Lockport last Thursday.

It was a quick match on Halloween night as the Blue Devils were swept 9-25, 5-25, 21-25.

“We played them before and they are a very good team,” said head coach Gary Tocke. “We were hoping to turn things around this time, but they overpowered us. We knew they were going to be that way, but we were hoping for some more resistance.”

Tocke added that he thinks Lockport has a “good chance” to win the Sectional tournament.

Evenwithabadloss,Tockewasstillabletotakeaway some positives including his team’s defensive play.

“They pounded balls at us and we dug up more balls than we would have in the regular season,” he said. “We just weren’t able to transition those digs into any offense. We struggled hitting the ball.”

Ken West finished the season with a 2-10 record in league play, and 2-14 overall. Both victories came against Niagara Falls.

“We were competitive at times, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Tocke.

One of the bright spots on the team this year was first-year senior middle blocker Noah Whalen — who Tocke said with more experience — could have been one of the best players he has ever coached.

Whalen was able to provide the team not only good size at the net, but a lot of energy as well.

“He did a tremendous job for us, but his lack of experience made it tough for him to absorb it all,” said Tocke. “He carried us because of his size and he is a spunky guy. He gave us a lot of energy. If we didn’t have him, we probably wouldn’t be as good.”

The Blue Devils called up a freshman setter, Adam Pray, two weeks into the season and he was able to earn a lot of playing time all season.

“He has the potential to be a very good setter,” said Tocke. “He understands the game and has good technique, and was able to progress all season long.”

Ken West has a nucleus of a trio of juniors who will return next year and add experience to the program — outside hitter Tyler Steupchen, middle blocker Joe Gardon, and libero Nick Atallah.

“The kids were there every day for practice this season and they were dedicated,” said Tocke. “That’s a positive thing, and they all tried really hard this season.” 


Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 11/5/13
Buffalo News
Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rank WNY Coaches Poll PTS LW
1. Hamburg (6) 113 1
2. Canisius (5) 109 2
3. Lockport (1) 92 5
4. Williamsville South 88 4
5. Frontier 73 9
6. West Seneca West 50 3
7. Clarence 43 7
8. St. Joe's 37 6
9. Lancaster 26 6
10. Eden 17 NR


Frontier boys volleyball back in the final
Buffalo News
Sunday November 3, 2013

For the fourth year in a row the Frontier boys volleyball team will be playing for a Section VI title.

The Falcons survived a close four-game match on Saturday to beat West Seneca West in a Class A semifinal. Erik Hatten had 24 kills while Jake Gleason handed out 46 assists. Tom Stoklosa added nine kills and four blocks. The Indians were the No. 1 seed and during the regular season shared the ECIC I title with Hamburg.

The Falcons won the title in 2010 and 2011, but lost to Orchard Park year. Frontier was the No. 5 seed after a 5-7 finish in ECIC I. 

“We faced a lot of adversity and had some injury issues. I don’t think our record reflects who we are and how gritty of a team we have,” said coach Bill Faust.

Senior outside hitter Dylan Durni has had a strong year despite missing 3-4 weeks with a bad back. The Falcons have also had to deal with the loss of starting libero Peter Lotocki to a season-ending broken thumb. The last two matches Frontier has started a freshman at libero, Zach Gerken.

In the other Class A semifinal, Lockport beat Clarence in three games. The Lions needed a 29-27 score in the second game to complete the sweep.

Frontier (9-12) and Lockport will play for the Class A title on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Hamburg. Lockport won the NFL title this season with a 12-0 record.

“Lockport is very tall, very athletic. We’ll have to do a couple things well to get them out of their system,” said Faust. 

Class B: Hamburg advanced in three games, beating Grand Island, 25-21, 25-16, 25-15 in the semifinals. Trevor Vail had four aces and Ryan Dils 25 assists for the winners.

Williamsville South came back after losing the first game 25-23, and took the next three to beat Eden in the other semi. Anthony Podgorsak had 21 kills and Joe Zanelotti 44 assists for the Billies (24-2). Eden went 12-0 to win ECIC III.

The Bulldogs will play Williamsville South for the title on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Hamburg is the No. 1 school in the WNY Coaches poll. South went 12-0 this season to win ECIC II.

Will South Defeats Eden
Buffalo News

Saturday November 2, 2013

WS (24-2): Anthony Podgorsak 21 kills; Joe Zanelotti 44 assists

Williamsville South came back after losing the first game 25-23, and took the next three to beat Eden in a Class B semifinal. Anthony Podgorsak had 21 kills and Joe Zanelotti 44 assists for the Billies (24-2).

Hamburg Rolls Grand Island
Buffalo News
Saturday November 2, 2013

H: Trevor Vail 4 aces; Ryan Dils 25 assists

Hamburg advanced in three games beating Grand Island, 25-21, 25-16, 25-15 in a Class B semifinal. The Bulldogs will play Williamsville South for the title on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Frontier Upsets West Seneca West
Buffalo News
Saturday November 2, 2013

F: Erik Hatten 24 kills; Jake Gleason 46 assists; Tom stoklosa 9 kills, 4 blocks; Jeff Taylor 3 digs, 3 aces

Frontier survived a close four-game match to beat West Seneca West in a Section VI Class semifinal. Erik Hatten had 24 kills while Jake Gleason handed out 46 assists. Tom Stoklosa added nine kills and four blocks.

Canisius, St. Mary’s roll on in volleyball
By Ryan Nagelhout
Saturday November 2, 2013

The Canisius boys and Saint Mary’s girls volleyball teams each extended their Monsignor Martin title runs in front of a combined crowd of 1,600 at Canisius High School on Friday.

Canisius won its 14th straight Monsignor Martin title in four games, a tight 25-15, 25-23, 18-25, 27-25 match, while the Lancers girls swept Immaculata in the girls title game for the second straight season.

The Canisius offense was led by sophomore hitter Trevor Gooch, who dominated on the left side and finished with 32 kills on the day.

“He’s been one of our best players all year,” Canisius coach Tom Weislo said. “Big games bring out the best in him.”

Gooch was a whopping .468 on kill attempts and gave a strong Joe’s defense fits with the help of setup man Brian Costello, who finished with 49 assists.

“We’ve played together three years,” Gooch said. “We’ve just had a connection ever since Day One.”

After cruising in the first game, Canisius (21-5, 7-1 MMAA) mounted a comeback to go up 2-0, ripping off five straight points to overcome a 23-20 Joe’s lead.

“We just didn’t finish that game,” St. Joe’s coach Mark Anzalone said. “In a match this close it can be one swing either way or a bounce one way or the other which can decide a close game.”

The Marauders (15-11, 6-4) rebounded to take the third game, 25-18, pulling away from a 10-10 tie to force a fourth game. Peter Laux had 18 kills for St. Joe’s, while Joe Koszelak added 42 assists.

Both teams electrified the packed Bernard J. Kennedy Fieldhouse with a fourth-game thriller. Canisius took its first lead at 13-12 but the teams were even at 25 when a Brendan Blake block put the Marauders at match point. Freshman Griffin Schmit’s serve hit the top of the net and fell in front of the Joe’s back line, giving Canisius the 27-25 win.

“It hit the tape or rolled over,” Anzalone said. “In a match this close, it can be a bounce one way or the other which can decide a close game.”

St. Mary’s (22-1) cruised to a 25-16, 25-10, 25-6 win over Immaculata on the strength of a spectacular performance from sophomore hitter Leigh Meyer. The Duke commit had 17 kills on Friday, good for a whopping .895 hitting percentage. 

“That’s the highest I’ve ever hit,” said Meyer, who added five service aces. “I guess you could say I was feeling it.”

Immaculata (17-5) made an early push in the first game, jumping out to a brief 3-0 lead before Meyer and the Lancers – who hit .500 as a team and haven’t dropped a set in league play three years running – finally got the offense going.

“She’s just dominant,” St. Mary’s coach Don Pieczynski said. “The whole gym knows she’s getting the ball and, when push comes to shove, she’s just dominant.”

The victory ended on a bitter note for St. Mary’s, however, as sophomore Alyssa Zirnheld injured her left knee on the game’s final point.

Pieczynski doesn’t expect Zirnheld, who had 11 kills for the Lancers, will be ready to play when St. Mary’s goes for its third straight state title next Saturday in Fresh Meadow.

NCAA Volleyball, IPFW vs Lewis, Game 3
Joe McNerney

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Eden looks to reach boys volleyball final
By: Michael J. Petro | Sports
Friday November 1, 2013

With lower numbers this season and the hope of returning to the sectional big stage, Eden head coach Robert Pierce said that he has been a little harder on his players, in an attempt to get the best out of them.

That worked, during a 14th consecutive division championship season in which Eden finished unbeaten, and during a showing at the Orchard Park Tournament, toward the end of the regular season. But whether it will be a factor in the postseason among a highly-competitive Class B field remains to be seen.

After two seasons of not making it to the sectional final, Pierce said he hopes the 27-time sectional champions can find the motivation and consistently sound play to make yet another run at a title.

“I’m always pretty hard on my kids; coming from a small school, they battle that external and internal motivation,” Pierce said. “We’ve also got low numbers this year, so the kids don’t have much behind them, to help them compete. I’ve been more aggressive with them and the kids have responded. The level of execution has been high, but we still have our work cut out for us.”

Pierce has relied on outside Declan Pierce and middle Hayden Herc, throughout the season, for impactful play. Declan, his son, has become an offensive weapon with an ability to score from anywhere on the court, while Herc has been a difference-maker in the middle, according to the coach.

Pierce said that he has been pleasantly surprised by setter Jake Schlegel’s lifting his game and confidence. He said that he will depend on Schlegel, also a baseball player, to quarterback this group. Outside Cole Overhoff has also turned into a formidable player with his quickness and dangerous serve. He will touch the ball often as the team’s defensive specialist, according to his coach.

On Eden’s road to contending for a title, the second-seeded Raiders will likely met Starpoint on Oct. 29 in a Class B quarterfinal and, with a win, would have moved on to an Oct. 30 meeting with either defending sectional champion Lake Shore, a 10th-seed, or No. 7 North Tonawanda, one of Niagara Frontier League’s top teams.

A potential semifinal match could see Eden and third-seeded Williamsville South team meet on Saturday, Nov. 1. All of the semifinals in Class A and B are to be held that day, 3 p.m., at the higher seeds.

“South plays with a lot of moxie and emotion,” Pierce noted. “We’ve beaten them before, but my guys played real well and were really up for it to do so.”

A trip to the final, which has eluded the Raiders the past two seasons, could bring about a meeting with Hamburg. The Bulldogs are the favorite in the draw, after sharing the Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division I crown at 11 – 1 with West Seneca West. Hamburg mostly played with teams a classification above it.

With size and experience to choose from, the Bulldogs also won three tournaments, including the regular season’s final two at Orchard Park and in their own gym at Hamburg. The Bulldogs were last in the finals in 2011, when they lost a five-game match to Lake Shore.

“Hamburg has proved, this season, they’re at a top level. They’ve got some high level kids and [head coach] Brian [Carroll] has been there before,” Pierce said. “They beat us, but we’ve played them competitively, this year. Whether we could shock the world, would depend on how ready we were to go and how much we want it.”

Pierce said that Hamburg has also been good in tight matches, pulling through in many four- and five-set battles with other good teams. He said that his team has played in a few of those, but probably not enough of them. Eden would have to serve well and get Hamburg out of system to have a chance, he added.

In Class A, fifth-seeded Frontier began a journey to return to the sectional final with a quarterfinal on Oct. 29 at No. 4 Lancaster. The Falcons lost to Orchard Park in last year’s title after winning it in 2010-11.

Eden Volleyball Club holding tryouts Nov. 10
By: Sun Staff | Sports
Friday November 1, 2013

The nationally-ranked Eden Volleyball Club will hold tryouts on Sunday, Nov. 10 for its 12-and-under through 17-and-under teams. Tryouts for 17-U and 16-U will be held 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 15-U, 10:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.; 14-U and 13-U, 12:30-3 p.m.; and 12-U, 2:30-5 p.m. A mandatory club meeting will be held before every tryout except for the first tryout in which a meeting will be 9-11 a.m. A parent/guardian must be in attendance. Two to three teams should be heading to California for the So Cal Qualifier Jan. 3-5, so all information, registration payments and ordering of uniforms must be expedited. All teams will be finalized immediately after the tryouts. Visit for more information.

Frontier boys top Lancaster
Buffalo News
Friday, November 1, 2013

The Frontier boys volleyball team tossed aside a season’s worth of adversity to put together one of their best performances of the season in knocking off Lancaster, 3-1, on Thursday in a Class A quarterfinal game.

The Falcons dropped the first set, 25-19, then rolled in the next three, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21.

“We’ve definitely had our struggles this season and we’ve been bitten by the injury bug a couple of times so the win definitely meant a lot to us,” Frontier coach Bill Faust said. “We’ve battled through a lot and the win was an example of persevering.”

Two starters missed a significant amount of time, one who is essentially gone for the season with a broken thumb while the other, Dylan Durni, has been hindered by a back injury although he has returned to the lineup and recorded 15 kills and six digs on Thursday.

Things didn’t appear promising for Frontier after falling in the first set, 25-19, but Faust managed to regroup the Falcons quickly.

“I told my guys we have a lot of seniors and a lot of multisport athletes and cool heads need to prevail,” he said. “They decided to forget the first game and pick up their game.”

Faust called Erik Hatten “an X-factor” at serve as the senior responded with four aces along with 12 kills and two solo blocks. Tom Stoklosa finished with four kills and eight blocks, while Jake Gleason added 30 assists for Frontier. The Falcons move on to face West Seneca West, which defeated Niagara Falls in straight sets, 25-3, 25-5, 25-14, as Josh Lund recorded 12 kills.

Eden, Grand Island, Hamburg and Williamsville South all swept their Class B boys volleyball semifinals matchups. 

Eden, led by Declan Pierce (14 kills) and Hadyn Herc (10 kills, three blocks) downed Lake Shore, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23.

Brock Tetreault finished with 15 kills and five digs as Grand Island downed Maryvale, 25-16, 25-15, 25-17, while Hamburg pushed by Sweet Home, 25-15, 25-8, 25-15.

Will South’s Anthony Podgorsak had 13 kills and Joe Zanelotti added 38 assists in the Billies’ 25-15, 25-21, 25-22 triumph over rival Williamsville East.

St Joe's Outlasts St Mary's
Buffalo News
Wednesday October 30, 2013

St. Joe’s rallied from two sets down and reached the championship game of the Monsignor Martin boys volleyball playoffs by scoring a seeding upset of No. 2 St. Mary’s in Lancaster in the semifinals at Canisius. The third-seeded Marauders defeated the No. 2 Lancers, 22-25, 21-25, 27-25, 25-19 and 26-24. 

Peter Laux had 25 kills for the wiwnners while Neil Conway had 12 kills and 22 dogs. St. Joe’s will face No. 1 seed Canisius at Canisius at 5 p.m. on Friday. Griffin Schmit had 11 kills in leading Canisius to a sweep of St. Francis, 25-20, 25-12 and 25-18. 

Sweet Home Distinguished Alumni WALL of Fame
Amherst Bee
Wednesday October 30, 2013

Sally Kus, Class of 1966, has a record as a high school volleyball coach that is unrivaled.

Kus began her teaching career at Sweet Home in 1970 and shortly thereafter was called upon to coach girls volleyball. With a background in field hockey and basketball, she initially resisted and only reluctantly acquiesced. This decision to become coach turned into the most remarkable success story in Western New York scholastic sports history.

During the next 23 years, Kus’ Lady Panthers compiled a staggering record of 792 wins and 29 losses. Those wins were the foundation for 15 consecutive Far West Regional titles, 20 consecutive Section VI Class A titles and the first six Western New York State Championships awarded (1990-1995).

In 1996, Volleyball Magazine recognized the Sweet Home program as the nation’s best in the sport’s 100-year history. The single most memorable accomplishment of Kus’ squads was undoubtedly the 292-match winning streak that spanned eight undefeated campaigns from 1978 to 1987.

Kus was the first coach of the Empire State Games team in 1978 and was recognized as the Regional, New York State and National Coach of the Year in 1987. She received the inaugural Medallion of Merit from the National Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1996 and was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. 

Her focus has always been more attuned to the girls she coached rather than personal accolades, and she is most proud of the more than 70 full athletic scholarships awarded to players in the Sweet Home program and the six New York State Scholar-Athlete Teams she has produced.

Clarence volleyball falls short in final postseason tune-up
Clarence Bee
Wednesday October 30, 2013

Clarence’s boys volleyball team took on a pair of foes in a bid to prepare for the playoffs and gain some positive momentum heading into the postseason, but the Red Devils instead will look to recapture the magic that led to their third-seed designation after falling short in both contests.

Clarence’s week began with a 27-29, 19-25, 22-25 loss to Frontier on Oct. 22. The Red Devils missed 10 serves in the opening game, which coach Kevin Starr identified as “the beginning and the end of the story” in that setback. As frustrating as that was in and of itself, Starr said the reason that most of the misses occurred were “simply from a lack of concentration — and that’s simply not acceptable from a varsity team, especially this late in the season.”

“Frontier is just too good a team for us to play less than our best and still expect to win,” Starr said.

Senior outside hitter Brandon Hill had 11 kills to pace the Red Devils.

Clarence then gave undefeated Division II champion Williamsville South — which had just defeated Division I co-champion West Seneca West in the recently-held Grand Island Tournament — a run for its money in Thursday’s regular-season finale, falling in a 20-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-27 decision.

Senior outside hitter Dale Payne had 10 kills, while junior Tommy Ecker added six kills from the right side. Skyler Reinhardt had 23 assists, while junior Mason Sebian had 10 points serving and played a very solid game defensively.

“This was a terrific match, and we actually played very well for most of it,” Starr said. “With a week to go before sectionals start, we needed to shake some things up, so after the Frontier match we went back to the one-setter offense that was successful for us at the beginning of the year. We also switched a couple players’ positions in the rotation in hopes of finding the spark that we had back in early September. The one-setter offense worked pretty well against South, considering that we hadn’t used it in over a month.”

Clarence will kick off its playoff run at 6 p.m. Thursday by hosting Orchard Park in a Class A quarterfinal. Whichever team wins that contestwilladvancetothesemifinalsatOrchardParkfora2p.m. contest against an unknown opponent.

“Now it’s time to start the ‘second season,’” Starr said. “If we put our game together and all the guys play the way we know that they can, we have a great shot at winning the title. The same can be said, though, for six of the eight teams in the Class A bracket. Every one of them is good enough to win it all. That’s been the story of this year: a high level of competition every night.”

St Joe's Tops St Francis
Ken-Ton Bee
Wednesday October 30, 2013

The St. Joe’s boys volleyball team defeated St. Francis last Tuesday in straight sets 25-22, 25-16, 25-15. Peter Laux registered seven kills and four blocks. While, Kyle Kirchberger had a strong game at the net also with seven kills and four blocks. 

Spartans’ spikers look to turn it around
By: Metro Source Staff | Sports
Wednesday October 30, 2013

At 4-8 in ECIC II action, the Starpoint boys volleyball team hasn’t had the smoothest of seasons.

It still has a fighting chance at redemption, though.

Despite having what head coach Kirk Spitler called a “down year,” the Spartans will have a crack at postseason play when they participate in a home sectional qualifier match against an opponent yet to be determined at press time.

“Hopefully we win the first [qualifier] game,” Spitler said. “We’d end up facing a top four team if we win, but as a program, that’s how you learn. You get thrown to the dogs in that first round and if you want to get out of it, you have to work harder.”

Just as they have all season, the Spartans will lean on setter Brett Kane to lead them through sectionals. Kane does it all for the Spartans — and he does it all very well. The senior co-captain has played under Spitler since the end of his freshman season and has become the team’s best player over time.

“He is a competitor to the nth degree,” Spitler said. “There are athletes and there are participants; he is an athlete, big time.”

Despite being depended on as a primary source of offense, Kane leads the team in solo blocks with 36 — a testament to the do-it-all nature of his game. He also has a gaudy 89 kills and a .559 hitting percentage. His 307 assists rank first on the team; his 32 digs, third.

“He has just been a threat,” Spitler said before noting that Kane has a chance to play collegiately. “He plays bigger than he is. Any team that takes him lightly is surprised. He doesn’t jump out of the gym but he is just a competitor. And he always pushes himself to get better.”

Spitler said that Kane’s play lifts his teammates and that he and his co-captain, Ryan Schwab, have done a good job in helping to lead the inexperienced squad. Schwab, a 5-foot-6 outside hitter, leads the team with 44 digs and 43 service aces. 

“Ryan is a good jumper and a gamer,” Spitler said. “He had a pretty bad ankle sprain against Sweet Home [on Oct. 11]. He didn’t want to sit out. When he gets in the game, he doesn’t want to come out.”

Manning the outside position opposite Schwab is Travis Krupinski, a junior. He leads the team in kills with 104. Senior Jeremy Tock is also a key hitter on the outside.

Junior Dennis Held and senior Ben Chatley start in the middle. Junior libero Tyler Puchlerz’s 42 digs rank second on the team. Ryan Rydza, a senior who didn’t make the squad when he tried out as an eleventh grader, has become one of Spitler’s go-to passers this year.

Spiter noted that the Spartans’ issues this season have stemmed from an inability to put teams away when they’re at their most vulnerable. 

He specifically cited the team’s Oct. 18 match at defending Class B champion Lake Shore as an example. The Spartans led in all three games but failed to win any of them, falling 21-25, 23-25 and 23-25. 

“We’ve been very competitive with good teams,” he said. “We just don’t seem to have that ability to put them down. We don’t know how to finish them off.”

The Spartans hope they will have learned come Monday.

“We’re optimistic, if nothing else,” Spitler said. “I’ve got a great group of guys who deserve it. They’re just good, classy guys.”

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 10/29/13
Buffalo News
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rank WNY Coaches Poll PTS LW
1. Hamburg (10) 118 1
2. Canisius (2) 106 2
3. West Seneca West 80 3
4. Williamsville South 78 4
5. Lockport 59 5
6. Lancaster 57 8
7. Clarence 54 7
8. St. Joe's 35 6
9. Frontier 25 10
10. Orchard Park 22 9


2013 Fab 50
Volleyball Magazine
October, 2013


Name College Club Position HighSchool
Will Parke CSUN 949 OH Brea Olinda (CA)
Jack Yoder USC 949 S San Clemente (CA)
Lucas Yoder USC 949 OH San Clemente (CA)
Tucker Pikula UC Irvine Balboa Bay OH Mater Dei (CA)
Chad McCallister Pepperdine Balboa Bay L/OH Marina (CA)
Reid Dominquez UC Irvine Balboa Bay OH Orange Lutheran (CA)
Kevin Rakestraw Stanford Balboa Bay MH Newport Harbor (CA)
Jason Willahan LBSU Balboa Bay MH Mission Viejo (CA)
Jalen Penrose Penn State Beantown OH Cambridge Rindge & Latin (MA)
John Peachey CSUN Bones S Royal (CA)
Colby Magorien CSUN Bones OH Westlake (CA)
Clay Jones Stanford Coast OH La Jolla (CA)
Jake Reeves UCLA Coast S Torrey Pines (CA)
Miles Johnson Ohio State Coast OH La Costa Canyon (CA)
Nainoa Frank Hawaii Coast OH/OP Otay Ranch (CA)
Curtis Stallings LBSU Coastal S Grassfield (VA)
Gabriel Domecus Ohio State Diablo Valley OH St. Patrick-St. Vincent (CA)
Eric Sprague UCLA Diablo Valley MH Bentley (CA)
Zachary Gates LBSU HBC OP Huntington Beach (CA)
Jackson Bantle UCLA HBC OP/OH Loyola (CA)
Bryce Yould LBSU HBC MH Dana Hills (CA)
Kupono Fey Hawaii Ku’ikahi OH Punahou (HI)
Tanner Skabelund BYU Legacy OH West Ranch (CA)
Colin McCall Stanford MB Surf OH Vistamar (CA)
Ryan Kaseff UCSB MB Surf MH Mira Costa (CA)
Casey White Harvard MB Surf OH Mira Costa (CA)
Hagen Smith UCLA MB Surf S/L Loyola (CA)
Jagger Kroener Loyola MB Surf L Loyola (CA)
Chris Kennedy Princeton MB Surf OH/S Loyola (CA)
Adam Martell UCSD North Shore Milwaukee OP Kettle Moraine (WI)
Christian Blough Ohio State Pace Bootleggers S/OH McQuaid Jesuit (NY)
Michael Fisher UCLA Pacific Palisades S Oaks Christian (CA)
Oliver Martin UCLA Pacific Palisades OH Calabasas (CA)
Jennings Franciskovic Hawaii Pacific Palisades S Oaks Christian (CA)
Dane Keckin Hawaii Pacific Palisades OP Santa Monica (CA)
Bobby Curtis UCSB Santa Barbara OH/OP Nevada Union (NV)
Andy Benesh USC SCVC MH Palos Verdes (CA)
Cole Fiers Stanford SCVC S Palos Verdes (CA)
Grant Chalmers UCLA SCVC S/L Mira Costa (CA)
Riley Mallon USC SCVC OH Mira Costa (CA)
Alex Pia Ball State Southern Storm MH Johns Creek (GA)
Tom Beckman Lewis STL High Performance OP/OH SLUH (MO)
Connor Lammey Lewis Tampa Bay Invaders MH Avon Grove (PA)
Brendan Surane Ball State Ultimate MH Providence Catholic (IL)
Cyrus Fa’alogo BYU Utah Elite S Cooper Hills (UT)
Junior Oboh Princeton Warren SixPak MH Old Bridge (NJ)
Chris Nugent Penn State Warren SixPak OH Fair Lawn (NJ)
Aidan Albrect Penn State Warren SixPak OP Old Bridge (NJ)
Mitch Stahl UCLA Yorktowne OH Chambersburg (PA)
Mitch Stahl UCLA Yorktowne MH Chambersburg (PA)


Volleyball Hall announces Class of 2013
Buffalo News
Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Western New York boys volleyball Hall of Fame has announced its 2013 class. The class includes coach Thom Knab of Williamsville South, coach Rich Cicero of Sweet Home and volleyball official Peter Weinreich. The induction will take place Nov. 7 at Ilio DiPaolo’s Restaurant in Blasdell.

Knab has been the Billies coach since 1992, compiling a 226-212 record and earning division titles in 1993, 1994 and 2006. Knab said he was both surprised and honored by his selection and he was humbled to included in an Hall the also includes coaching greats Joe Gillespie of Eden, Charlie O’Brien of Cleveland Hill and Joe Foley of Lackawanna. 

Volleyball Magazine's 2013 Boys' Final Club Rankings
Mike Miazga
Friday October 25, 2013

Southern California and Hawaii dominate the boys' club rankings


1 949 18 Black 
The skinny: Ran the table at Junior Nationals with a perfect 11-0 mark. Lucas Yoder named tournament MVP. Won Boys’ Invitational title.

2 Balboa Bay 18 Hurley 
The skinny: Kent Kawaguchi, Jason Willahan, and Jimmy Webb were all-tournament selections in Reno.

3 SCVC 18 Quiksilver 
The skinny: Team won its first eight matches at Junior Nationals. Cole Fiers named all-tournament. Won Holiday Classic and Boys’ Classic titles.

4 MB Surf Nike 18s 
The skinny: Hagen Smith and Casey White named to Junior Nationals’ all-tournament team.

5 Coast 18 Quiksilver 
The skinny: Squad went 9-1 at Junior Nationals. Miles Johnson earned all-tournament honors.

6 The HBC 18 Tyler 
The skinny: Won its first five matches at Junior Nationals. Riley Mallon and Zach Gates named all-tournament. Placed third at Holiday Classic.

7 Ku’Ikahi 18 Roshambo 
The skinny: Finished with an 8-3 record and a top 10 finish at nationals. Took third at Boys’ Invitational.

8 Diablo Truth 18-1 
The skinny: Finished strong in Reno with wins in their final two matches. Placed third at Boys’ Classic.

9 Ultimate 18 Gold 
The skinny: Tied for fifth at nationals and scored win over fellow Chicago-area entrant Adversity. Mitch Weiler named to all-tournament team.

10 Adversity 18 Purple 
The skinny: A 6-3 finish to the season gives the Chicago area two top-ten 18s teams. Carlos Zambrano named to all-tournament team in Reno.


1 Ka Ulukoa M17 Mizuno 
The skinny: Hawaiian team went 11-0 en route to 17 Open crown in Reno. Larry Tuileta named tournament MVP.

2 SCVC 17 Quiksilver 
The skinny: Won nine matches at an extremely competitive Junior Nationals that saw three teams from Puerto Rico finish in the top 17. Vincent Pizzuti, Ian Schwan, and Chase Corbett grabbed all-tournament honors. Placed second in 18s at Holiday Classic.

3 Club Red 17 
The skinny: Arizona-based squad won its first seven matches at Junior Nationals. Billy Andrew named all-tournament.

4 MB Surf Nike 17s 
The skinny: Won six of its first seven matches at Junior Nationals and landed Jacob Tuioti-Mariner on all-tournament team.

5 Coast 17 Quiksilver 
The skinny: Outlasted No. 5 HLVBC in three at nationals, but then lost to them in sudden-death, one-set rematch. Won Junior Boys’ Classic.

6 Balboa Bay 17 Hurley 
The skinny: Won five of first six contests at Junior Nationals. Also won Boys’ Invitational title and took second at Boys’ Classic.

7 HLVBC 17 Nike 
The skinny: Won first five matches in Reno. Chandler Gibb named all-tournament.

8 MVVC 17 Red 
The skinny: Finished strong with five wins in Reno.

9 Yorktowne 17 Blue 
The skinny: Pennsylvania club went 7-3 at Junior Nationals.

10 LIVBC 17 National 
The skinny: Played six three-set matches in Reno.


1 The HBC 16 KC 
The skinny: Went 11-0 in matches and 22-1 in sets en route to Junior Nationals 16 Open title. T.J. DeFalco named tournament MVP. Also swept three key SCVA tournaments.

2013 National Champion HBC-16 KC

2 Balboa Bay 16 Hurley 
The skinny: Junior Nationals runner-up team placed Grant Friedman, Ryan Moss, and Matt Ctvrtlik on all-tournament team.

3 SMBC 16 Black 
The skinny: Finished 7-3 and in third place at nationals. Matt Douglas and Kyle Jasuta tabbed all-tournament.

4 Coastal B16 Navy 
The skinny: Virginia-based entrant went 9-1 in Reno and placed Brett Rosenmeier and Collin Scott on all-tournament team. Took third at Boys’ Invitational.

5 Bones 16 Black SC 
The skinny: Fourth Southern California team in Top 5. Went 6-3 at nationals.

6 Pacific Rim 16-1 
The skinny: Northern California entrant finished 7-2 in Reno. Joe Worsley named to all-tournament team.

7 Ultimate B16 Gold 
The skinny: Chicago-area squad went 6-3 at nationals with Paul Chmura being named all-tournament.

8 SCVC 16 Quiksilver 
The skinny: Overcame a slow start in Reno to win five of six matches. Nolan Sharp earned all-tournament honors.

9 Pace Bootlegger 161 
The skinny: Squad from Rochester, N.Y. Won seven matches at Junior Nationals.

10 Legacy 16 Elite 
The skinny: Started strong with wins in five of first six matches in Reno.


1 SCVC 15 Quiksilver 
The skinny: Won 10 matches and the 15 Open title in Reno. Casey McGarry named tournament MVP.

2013 National Champion SCVC-15 Quiksilver

2 Balboa Bay 15 Hurley 
The skinny: Went 8-3 in Reno with Colin McAllister, Noah Dyer, and Tanner Woods earning all-tournament accolades. Also placed third in 16s division at Holiday Classic.

3 West Allis Lightning B15 
The skinny: Tied for third at nationals and landed Mitchell Pralle and Scott Stadick on all-tournament squad.

4 Pali 15 Nike 
The skinny: Solid 8-2 mark at nationals. 
Scott Stoeckinger and Quentin Haarpainter named all-tournament.

5 949 15 Black 
The skinny: Posted eight wins at Junior Nationals. James Thomas named all-tournament.

6 Pacific Rim 15-1 
The skinny: Won five matches at nationals. Took fifth at Boys’ Invitational and Boys’ Classic.

7 MB Surf Nike 15s 
The skinny: Placed eighth at both Boys’ Invitational and Boys’ Classic.

8 The HBC 15 Adam 
The skinny: Went 8-4 in Reno and placed seventh at Boys’ Invitational.

9 NVVA 15 National 
The skinny: Virginia-based team tied for ninth at nationals.

10 Bay to Bay 15-1 
The skinny: Kyle Bugee named all-tournament at Junior Nationals.

St. Mary’s boys volleyball's finish as strong as start
By: Mike Pidanick, Metro Source | Sports
Friday October 25, 2013

A fantastic regular season is in the books for the St. Mary’s High School boys volleyball team. Now it’s on to the postseason and the Lancers are hoping to add to this year’s accomplishments with a Monsignor Martin Athletic Association championship. 

After showing it can run with the big boys all season long, St. Mary’s is looking to earn an opportunity to prove what it can do in the state tournament, as well. 

“We’ll have a good week of practice to get ready,” St. Mary’s coach Keith Koch said after the Lancers swept Cardinal O’Hara on Senior Night on Oct. 17. “It’s going to be a challenge but hopefully we can come out and play like we know we can.”

The Lancers will open MMAA postseason play on Oct. 29 against St. Joe’s. It was against those Marauders that St. Mary’s made its presence felt early in the season, knocking off the then-No. 1 team in Western New York in a memorable 25-18, 17-25, 25-23, 25-15 victory. The Lancers proved it was no fluke, sweeping visiting St. Joe’s on Oct. 11. 

That said, the playoffs are a whole new ballgame and St. Mary’s knows it will be in for another challenge. 

“We beat Joe’s twice in the regular season but they are a great team,” Koch said. “It’s going to take our best to be able to beat them in the playoffs.”

Top-seeded Canisius proved to be the biggest challenge for the Lancers, first winning a five-game thriller on Sept. 26. The Crusaders then repeated the feat on Oct. 15, beating the Lancers, this time in a sweep, 25-23, 25-23, 25-13. 

“We didn’t play our best against Canisius (in the second game), so that was a little disappointing,” Koch said. “But it’s only one match and we’ll regroup.”

The Lancers will be led by a number of key seniors coming off strong regular seasons, including hitters Wrobel and Tyler English and Marc Gonzalez. A pair of setters — senior Mark Gonzales and junior Jake Concannon — have also done well directing the offense. 

Hamburg spikers hit stride with tourney titles, win over West
By: Michael J. Petro | Sports
Thursday October 24, 2013

It has been a notable two weeks for the Hamburg boys volleyball team, and head coach Brian Carroll said he thinks he can pinpoint the turning point leading to it.

It was in pool play, during the first of what would become two tournament titles in as many weekends, in a match against Clarence. Carroll’s team trailed 23 – 18 and suddenly, Carroll said the light bulb went on and has stayed on since.

Hamburg went on to win that game 27 – 25 and clawed its way through to a title at the Orchard Park Tournament on Oct. 12, a night after defeating that same Clarence team in an Erie County Interscholastic Conference I divisional match.

BIG SPIKE — Hamburg’s Zach Yerrington lays down a spike as he continued to
lead Hamburg over Lake Shore on Monday. Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.


Since then, the Bulldogs have handed West Seneca West its first loss of the division season, to move into a first-place tie at 10 – 1, and captured the Hamburg Tournament as the hosts, on Oct. 19. They won a third and deciding set 15 – 13, to defeat Western New York’s top-ranked Canisius, in the tournament final. 

“We’re really getting there. We’re hitting the right speed at the right time,” said Carroll, whose team begins postseason play next week in Class B. “We’ve really turned the corner and now we’re in a good place.”

Sophomore setter Ryan Dils helped lead Hamburg to its latest hot streak. Carroll said he and Dils’ teammates call the athlete “Junior,” because Dils is playing at least a class ahead of his actual grade.

“He’s really grown up,” Carroll said. “We’ve been waiting for him to get to the level we knew he could play at.”

Dils is getting to set to a strong group of middles and outsides, led by Patrick Stroh and Doug Horbechawski, each of whom were given all-tournament honors at Hamburg. Returners from last season Zach Yerrington and Trevor Vail were also forces, during the Hamburg Tournament.

Carroll said another one of those turning points for his team was in beating West, which had been dominant in division play, throughout the season. Hamburg swept the Indians in three games.

During the Hamburg Tournament, after splitting two sets with Canisius in pool play, the Bulldogs took a long game one 31 – 29 and were on the cusp of a sweep with a 23 – 20 lead in the next game, but Canisius scored 5 unanswered, to force a third game. Hamburg got out to a 4-point lead and held on in game three. The Bulldogs had swept two games from Frontier, during the semifinal.

“When it was all said and done, 2 points separated Canisius and us over about 125 points,” Carroll noted. “That’s really rare that it’s that close.”

During the Orchard Park Tournament, Hamburg had a three-game match in the semifinals with what Carroll called an improving Saint Francis team, before defeating Clarence in three games. Yerrington was most valuable player, while Stroh and Vail made the all-tournament team. Eden finished as a quarterfinalist, dropping a 31 – 29 game to St. Francis. 

School year’s first Athletes of Month named at West
West Seneca Bee
Thursday October 24, 2013

Koehler, a senior on the boys volleyball team, led the team in kills during September with a total of 160 kills in nine games with an overall hitting percentage of .435 percent. He had match-high kills of 29 against Clarence in a five-game victory and 24 versus Canisius in a five-game loss to the top-ranked Crusaders.

Koehler, who us being recruited by several NCAA Division III programs, added 18 aces and 36 blocks over the same nine-game period.

“Evan is a very dynamic offensive player,” coach Brett Widman said. “He swings with a very heavy arm and is a versatile hitter at every position. He is one of the top outside hitters in Section VI and is an effective option when we need a crucial kill. His serving is very consistent and is probably the most effective hitter from the back row in Section VI. Evan has come through many times in tight matches and is always willing to swing for a kill when needed the most.”

Maryvale boys volleyball Excels
Cheektowaga Bee
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Maryvale’s boys volleyball team continued to roar along in ECIC Division III action recently, improving to 8-2 in league play with additional 3-0 victories. 

The Flyers’ two losses to date both came to perennial powerhouse Eden, including a 3-1 setback to the Raiders on Oct. 3. Seniors Tyler Nosal and Wayne Hunzinger were standout performers in that match, according to coach Andrew Murtha, as each contributed strong passing and defense.

Maryvale, which earned some good experience in its recent appearance at the Orchard Park Tournament, is hoping to perform well in this week’s final divisional contests against Cheektowaga (Tuesday) and Depew (Friday). Friday’s contest also serves as the Flyers’ Senior Night contest.

“We have steadily improved each week this season and hope to continue to get better, especially with blocking and defense, just in time to peak for the sectional playoffs,” Murtha said. 

EA boys volleyball squad seeking to maintain good play in postseason
East Aurora Bee
Thursday, October 24, 2013

East Aurora’s boys volleyball team is working to take coach Carl Cordes’ words to heart this season, as the Blue Devils are doing what they can to make this the “cash-in year” that Cordes proclaimed 2013 to be back at the beginning of the season.

“This program has taken a major step forward from where it was in 2012,” Cordes said. “I made a statement at the start of the season that this is a ‘cash-in year’ with all of the talented seniors we have on the roster. Fortunately, we are playing our best volleyball going into the playoffs and are primed to hopefully make a run into November.” 

Efforts like that in the Blue Devils’ 20-25, 11-25, 11-25 loss to Eden Friday are what Cordes points to when proclaiming to his squad that it’s a “cash-in year.” The Blue Devils were able to close a large gap in one game to just five points, 25-20, which Cordes said is the closest differential for a game within an East Aurora-Eden match in years. Front row players Ben Kutina and Thomas Bertoldini, meanwhile, “shut down some of the best hitters in Western New York with great blocking,” according to Cordes.

Brian Willert and Trevor Bentley, meanwhile, “received a standing ovation from the raucous crowd” according to Cordes after they showcased solid serving down the stretch of the Blue Devils’ 25-18, 25-9, 25-5 win over Holland two days earlier. “We dominated that game from start to finish with strong play across the court,” Cordes said.

East Aurora also showed it can swap roles at a moment’s notice depending on the need any given night during its 24-26, 25-20, 20-25, 19-25 loss to Cheektowaga on Oct. 11. The Blue Devils were missing four starters that match, but Cordes said that “players stepped into positions they had never played before and played wonderfully, including passing specialists Sawyer Oubre and Colin Ruhland, and outside hitter turned setter David Yerofeev.”

Another tough four-game loss came Oct. 3 at the hands of Depew. Senior captain Harry Hintz, who had come close to the school’s single-game kill record on several occasions this season, was dominant with double-digit kills from the outside hitter position. Fellow senior hitter Kevin Tierney enjoyed similar success, according to Cordes.

East Aurora closed out its regular season Tuesday at Amherst, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Blue Devils’ playoff fate was also not yet known when The Bee went to print.

OP Boys volleyball takes down St. Joe’s
Orchard Park Bee
Thursday, October 24, 2013

The boys volleyball team has never lost a match to St. Joe’s, and that continued with a hard-fought four-set victory on Oct. 8, 26-24, 11-25, 25-16, 25-19. At the time, St. Joe’s was ranked as the number two school in the Western New York Coaches Poll.

“After a split the first two games, our young team was able to chase St. Joe’s out of the gym,” said head coach Matt Lexner.

Martin Hackford provided nine kills, five blocks and two service aces in the match, while sophomore Jason Manley added six kills, three blocks and five aces.

Orchard Park followed that up with another impressive win against arch rival and number five-ranked Frontier in straight sets on Oct. 11.

“Those two huge wins have sparked a new attitude,” said Lexner.

However, the team dropped a match to Lancaster on Tuesday in straight sets, 16-25, 11-25, 23-25.

The Quakers have now broken into the top 10, ranked number nine in WNY with a 3-9 league record.

Success comes with size, experience for Lions’ boys volleyball
By: Tom Gallagher, Reporter | Sports
Wednesday October 23, 2013

When asked about his team’s success in the Niagara Frontier League this season, Lockport boys volleyball coach Joe Whalen raised a question of his own.

“Do you see how much size we have in the middle?,” he asked.

It’s hard not to see. At press time, the Lions were 9-0 in Niagara Frontier League play and 13-3 overall due in large part to size.

The average height of Lockport’s 16 players is over 6-foot-1 and only five of them stand under 6-foot. The team’s middle, junior Jason Donorovich, towers over opposing players at 6-foot-8. His backup, senior Shawn Moore, is 6-foot-6.

“We like to play two feet above the net when other teams are blocking a foot above the net,” said setter Jack Whalen, Joe’s son. “We literally want to be a step ahead of all the other teams and when we have a 6-foot-8 and a 6-foot-6 guy, it’s pretty easy.”

The Lions run a deceptive offense led by Jack Whalen, who sets his rangy hitters up for easy kills with regularity. Most of the Lions’ kills come from Donorovich. 

“I’ve never set to someone that tall that’s going to hit it that hard,” Jack Whalen said. “And I don’t think I’m the best setter but I’ve been playing volleyball a long time and working together with him makes a pretty good combo.”

Donorovich agreed, saying “It’s a lot of fun [playing with Jack Whalen] because he knows exactly where to put the ball every time I’m up. He really knows what to do, is really experienced and good at controlling everybody and telling everybody what to do.”

Jack Whalen does his job so well, in fact, that his father doesn’t pay him much attention on the court. 

“Jack gets to all the balls,” Joe Whalen said. “I always expect him to get to the ball and do what he has to do. So a lot of times I’m not paying attention to what he’s doing in his game because he’s consistent.”

Brad Schneider and Moore are also key hitters for the team. Eamon Yates holds the squad down defensively at libero while Bryce Perry and Jonah Ribbeck see floor time for the Lions. 

Joe Whalen noted that in addition to size, the Lions’ success is because they’re an experienced group. Of the team’s 16 players, 11 are seniors, and several of them play for different volleyball clubs throughout Western New York.

Also, some have been playing for Whalen since they were freshman — Perry, Yates and Jack Whalen are in their fourth varsity season, while seven others are in their third season, having been up since they were sophomores.

“With that kind of experience, they’ve been out here so long that nothing is really affecting them,” the elder Whalen said. “They’re used to playing at that level. This is the year we’re supposed to be good, with that kind of experience.”

Captained by Jack Whalen and Yates, the Lions have also had success in non-league matches. They’ve won tournaments at North Tonawanda and Williamsville South and were in the semifinals of a tournament at Clarence. 

Their only losses have come against fellow Section VI powers Clarence, St. Joe’s and Williamsville South. “They were all close matches. There’s no shame in it,” Joe Whalen noted.

The team’s dominance has certainly put a target on its back. Entering the second half of regular-season action, Whalen will try to convince his players not to let up.

“I try to explain to them that we’ve done nothing,” he said. “We still have the whole month to go. They need to refocus every day and not sit back on their goals. I’m sure we’re a target — they want to come in here and play their best game.”

Donorovich said that staying on top of their game is just a matter of hard work in practice and in games. He wants the team to set goals for itself every practice and move onto new ones when they accomplish them. 

Jack Whalen expressed confidence in the team’s ability to reach those goals and its ultimate one: a Niagara Frontier League title.

Iroquois boys volleyball wins first match during rebuild year
By: Mike Pidanick, Metro Source | Sports
Wednesday October 23, 2013

It’s a rebuilding year for the Iroquois High School boys volleyball team, which was forced to replace nine graduating seniors from last year’s club. The Chiefs feature an eighth-grader in the starting lineup and just one senior on the nine-man roster. 

It’s been a tough go for the Chiefs as they learn on the fly against some difficult competition, but in early October their hard work was finally rewarded with victory No. 1 on the season.

“It’s our first win of the season and I hope there are going to be a lot more,” junior middle hitter Will Taber said after a sweep of Holland on Oct. 10. “We’re getting a lot better.”

The Chiefs dropped their first 10 matches to start the season before getting into the win column. And Iroquois hopes that win over Holland is the start of things to come. 

“That’s certainly a positive for us,” coach Mark Schlabach said. “Obviously there still are things we can work on, serve receive, passing and some other stuff. But it’s nice to see these guys get a win. They work hard in practice so it was good to see that finally pay off a little bit.”

Iroquois has some big shoes — literally — to fill from last year. Among those lost to graduation were 6-foot-6 senior middle hitter David Tharnish and 6-5 senior outside and middle hitter Alex Popovski.

Iroquois does have some solid hitters, including Taber and junior outside hitter Matt Hiam, who “covers a lot of ground for us,” Schlabach said. Senior outside hitter Josh Hanley is also having a nice season. 

The man in the middle of the Chiefs’ attack is the youngest player on the team. Eighth-grade setter Zach Popovski has shown steady improvement and that’s a big reason for the better play for Iroquois. 

“He’s getting there,” Schlabach said. “That’s a lot to ask of an eighth-grader to run a varsity offense, but he’s doing pretty well for us.”

Ben Lang is the lone senior on the roster for the Chiefs, who also count on a pair of freshmen in outside hitters John Weremblewski and Austin Besch.

“We’re rebuilding, but we’re getting better every day in practice,” Schlabach said. Every contact we make we want it to count.”

Whalen guides 6-4 Niagara Wheatfield volleyball
By: Tom Gallagher, Reporter | Sports
Wednesday October 23, 2013

Kevin Whalen has played against a Jim Proefrock-coached volleyball team in the past. The 25-year-old was a member of the Lockport volleyball team in the mid-2000s and faced Proefrock’s Niagara-Wheatfield squad several times. 

He doesn’t find it strange that he’s coaching in place of him now. 

Due to an injury suffered by Proefrock late in the summer, the longtime Falcons’ coach forfeited his position for the season to Whalen, who was hired as the junior varsity coach last year. Whalen has led the team to a 6-4 record in the Niagara Frontier League (7-6 overall) so far this year.

“I think I respect him more as a coach by playing against him and the teams that he’s coached,” Whalen said of Proefrock. “This would have been his 12th year. He’s earned my respect coaching next to him seeing what he can do.”

Whalen’s roots in Niagara Frontier volleyball run deep. His father, Joe, is the head coach at Lockport, where his brother, Jack, is a setter. His coach in high school was his cousin, Chris Niver. Coming from a volleyball family, he developed a passion for coaching.

His first gig was as the modified girls coach for Chittenango Middle School in Syracuse, N.Y. When he caught wind of the junior varsity opening at Niagara-Wheatfield, he called the school and offered to take on the job.

Lending credence to his passion for coaching is Whalen’s commute from work to practice. A biology teacher at Lancaster High School, he makes the trek to Sanborn almost daily.

“It’s a long drive every day but the players keep it fun and worthwhile,” Whalen said.

That worthwhile feeling is mutual among the players. For some seniors, while transitioning to a new coach was different at first, senior setter and co-captain Austin Hayes said the players have responded to Whalen.

“It was pretty weird because for the past couple of years we’ve got to know Coach Proefrock’s strategy of how to play volleyball and we go to know what he expects,” Hayes said. “It was a whole different story because Coach Whalen has a different way of coaching volleyball.

“It was a very different mix-up of things but we got used to it and learned. He’s our coach now.”

Hayes has been a key player for the Falcons. The setter for the team’s 5-1 offense, he and fellow co-captain Joe Kelly have been consummate leaders on the senior-laden squad.

“Having those guys made the transition so smooth,” Whalen said. “I can go to them. They help keep other kids in line. They’ve been rocks.”

Kelly leads the back row, which both Whalen and Hayes agree is the team’s strength. Bolstered by senior Dylan Cobernus and juniors Michael Jacob and Albert Lewis, the defense has kept the Falcons in games against a slew of powerful opponents, including Lockport, Grand Island, St. Joe’s and Lancaster.

“One of the things that keeps us alive is our defense,” Whalen said. “Anyone on the court can pick up a ball. The defense has been excellent coming down the final stretch.”

“Everyone on the team is scrappy and we get up every ball that they hit over,” Hayes added. “We all try to dive and lay out for the ball.”

Offensively, Hayes has good chemistry with 6-foot-4 right-side hitter Tristin Ingalsbe. Whalen has liked the way Ingalsbe’s game has progressed.

“He’s come up the furthest with his hits and he’s our go-to guy now,” he said. “He’s got chemistry with Hayes, they run quick stuff and he’s just been pounding the ball so I think when teams come to play against us, they’re playing against him.”

The Falcons have also gotten regular contributions from a pair of middles, Sam Mattheus and Dan Ball. Whalen said Mattheus is very good at running a slide. He called Ball a “blocking maniac.”

Whalen noted that the team doesn’t have a real weakness, and as such, every player brings something positive to the floor. He said the Falcons’ mental game has come a long way since the beginning of the season. Hayes said that will help them accomplish their goal.

“Our goal was to be in the top three (in the NFL) because our team is full of seniors and we’ve been working so hard to get up to this point,” he said. 

The Falcons’ pursuit of a top three finish is still in motion. At press time, they had two games left on their league schedule — irst-place Lockport and third-place North Tonawanda. 

The Lumberjacks still have to face second-place Grand Island. If they lose to both the Vikings and Falcons, Whalen’s club has a chance at accomplishing its goal.

South boys volleyball wins Grand Island Tourney
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Williamsville South’s boys volleyball team dug itself a hole against West Seneca West in the final of the Grand Island Tournament Saturday, but the Billies climbed out to record a 22-25, 25-22, 25-18 victory.

“We have a tendency to dig ourselves a hole,” South coach Thom Knab said. “In the second game, we were down and they started to get on each other, so I called a timeout and told them ‘don’t look at each other but to each other.’ They started playing more as a team and encouraging each other and pulled it out.”

The first game of the final was the only game the Billies lost the entire tournament.

South went 6-0 in pool play, beating Niagara-Wheatfield, 25-20, 25-19, Kenmore West, 25-17, 25-6 and O’Hara, 25-10, 25-7, defeated West Seneca West, 25-17, and St. Mary’s of Lancaster, 25-22, in round robin play and Grand Island, 25-18, 31-29, in the semifinals. 

South is 19-2 overall.

Tournament MVP Anthony Podgorsak recorded 49 kills over 13 games.

All-Tournament Team selection Steve Zaprowski posted 17 service aces.

Christian Graziano added 20 blocks and Joe Zanelotti had 148 assists.

Knab also noted the play of right side hitter Ryan Nigro, libero Kenny Stuber and middle hitter Austin Baker.

South is 19-2 overall with their only two losses coming to Lockport.

The Billies are 11-0 in ECIC II and can wrap an undefeated league season against Williamsville East Tuesday, but information about the match was unavailable before press time.

South won the first meeting, 23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 Oct. 15.

South hosts Clarence Thursday in the team’s annual “Dig Pink” game for breast cancer research. South and Clarence players will wear pink shoelaces, South players will wear pink socks, the court will be lined with pink, and both teams will play with a pink, white and black ball.

East finishes second in ECIC II
Amherst Bee
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Williamsville East boys volleyball coach Mike Braunscheidel was hoping his team would play better as the season progressed, and they have.

The Flames sit in second place in ECIC II with a 9-2 record and 12-4 overall record.

“We hit a lull at the end of September to early October where we were not playing really well, but we continued to gain experience and squeak out some wins,” Braunscheidel said. “Our defense has improved and our offense has been consistent.”

East has played well during the past two weeks, beating Lake Shore for the first time ever, 25-22, 25-23, 25-18, Oct. 9 and downing Sweet Home, 25-23, 22-25, 26-24, 25-23, Oct. 10, and 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-18 Friday to earn second place in the league.

The Flames also played tough against ECIC II champion Williamsville South, 25-23, 22-25, 22-25, 23-25, Oct. 15. The rematch was Tuesday at South, but information about the match was unavailable before press time.

Senior outside hitter Mike Wisniewski – the team leader in kills - was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Sweet Home and Williamsville South Tournament.

Junior setter Pat Irving was named to the All-Tournament Team at the South Tournament.

The Flames have also had consistent play from senior Alex Wehrlin and junior Cort Williams (middle hitters), senior Eric Marecki (outside hitter), Irving and juniors Matt Millace (setter), Dylan Cicero (libero), Kyle Williams and Joe Adcock (weak side blockers).

East will play in the Section VI Class B quarterfinals on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

St. Joe’s volleyball Defeats Canisius
Ken-Ton Bee
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Marauders defeated the number one team in Western New York, Canisius, in a thrilling five-set match.

St Joe’s won the first two games, 25-19 and 25-16. But Canisius came on strong the next two sets, winning 17-25, 19-25.

In the deciding fifth game, St. Joe’s rebounded nicely and pulled out the victory, 25-19.

Kyle Kirchberger had a strong match at the net, registering 21 kills and 10 blocks. Brad Kreppel also played well, adding 10 kills and 26 digs.

Light week sees Clarence boys volleyball team finish on wrong side of 3-2 decision
Clarence Bee
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Clarence gave its best effort Wednesday, Oct. 16, in its bid to prevent West Seneca West’s boys volleyball team from posting a perfect divisional record this season, but in the end the Red Devils’ best wasn’t enough that night as they fell to the Indians, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25.

West — which ultimately lost to Hamburg two nights later to finished tied for the league title with an 11-1 mark — trapped Clarence in a couple of bad rotations, with the Red Devils lead 8-1 in the fourth game, which helped the Indians even the match out at two games each. The Indians, who also beat Clarence in five games earlier this season, jumped out to an early lead in the decisive game, but the Red Devils were able to chip away to have a shot in the end. Unfortunately, according to coach Kevin Starr, Clarence was called for some ball handling violations within the final three points.

“We knew when the season started that West was going to be at the top of the league, but this loss was extra tough because we had a two games to one lead on them,” Starr said. “West serves very, very well, and we just weren’t able to run our offense effectively. We were able to neutralize their two big hitters much better this time than we had the first time we played, so we like our chances if we see them again.”

Outside hitters Brandon Hill and Dale Payne had big nights for Clarence, with 15 and 14 kills, respectively. Middle hitter Ted Okon had eight blocks.

Clarence returned to action Tuesday with its Senior Night match against Frontier, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Red Devils close out their regular season Thursday at Williamsville South for the Billies’ “Dig Pink” match to benefit breast cancer research. Admission that night is $1, with all proceeds going to the cause.

In related news, Clarence’s JV boys volleyball team won at Williamsville East Thursday to give coach David Grabowski his 300th career win. Starr said that as far as he can ascertain, no JV coach in Western New York has ever approached such a milestone.

“Dave and I have coached together for 22 years, and almost every boy in our program has played for him before coming up to the varsity,” Starr said. “It was a JV-only match that he hit the milestone in, but the varsity team was there to share the win with him.”

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 10/22/13
Buffalo News
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rank WNY Coaches Poll PTS LW
1. Hamburg (10) 117 2
2. Canisius (2) 103 1
3. West Seneca West 79 3
4. Williamsville South 74 8
5. Lockport 67 4
6. St. Joe's 61 7
7. Clarence 59 5
8. Lancaster 42 6
9. Orchard Park 20 9
10. Frontier 16 10


Garbacz makes transition to heading Depew boys volleyball
By: Mike Pidanick, Metro Source | Sports
Monday October 21, 2013

Lindsay Garbacz wasn’t completely sure what she was getting into when she took the varsity head coaching position for the Depew boys volleyball team. But as the season progresses, things couldn’t be going much better for the new coach and her Wildcats. 

“At first when they told me I could have the job, I didn’t know how the boys would respond to having a female coach,” Garbasz said. “But you know what? They’re respectful, they hustle for me and I think right now we have a pretty good relationship. “

It’s shown on the court as well. After winning just four games all of last season, Depew had its fifth win by the end of September this season. 

While Garbacz is pleased with her team’s success, it was something she could see coming from the outset. 

I knew they had the potential to be good, so I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re surprising me,” she said. “They’re hustling and giving 110 percent every time.”

The Wildcats have also responded well to the first-year coach. A former standout athlete at Lancaster High School, Garbasz has previously served as the varsity girls volleyball coach at Tonawanda High School. 

“She’s working out great for us,” senior outside hitter Matt Federowicz said. “She’s taught us a lot of new plays; we’re doing a lot of new things on defense. It’s been a great season.”

Depew moved to 6-2 with a five-set ECIC-III win at rival Cheektowaga. The only two losses came to powerhouse Eden and a perennial-strong team in Maryvale. 

“We’re doing a lot better than last year,” said senior defensive specialist Matt Nichy, the other co-captain. “We’re doing a lot more plays, running a lot faster offense.” 

Federowicz, as a co-captain, leads a strong group of hitters that also includes junior Matt Wagner on the outside and senior Chris Karnyski in the middle. Junior setter Dylan Haak has also stepped up as a leader on and off the court and Nichy has excelled as a defensive specialist.

“These guys came into the season ready to learn,” Garbacz said. “They’re like sponges soaking up knowledge of the game. And I couldn’t ask for more hustle.”

Hamburg volleyball nets another win
Buffalo News 
Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hamburg’s boys volleyball success on Saturdays continued as the Bulldogs won their own Hamburg Tournament, beating Canisius in a tight final. Five of the eight teams in the eighth annual event are ranked among the top 10 in the WNY Coaches poll.

The Bulldogs and Canisius were evenly matched evidenced by the scores in the final, 31-29, 23-25, 15-13. Canisius fought back in the second set, scoring the last four points to win.

“They blocked us and they forced us into hitting errors because of the defensive pressure they put on us,” said Hamburg coach Brian Carroll.

The third game was just as close as the first two with seldom more than two points separating the teams. “It was very close and the games were played at a very high level,” said Carroll. “The third game was just a toss-up. When it’s only to 15 points, whoever comes out the gate the fastest has a big advantage.”

It was a rematch of last year’s final won by Canisius. Hamburg added the title to victories at Orchard Park, Sweet Home, and it was a finalist at Clarence. Sophomore setter Ryan Dils of Hamburg was named tournament MVP. Hamburg improved to 19-2.

Will South Wins Grand Island
Buffalo News 
Sunday, October 20, 2013

Anthony Podgorsak earned MVP honors as Williamsville South beat defending champion West Seneca West to win the Grand Island Invitational. The 12th annual event included 12 teams.

Podgorsak, a senior outside hitter, showed what he could do on defense as well as offense. “He was the best all-around player for them,” said tournament director Bill Schultz of Grand Island. “He played good defense and was an offensive threat in the front row from the left side. He was digging a lot of balls and putting it away for them.”

Earning berth on the all-tournament team were: Steve Zaprowski of South, Evan Koehler of West Seneca West, Nick Clancy of West Seneca West and Kyle Burns of Grand Island.

Grand Island Tournament Results
Buffalo News 
Saturday, October 19, 2013

12th Grand Island Tournament Finals Wmsv. South 22-25-25, W.S. West 25-22-18 Semifinals W.S. West 31-25, N. Tonwanda 29-20 Wmsv. South 25-31, Grand Island 18-29 Round Robin Play N. Tonawanda 25, Grand Island 22 N. Tonawanda 25, Nia.-Wheatfield 17 Grand Island 25, Nia.-Wheatfield 14 Wmsv. South 25, W.S. West 17 Wmsv. South 25, St. Mary’s 22 W.S. West 25, St. Mary’s 21 Pool A St. Mary’s 18-25, Grand Island 25-23 St. Mary’s 25-25, W.S. East 19-20 St. Mary’s 25-25, N. Tonawanda B 19-18 Grand Island 25-25, W.S. East 20-23 Grand Island 25-25, N. Tonawanda B 11-14 N. Tonawanda B 25-25, W.S. East 19-13 Pool B W.S. West 25-25, N. Tonawanda A 14-21 W.S. West 25-25, East Aurora 13-13 W.S. West 25-25, Niagara Falls 10-15 N. Tonawanda A 25-25, East Aurora 9-10 N. Tonawanda A 25-25, Niagara Falls 13-14 Niagara Falls 25-25, East Aurora 14-12 Pool C Wmsv. South 25-25, Nia.-Wheatfield 20-19 Wmsv. South 25-25, Kenmore West 17-6 Wmsv. South 25-25, O’Hara 10-7 Nia.-Wheatfield 25-25, Ken West 13-19 Nia.-Wheatfield 25-25, O’Hara 15-13 Ken West 25-19, O’Hara 20-25 

MVP: Anthony Podgorsak (Wmsv. South) All Tournament: Steve Zaprowski (Wmsv. South), Evan Koehler (W.S. West), Nick Clancy (W.S. West), Kyle Burns (Grand Island).

Hamburg Tournament Results
Buffalo News 
Saturday, October 19, 2013

Finals Hamburg 31-23-15, Canisius 29-25-13 Semifinals Hamburg 25-25, Frontier 20-23 Canisius 25-25, St. Joe's 20-12 POOL A St. Francis 25-25, Maryvale 20-17 Hamburg 25-25, Canisius 17-21 St. Francis 23-16, Hamburg 25-25 Maryvale 20-8, Canisius 25-25 St Francis 14-13, Canisius 25-25 Maryvale 10-8, Hamburg 25-25 POOL B St Joe's 25-25, Cheektowaga 13-7 Lancaster 25-25, Frontier 9-13 Frontier 26-18, St. Joe's 24-25 Lancaster 25-25, Cheektowaga 14-20 St Joe's 25-25, Lancaster 12-20 Frontier 25-25, Cheektowaga 13-10 

MVP: Ryan Dils (Ham) All tournament: Jay Baumann (Lancaster), Neil Conway (SJ), Brian Costello (Can), Trevor Gooch (Can), Doug Horbachewski (Ham), Patrick Stroh (Ham).

Hamburg boys spikers best Frontier in four
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Thursday, October 17, 2013

It is always a battle, whenever Frontier and Hamburg get together for a sporting event.

A lot was on the line Oct. 9, as boys volleyball teams from each school went toe-to-toe in a battle of Western New York-ranked teams near the top of Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division I.

The fourth-ranked Bulldogs got the best of Frontier, which is seventh in the coaches’ poll, in a four-set win. Hamburg, which improved to 7 – 1 in ECIC Division I play – one game behind West Seneca West – pulled away in the third and fourth sets, after Frontier tied the match in game two. 

The two-hour match took a toll on both teams and, with the most important games of the season still ahead, conditioning is in the minds of both coaches and players.

“We did enough to win tonight but, if we want to save our legs for the rest of the season, we have to learn to be more focused,” said Hamburg head coach Brian Carroll, who is in his 18th season at the helm. “It’s not just our team. Any team, at this point in the season, [wants] to win in three [sets] and get those games done, so you have your legs at the end of the season.”

Hamburg won the first set 27 – 25, before Frontier came back in the second and handled the Bulldogs 25 – 19. Hamburg was able to capitalize on some unforced errors and regain control of the match, winning the final two sets 25 – 19 and 25 – 21.

“Our passing broke down and we made a lot of unforced errors,” said Frontier head coach Bill Faust, about his team’s play in the third set. “Hamburg was kind of put back into a box and fought their way out.”

Hamburg got play from serving specialist Matt Touris, who came in and delivered five serves that allowed his team to build a sizable lead and pull away.

“He’s probably the smallest role on the team today, but he had the biggest part,” Carroll said. “He made five serves and had five digs, after the serve.”

Junior’s Zach Yerington and Doug Horbachewski also played decisive roles for Hamburg, during the match. Yerington came up with several plays that kept momentum in Hamburg’s favor, often off of passes from Horbachewski.

Frontier was without Dylan Durni, a Second-Team All Western New York selection, who is nursing an upper-body injury. He has been out the last two weeks and Faust said he expects him to miss another week at least, but is hopeful he will return soon after that, for the playoffs.

During that athlete’s absence, different players, who normally do not see as much action, have gotten more playing time.

“I am pleased with how we’re playing without him and I expect us to be that much better when he returns,” Faust said. “We’re learning to play very tough without him and I think we relied way too much on him, so we’re learning to play and win without him.”

Frontier Middle’s Tom Stoklosa and Pat Quinlivan have stepped up in extended roles, as well as Erik Hatten.

Hamburg will host a boys varsity tournament at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, which will feature some local and regional competition. The Bulldogs won last weekend's Orchard Park Tournament. The postseason will get underway soon after. Hamburg will compete in Class B, while Frontier looks to return back to the Class A final.

Eden Volleyball Spiking Foes
By: Sun Staff | Sports 
Thursday, October 17, 2013


Photo courtesy of Ron Larson

Hayden Herc knocks down a spike in a recent match. Eden has once again finished atop ECIC Division III and been competitive in tournaments as they ready for a potential Class B postseason run.

St. Mary’s boys volleyball wins consecutive matches
Thursday, October 17, 2013

Last week, the Lancers won back-to-back Monsignor Martin League volleyball matches against St. Joe’s and St. Francis on back-to-back days.

On Wednesday, St. Mary's defeated St. Joe’s— who at the time was ranked as the number two team in the Western New York Coaches poll — in straight sets, 25-16, 25-19, 25-23. The victory completed a regular-season sweep for the Lancers against St. Joe's.

St. Mary’s middle blockers dominated the match, as Tyler English racked up 16 kills and three blocks, while Matt Wrobel registered 11 kills and four blocks.

To help seal the victory, Austin Klink made key plays down the stretch and added five kills with two blocks.

“We were solid in all phases of the game and played with a great deal of confidence to defeat a very talented St. Joe’s team,” said head coach Keith Koch.

The next day, St. Mary's held on for a hard-fought, four-set victory against St. Francis 19-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-20.

Again it was the two senior middle blockers, English and Wrobel, who took control of the net. English had 18 kills and three blocks, and Wrobel had 15 kills and five blocks.

Outside hitter Marc Gonzalez provided the intensity and leadership necessary to defeat St. Francis on the road, adding seven kills and 12 digs.

Setter Jake Concannon ran a very efficient offense, finishing with 42 assists.

The two victories improved St. Mary's record to 5-1 in league play this season.

Knab humbled by volleyball hall of fame selection
Wednesday October 16, 2013

When Thom Knab was informed he was selected for induction into the 2013 Western New York Boys Volleyball Hall of Fame, a range of emotions flooded his mind.

“I was very surprised and honored to receive it and humbled knowing the coaches who have been inducted ahead of me like Joe Gillespie (Eden), Charlie O’Brien (Cleveland Hill) and Joe Foley (Lackawanna),” said Knab, Williamsville South’s boys volleyball coach.

Knab, an Iroquois graduate, will be inducted at a banquet on Thursday, Nov. 7, at Illio DiPaolo’s Restaurant in Blasdell. Also earning induction will be Rich Cicero (Sweet Home) and Peter Weinreich (volleyball official).

Coach Thom Knab

Dennis Gooch, WNY Volleyball Hall of Fame chairperson, said in a letter to Knab that he was selected “as a result of the impact you have made on the game of high school boys volleyball in Western New York and the many student athletes, coaches and officials whose lives you have touched.”

Knab has served as a great ambassador the WNY volleyball community during the past 30 years.

He has been South’s varsity boys volleyball coach since 1992, amassing a 226-212 record. His teams earned division titles in 1993, 1994 and 2006.

Before coaching at South, Knab had a six-year stay at Clarence from 1984 to 1989 and started Holland’s boys volleyball program in 1990.

Knab also started the Clarence Tournament in 1987 and the Williamsville South Tournament in 1992.

Knab also was an ECIC chairperson from 1990 to 1994, New York State Section VI chairperson from 1995 to 1997 and president of the WNY Volleyball Coaches Association from 1994 to 2006.

He also was an assistant coach for the Empire State Games men’s scholastic volleyball team in 1989 and 1990.

Knab said he is most proud of when former players go into coaching. Former players who are coaching include Spencer McIntyre (South JV boys volleyball), Tom Sproull (South varsity girls volleyball) and Mike Lucia (Cicero-North Syracuse varsity boys basketball).

Knab, an art teacher at Dodge Elementary since 1990, is also president of the New York State Art Teachers Association.

WSW pulls out five-set win
Buffalo News 
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Third-ranked West Seneca West overcame a flat start and inconsistent play to earn a five-set win over No. 5 Clarence in ECIC I boys volleyball.

After winning two of the first three sets, Clarence jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the fourth. But West Seneca West got going.

“We slowly clawed our way back to 13-13,” West Seneca West coach Brett Widman said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we started getting better passing and then we went on a roll.”

The Indians won that game, 25-20, then took advantage of a Clarence miscue to earn a 25-23 win in the deciding fifth game.

“Tonight was big ups and big downs,” Widman said. “It was just inconsistent for both teams. We did not play our best, but it says a lot that we were down 8-1 and were able to come back and tie it.”

Senior Dan Feeney had 11 digs and five aces while senior Josh Lund came off the bench in the second game to play the middle and had several key blocks.

West Seneca West improved to 12-2 overall.

Crusaders on target
Buffalo News 
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

No. 1 ranked Canisius hit at almost a .400 percentage (.393) and swept St. Mary’s in straight sets (25-23, 25-23 and 25-13) to clinch at least a tie for the Monsignor Martin Association boys volleyball title. 

“The first set was close. We survived and really played well in the second and third sets,” said Canisius coach Tom Weislo.

Trevor Gooch had 17 kills for the Crusaders. Senior Brendan Blake hit .500 with 10 kills and freshman Griffin Schmidt had seven kills for a .778 percentage.

Clarence Boys volleyball downs Lancaster, falls twice to Hamburg in under 24 hours
Clarence Bee
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Clarence’s boys volleyball team won a classic five-game defensive battle with Lancaster Wednesday, but Hamburg proved to be an entirely different beast as the Red Devils lost to the Bulldogs in league play Friday before falling to them again in the finals of the Orchard Park Tournament not even 24 hours later.

After winning two of the first three games (28-26, 22-25, 25-19) against Lancaster, and after taking an 18-9 lead in the fourth game, Clarence saw its chances at winning narrow after allowing the Redskins to go on a 16-4 run the rest of the game to fall, 22-25.

“That was a monumental collapse on our part — the kind that can get into a team’s psyche and mess up the next game,” coach Kevin Starr said.

Senior middle hitter Ted Okon helped put the decision away in the fifth game, however, picking up one of his 15 kills for the match to close out the contest. Okon added eight blocks. Senior outside hitters Dale Payne and Brandon Hill each added 10 kills, while senior setter Skyler Reinhardt and junior Matt Dempsey “are both doing a great job of quarterbacking the offense,” according to Starr. “They get more in synch with our hitters with each match.” 

“This really was just another epic ECIC Division I match, and both teams deserve tons of credit for a fantastic fifth game,” Starr said. “Clarence and Lancaster are two of the top defensive teams in Western New York. As any coach will tell you, defense wins matches, and in this one, both teams were blasting the ball — but both teams were also digging the hits up.”

Clarence then took on Hamburg for the fourth time this season on Friday, and as was the case in the earlier league clash and the finals of the Sweet Home Tournament, Hamburg came out on top, 19-25, 25-22, 15-25, 11-25. Clarence “dug holes for ourselves” in games three and four, Starr said, “and our passing was as bad as it’s been all season.” In the end, those slow starts and the Red Devils’ inability to adjust well enough defensively proved to be their downfall.

“Hamburg has been our toughest opponent this year, and they were just too much for us in this one,” Starr said. “Not adjusting well on defense was a disappointment. Until this match, they’ve responded very well to the adjustments that I’ve asked them to make. This took us out of our offensive game plan, and Hamburg was able to capitalize.”

Clarence then returned to action the next morning with its participation in the annual Orchard Park Tournament. The Red Devils swept Lake Shore and St. Francis in pool play to set up a showdown with Hamburg for first place in the pool. Despite a similar outcome (26-28, 23-25 defeat), Starr was encouraged by his team’s play against the Bulldogs.

“We played them very evenly in pool play,” Starr said of the Hamburg pool play match. “We knew that if the playoffs went the way we thought they might, we’d have another crack at them in the finals.”

Things played out just as Starr and the Red Devils had hoped they would, with Clarence topping the host team in the quarterfinals and then St. Joe’s — the second-ranked team in Western New York’s top-10 poll the previous week — in the semis to set up yet another matchup with Hamburg in the finals. The Bulldogs won the first game, 25-23, but Clarence came back to win the second game, 25-21, to set up a decisive third game — which Hamburg won, 15-6.

“Obviously it was a disappointment, but I’ve told the boys to try to judge the season in one-day increments, asking, ‘Are we better than we were 24 hours ago?,’” Starr said. “The answer this time was certainly yes.”

Okon and Payne, Clarence’s top players on the day, were both named to the all-tournament team.

Clarence returns to action this evening against undefeated league foe West Seneca West, which defeated the Red Devils in five games at West a couple of weeks ago.

“Since we lost to them, we’ve gone to a different offensive setup, and we’re better defensively than we’ve been all season,” Starr said. “It should be a great match.”

Ken East boys volleyball tops Ken West in 114th matchup
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The boys rivalry between Kenmore East and Kenmore West is one of the longest standing in Western New York, and in the 114th matchup between the schools, East had its cleanest game of the year to win 25-17, 25-19, 25-14.

“We put it all together and played almost mistake free,” said East head coach Kyle Horvatis. “Our passing was outstanding and it was our cleanest game we played all year. I told them it was the best game they played this season.”

The win moved East to 4-6 in league play, while West dropped to 1-8.

“East simply played better than us,” said Blue Devils head coach Gary Tocke. “We really only had a few guys play well in that match. We battled but didn’t have a ton of offense. East had a bit more than us, but for a while there it was a close match.”

East leads the overall series 59-55, and has also won the last six matches against West.

For the Bulldogs, Tom Vancuran led the way with 10 kills in the match. He also helps run East’s 6-2 offense along with Rob Mol as the team’s two setters.

The Bulldogs only senior, right side hitter Tom Barton, also had a strong match posting seven kills.

“We had a lot of guys help chip in for a full team effort,” said Horvatis. “Our libero, Jeff Wolf, passed 90 percent of the balls and they were all really good. He helped us win, and we played well as a team due to our great passing.”

Kenmore East’s Tom Barton, left, and Rhett Boswell close
for a block in their battle against Kenmore West. East
was able to win in a clean sweep. Photo by Jim Smerecak

As for the Blue Devils, first year senior and middle blocker Noah Whalen led the team with six kills. Whalen, who also plays basketball, has transferred his athletic ability to volleyball and has been one the team’s most improved players.

“He was the highlight of our team against East,” said Tocke. “He has a lot of athletic ability, which I always welcome, and he is a go-getter. Whalen is a ball of fire and gets excited on the court in such a positive way, which has really been a tremendous asset to our team.”

Tocke added that Whalen has improved his blocking and has been the team’s best offensive weapon the last five matches. “I really feel bad he didn’t play last year for me. He picks up things so quickly and has progressed all season.”

Both coaches agreed how important the rivalry is, and how all of the athletes were geared up to play again.

“For the players it’s huge,” said Horvatis. “It means a lot to them, they were really looking forward to it and were pumped up.”

Niko Mancuso of Kenmore West High School tries to
block the ball after it was hit by Ben Leising from Kenmore
East High School during a rivalry volleyball game held at
Ken East on Friday. Photo by Jim Smerecak

“When you play against the other side it’s a war,” said Tocke. “It doesn’t matter if it’s checkers or dominoes. Whoever wins, they are the kings of Kenmore.”

Tocke is no stranger to the East vs. West rivalry. He started the boys volleyball program at East in 1968 and coached there for 41 years.

After retiring, he sat out for only season, and crossed town to coach West for the past four seasons.

Of the 114 total matches between the two schools, Tocke has only missed two.

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 10/15/13
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rank WNY Coaches Poll PTS LW
1. Canisius (10) 117 1
2. Hamburg (4) 98 4
3. West Seneca West (2) 96 3
4. Lockport (1) 74 5
5. Clarence 64 8
6. Lancaster 56 6
7. St. Joe's 41 2
8. Williamsville South 30 10
9. Orchard Park 29 NR
10. Frontier 24 8


Maryvale boys spikers set lofty goals after upsetting end to 2012
By: Marquel Slaughter, Reporter | Sports
Monday October 14, 2013

As a large portion of the roster has graduation upon them, this year’s boys volleyball team at Maryvale feels as if it’s time to go big or go home.

The core of the team is reliant upon the play of their three returning all-stars among a senior class of eight. Co-captain Ryan Robida is the senior setter and a First Team ECIC III selection last year. His classmates Tyler Nosal and Jordan Teed were Second Team selections.

Senior Wayne Hunzinger joins Robida as the other co-captain, while the rest of this upperclassmen group includes Joey Germann, Tyler Foster, Derek Kaczorowski and Justin Vanderwalker. Junior Mike Walizada and eighth grader Jordan Nosal round out the roster.

“It’s just a good group of guys,” Robida said. “Before anything, we have more fun than any of the other teams by far.”

“We’ll be solid,” said coach Andy Murtha, who’s main goal for his team this year, as always, is to have fun. Some of their other goals are “to not only beat teams, but to beat them 3-0, get the highest seed possible and not get upset in the first round.”

Last fall, Maryvale was seeded fifth and was swept by No. 12 North Tonawanda in the pre-quarterfinals. It left a bad taste in the Flyers’ mouth.

“We had a good season, it’s just that we finished second (in the division) and we wanted to finish first...then we get into the playoffs and we didn’t do anything,” Hunzinger said. “We sat down and let them walk all over us. It’s like we didn’t belong there when we should’ve just swept them.”

Another goal of the Flyers was winning the division, but that may be out of reach now. They have often finished second behind Eden in ECIC III, and, like last season, their only two league losses this season have been served up by the Raiders.

Having lost the first meeting, they hoped to at least split with the defending champions, but lost to them in four games at home on Oct. 3.

“We honestly played right to their level, if not better,” Hunzinger recounted of the first meeting. “We were up the first game and could’ve easily took it. They came back and got us 26-24 and took over our ego.”

The Flyers now look to end their season no lower than second place, along with going deep into the postseason.

They head to Holland today before participating in tournaments at Orchard Park (Oct. 12) and Hamburg (Oct. 19). They’ll end their season at home versus Cheektowaga (Oct. 22), Starpoint (Oct. 23) and Depew (Oct. 25).

U.S. Beach Teams Take Gold, Silver
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 13, 2013)

The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross took gold while the men’s team of Phil Dalhausser and Casey Jennings settled for silver on Sunday at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

In the women’s final, Walsh Jennings (Saratoga, Calif.), who is married to Casey Jennings, and Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded No. 10 in the main draw, outlasted Germany’s No. 5 Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, 19-21, 31-29, 15-12 in 1 hour, 5 minutes. Walsh Jennings and Ross won $33,000 for the victory.

In the men’s final, No. 18 Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Jennings (Las Vegas) lost a battle to Brazil’s No. 2 Pedro Solberg Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt, 23-21, 19-21, 15-13 in 1:07.

To view complete release, visit

Hamburg wins OP Invitation by beating Clarence
Buffalo News
Sunday, October 13, 2013

Zach Yerington earned MVP honors as Hamburg beat Clarence in the final to win the 28th Orchard Park/Walt Stefani Volleyball Invitational.

The title was the first for the Bulldogs since 2005. The Hamburg middle blocker earned the honor after he neutralized Clarence’s two big middles, forcing them to aim elsewhere.

Hamburg and Clarence saw plenty of each other during a 24-hour span. They met on Friday in an ECIC I match won by Hamburg in four games. They met in pool play in the tournament with Hamburg winning two close ones, 28-26 and 25-23, then they met again in the finals.

Trevor Vail and Pat Stroh of Hamburg were named all-tournament. Also making the team were: Neil Conway of St. Joe’s, Tom Euszkiewicz of St. Francis, Ted Okon of Clarence and Dale Payne of Clarence.

Stefani’s name was added to the event to honor the recently retired coach.

Results from the Midlakes Tournament
Buffalo News
Sunday, October 13, 2013

Championship Canisius 25-25, Midlakes 6-15 Semifinals Canisius 25-25, Baldwinsville 15-21 Pool play Canisius 25-25, Liverpool 22-22 Canisius 25-25, Oswego 22-11 Canisius 25-25, Horseheads 15-18
All-tournament team: Trevor Gooch, Brian Costello

Results from the Orchard Park Tournament
Buffalo News
Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pool A St. Joe's 25-25, Eden 18-22 Orchard Park 25-25, Maryvale 13-23 St. Joe's 25-25, Orchard Park 19-19 Eden 25-25, Maryvale 11-13 St. Joe's 25-25, Maryvale 13-10 Eden 25-25, Orchard Park 18-18 Pool B Hamburg 25-25, St. Francis 18-21 Clarence 25-25, Lake Shore 11-13 Hamburg 25-25, Lake Shore 10-19 Clarence 25-25, St. Francis 22-7 Hamburg 28-25, Clarence 26-23 St. Francis 25-25, Lake Shore 8-16 Quarterfinals St. Francis 31, Eden 29 Clarence 30, Orchard Park 20 Semifinals Clarence 31-25, St. Joe's 29-23 Hamburg 25-24-15, St. Francis 11-26-9 Finals Hamburg 25-21-15, Clarence 23-25-6 

MVP: Zach Yerington (H). All-tournament: Neil Conway (SJ), Tom Euszkiewicz (SF), Ted Okon (C), Dale Payne (C), Trevor Vail (H), Pat Stroh (H)

Unbeaten Lockport boys spikers make quick work of Ken East
By: Tom Gallagher, Reporter | Sports
Friday, October 11, 2013

Lockport boys volleyball coach Joe Whalen knows his Lions needs to stay on top of their game if they want to ride their early-season success to a Niagara Frontier League title.

That didn’t pose an issue on Friday night.

The Lions improved to 8-0 in Niagara Frontier League action with a straight-sets home victory over Kenmore West, 25-9, 25-10 and 25-9. Whalen was happy with the Lions’ relentlessness. 

“All you need to do is back off and somebody is going to get you,” he said. “Ken West has a younger team, and you run the risk of backing off with them. So I was real pleased with that tonight.”

In not “backing off,” the Lions played at a pace they would play at during any tightly-contested match. 

“I told our guys that they have to play at the speed that they’re going to play against when they face top competition,” Whalen noted. “They played with good, crisp speed, had nice combinations and were hitting the ball hard.”

“You want to play every game like you’re facing a team that’s undefeated and in the sectional finals,” middle Jason Donorovich said. “You want to keep playing – and playing hard.”

The team certainly played hard against the Blue Devils, making quick work of their opponent in all three sets. The Lions had a chance to work on areas of their game that needed fine tuning. Whalen was particularly pleased with the team’s jump-serving, which lent a hand in the Lions’ 10 aces.

“We had some good jump serves tonight and it was a good game to work on them,” he said. “It’s a risk, because all you need to do is miss it and give the other team the momentum. But we did a pretty good job on serving.”

Donorovich was one of the team’s top players. Based on unofficial stats collected by The Source, the 6-foot-8 junior finished with 18 kills, four aces and four blocks. 

“Jason Donorovich played a real strong game,” Whalen said. “I thought he got up and hit the ball well.”

Senior captain and setter Jack Whalen, Joe Whalen’s son, had 27 assists. Junior outside hitter Brad Schneider added nine kills. Senior outside hitter Bryce Perry chipped in 11 digs; senior captain and libero Eamon Yates had 10.

Whalen’s group, now 13-3 overall, tore through its NFL foes the first half of the season. Its only losses came in non-league matches against Section VI powers St. Joe’s, Clarence and Williamsville South.

The Lions continued the NFL portion of their schedule when they played Grand Island on Tuesday, Oct. 8 in a big match between the league’s top teams.

“That game could be the difference of us winning the NFL outright or if we share it,” Joe Whalen said. “We need to be ready for it. They only have one loss and it came against us.”

Preparing for the contest entails focus and hard work in practice, he said. His son bolstered that sentiment.

“I think a lot of (our hard work) comes from the nervousness of someone coming and beating us,” Jack Whalen said. “We don’t want that to happen, so we won’t let it. With the skill have, we have a lot more control over our game than other teams do.”

OP Boys volleyball trying to find its groove
Orchard Park Bee
Thursday October 10, 2013

In a season that has seen more parity than in recent memory, the Quakers got off to a slow start but have been starting to find its groove as time goes on. The starting lineup is almost brand new as the program graduated five starters last season.

“The parity this year is something that hasn't been seen since the 1980s,” said head coach Matt Lexner. “We are off to a slower start than others, but recently we have started to compete a lot better.”

The Quakers lost to eighth ranked Clarence in four games and then barely lost to third ranked West Seneca West in five games. “We are hoping to break through this week,” said Lexner. “Our biggest strength so far has been our blocking. If we can get our floor game and passing up to that level, a lot of things will start rolling our way.”

Orchard Park is led by their only returning starter, setter Nolan McArdle.

“He is our captain, a great competitor and is able to raise his teammates level of play,” said Lexner.

Lexner is back as the sole head coach for the first time since 2001 to 2005.

After that season, Walt Stefani returned to the bench to coach when his son entered high school as was a four-year starter.

“I will miss Walt a lot, however I am very excited to be back at it again as the main guy,” said Lexner. “All the preparation, planning, and decisions are solely mine and my players. I missed that part of it. Moving forward, we must continue to grow the game and get our players playing year round.”

The Quakers square off against Frontier on Friday, and Hamburg on Wednesday, both of which are at home.

High hopes remain for St. Francis volleyball to make run
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Thursday, October 10, 2013

A, B, and C are more than just the first three letters in the alphabet for the Saint Francis volleyball team.

Ability, belief and confidence are three concepts head coach Andy Lanigan preaches to his team, on a daily basis. Despite an overall record of 3 – 9, the Red Raiders head coach Andy Lanigan said his team has been making strides to accomplish its season-long goals, using those concepts.

“Our record does not indicate how well we are playing,” Lanigan said. “The scores in the paper don’t replicate how well we are playing, right now. The sky is the limit for these guys and they know it.”


SETTING — Jack Moretti sets the ball in a match earlier this season.
He has helped provide St. Francis with hope, this year.
Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.

On Oct. 2, the Red Raiders fell in straight sets to top-ranked Canisius in a tightly-contested match. The Crusaders have been the class of the Monsignor Martin division, winning 13 straight championships.

St. Francis was within a point in game one, 17 – 16, before Canisius won 8 of the game’s final 11 points. The Red Raiders had a 5-point lead three separate times in the second game, before a controversial call seemed to turn the momentum in the visitor’s favor.

With a 5-point advantage, the Red Raiders’ return hit the ceiling and looked to come down on their own side. The Canisius defender then extended up around the net and, in the eyes of the Saint Francis staff, reached over, which many said should have resulted in a violation.

“I think that’s the game-changer right there,” said Lanigan, whose team was playing in its annual Blackout Game. “If we win that game, who knows what happens in game three; then, this place goes nuts.”

St. Francis has been led by a senior class featuring Tom Duzkiewicz. Nicknamed “The Hammer,” Duzkiewicz is a three-year varsity starter and Second-Team All-Catholic selection. Lanigan said that Duskiewicz is respected and well-liked by his teammates.

Seniors Jack Moretti and Nick Novak are also two key players. Moretti contributes height and offense, while the smaller Novak brings versatility. Lanigan said he has been impressed with the play of sophomore Jake Kaempf.

At the Canisius game, the students were loudly behind their team, rooting hard, every serve. Lanigan and his staff said that they have noticed the outpouring of support, not only at volleyball games, but at all sporting events thus far, this school year.

“The culture here at Frannies is starting to change,” said Lanigan. “We saw it at homecoming; we saw it at our Rock the Red game and you’re seeing it at other sporting events. The senior class, I have to give them credit for trying to put us [back] on the map.”

Lanigan said that his team can make some noise, come the playoffs, regardless of where it sits in the standings. St. Francis is in fourth behind Canisius, St. Mary’s and St. Joe’s. Until then, there is still a lot of volleyball to be played and a lot of time for chemistry to develop.

“We have to learn to win,” Lanigan said. “We play anybody, anywhere, anytime, any place, and it’s only going to make us better. We started the season with five games on the road and I did that for a reason, because I want our guys to be battle tested, to know that they can play with anybody in Western New York and I think we can.”

Seniors leading Wildcats boys volleyball to 7-2 record
Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Depew boys volleyball team has surged to a 7-2 overall record thanks to strong play from four starting seniors.

“Our four seniors, Matt Nichy, Matt Federowicz, Chris Karnyski, and Sean Stablewski, have led us to our record,” said first year head coach Lindsay Garbacz.

“The seniors have provided the leadership necessary for us to be successful.”

Depew has victories against Cheektowaga, Holland, Amherst and East Aurora this season. Throughout the season, Federowicz has been the go-to outside hitter.

“He is the crucial component to our success,” said Garbacz. “He can always provide a key float serve, a perfect pass, and the attitude the team needs in order to succeed. He is a leader of the team due to his positive and hard working attitude.”

Along with Federowicz is co-captain Nichy who also provides offense as the other outside hitter.

Karnyski is the team’s number one middle blocker, and fittingly he leads the Wildcats in blocks on the season.

“He leads the teams in blocks in the middle, but also leads by example with his strong work ethic, both on and off the court,” said Garbacz. “He is the first one at practice, setting up the net, and making sure the team stays focused during practice.”

Stablewski, who is a three-sport athlete, provides plenty of positive energy during games, which Garbacz said has helped to catalyze some victories.

Besides the seniors, Depew has two juniors who also contribute — Eric Wagner as an outside hitter and Dylan Haak at setter. 

Wagner frequently puts his body on the line, diving for digs, and is one of the most consistent passers for Depew. “Nothing hits the ground in front of him,” said Garbacz.

While Haak is well-known to hustle all over the court.

“His hustle and heart allow him to improve with every single practice,” said Garbacz. “He works hard every day, and is an all-around athlete.”

Garbacz herself was an all-around athlete as well. She was a first team all-state volleyball player at Lancaster, and continued her career in college playing Canisius.

In addition, she also played softball at Canisius as well. Before taking over Depew, Garbacz coached one year as assistant girls coach at Lancaster in 2010, and the past two years she was the head coach for the varsity girls at Tonawanda.

Amherst boys defeat Holland, drop road matches
Amherst Bee
October 9, 2013

Amherst’s boys volleyball team (2-8, 2-6) dropped two of its three road matches last week, falling to Eden, 11-25, 10-25, 13-25, Oct. 1 and Williamsville North, 11-25, 14-25, 15-25, Friday and beating Holland, 25-14, 25-6, 25-20 Thursday.

“We had a lot of fun this week,” Amherst coach Peter Wlosinski said. “We pushed ourselves to play our best against some strong opponents. It was great to see our team come together and smile through the adversity we faced. By the end of the week, we’re cheering as a team and really supporting each other on the court.”

Leading the Tigers against Holland were: Evan Hall (11 kills, eight aces), Greg Zimmerman (two kills, seven digs), Alex Touma (13 assists, seven aces), Ethan Ahuna (five aces), Ben Touma (six digs) and Dante Merrill (five assists, seven digs).

Amherst hosted Williamsville East in a non-leaguematchTuesday, but information about the match was unavailable before press time. They host Maryvale Wednesday and travel to Depew Friday.

“Even though we lost to both teams, we are eager for another chance to compete,” Wlosinski said. 

Quarter century of OP dominance ended by boys volleyball squad
Clarence Bee
October 9, 2013

Clarence’s boys volleyball team did something Oct. 1 that no Red Devils squad in more than a quarter century: earn a regular-season sweep of Orchard Park, and leave Orchard Park’s gym with a 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-14 victory in the process.

Senior outside hitter Brandon Hill had seven kills on the night, while fellow senior Dale Payne also had seven kills and added 15 points jump serving, including seven in the fourth game. Junior David Cummiskey had six kills, while senior Derek Burghardt added five as coach Kevin Starr noted that the Red Devils’ two-setter offense, led by senior Skyler Reinhardt and junior Matt Dempsey, “is starting to click.”

“We’ve beaten them in home matches, tournament pool play, a tournament final and a sectional final over the course of the last 25 years, but never on their court,” Starr said. “It might be even longer than 25 years since a Clarence team was able to beat them on their home court. It was definitely a night of firsts.”

Clarence followed up the historic win over Orchard Park with a 25-14, 25-18, 25-18 win over Williamsville North two days later. 

Hill led the way in what Starr called a complete team victory with 11 kills.

“All 13 guys on the team directly contributed to this win,” Starr said. “North is a little down this year — they’re probably a year away from being a contender again — and the boys played effectively and methodically. This is something that strong teams have to do no matter who is on the other side of the court.”

Clarence returns to action this evening at Lancaster and then travels to Hamburg Friday before partaking in Saturday’s Orchard Park Tournament.

Clarence’s David Cummiskey, at left in background, and Ted Okon,
at right in background, return to their feet after a successful
block during the Red Devils’ 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-14
win Oct. 1. Photo by John NormilePurchase color photos

“We beat Lancaster in four games the first time we played and we lost to Hamburg in five games the first time around in what were both typical ECIC Division I battles this year,” Starr said. “These league matches are especially important, since our league record will determine our sectional seeding at the end of the season.”

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 10/8/13
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rank WNY Coaches Poll PTS LW
1. Canisius (9) 111 1
2. St. Joe's 104 2
3. West Seneca West (2) 95 3
4. Hamburg 70 4
5. Lockport (1) 69 5
6. Lancaster 56 7
7. Frontier 47 8
8. Clarence 37 6
9. Eden 31 NR
10. Williamsville South 25 9


Lockport Tournament Results
Buffalo News
Saturday, October 5, 2013

Finals Lockport 25-25, Eden 9-20 Semifinals Eden 20-25-24, Nia.-Wheatfield 25-16-14 Lockport 25-25, Wmsv. South 16-20 Gold pool North Tonawanda 25-25, Starpoint 18-22 Eden 25-25, Wmsv. South 16-17 Eden 25-25, Starpoint 18-20 Wmsv. South 25-25, N. Tonawanda 15-19 Wmsv. South 25-25, Starpoint 18-16 Eden 35-20, N. Tonawanda 33-25 Blue pool Lockport 25-25, Ken West 13-11 Nia.-Wheatfield 29-25, St. Francis 27-18 Lockport 25-25, Nia.-Wheatfield 10-14 Ken West 25-14, St. Francis 20-25 Lockport 25-21, St. Francis 11-25 Nia.-Wheatfield 25-25, Ken West 21-22

MVP: Jason Donorovich (Lockport). All Tournament team: Anthony Padgorsik (WS), Austin Hayes (NW), Hadyn Herc (Eden), Declan Pierce (Eden), Jonah Ribbeck (LP)

St. Mary’s boys volleyball taking WNY, but not itself, by surprise
By: Mike Pidanick, Metro Source | Sports
Friday, October 4, 2013

The St. Mary’s High School boys volleyball team may have opened some eyes with a strong start to the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association. For the Lancers, however, it’s just a case of things going according to plan. 

The Lancers won their first two MMAA matches — including an upset of top-ranked St. Joe’s on the road. That has St. Mary’s thinking big and a lot of people taking notice of how good this team can be.

“I think we’re surprising a lot of people, but we’re not surprising ourselves,” senior outside hitter Matt Wrobel said. “We know we can play the way we have been playing and I’m glad we’re finally showing that.”

The big statement came on the floor of Western New York’s No. 1 ranked team, at the time, when the Lancers traveled to take on St. Joe’s. St. Mary’s controlled the action and walked out with a 25-18, 17-25, 25-23, 25-15 victory. 

If volleyball followers didn’t know about the Lancers before then, they do now. 

“It’s been great,” St. Mary’s coach Keith Koch said. “The guys played a great match against St. Joe’s and I’ve had a lot of people in the volleyball community — coaches, refs — congratulating us. But the credit all goes to the players. They earned it.”

St. Mary’s followed that big win over St. Joe’s with a hard-fought five-set home win over St. Francis eight days later. The Lancers have also posted strong showings in the Maryvale Tournament and North Tonawanda Tournament in the season’s first month.

The Lancers have a strong group of players leading the way, including senior hitters Wrobel, Tyler English and Marc Gonzalez, junior setter Jake Concannon and sophomore Alex Hokaj. Some younger players have also contributed big things as well for St. Mary’s. 

“I think we do what we do best and not try to do something that’s not us,” Wrobel said. “And we don’t play down to other teams’ levels; we get up for every game. We have a lot of size and a lot of experience — that’s always good when it comes to big games.”

There will be plenty more big games for the Lancers this year if they continue this way. A rematch with St. Joe’s comes on Oct. 11 at St. Mary’s and the Lancers hope to be a force in the postseason, as well. 

“We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m very happy so far,” Koch said.

West boys volleyball survives five-set marathons, wins twice
West Seneca Bee
Thursday, October 3, 2013

West Seneca West’s boys volleyball team found itself playing plenty of volleyball over a recent 13-day stretch, playing three five-set matches against some of the best competition around in the process.

West’s odyssey began Sept. 18 with a 3-2 loss to Canisius. The setback stung worse than a normal loss, as the Indians dropped the fifth game by a 25-23 margin. After dropping the first two games, West stormed back and tied the match 2-2 behind better passing and attacking. In the end, coach Brett Widman noted that Canisius’ defense and transition game in the middle “gave them the edge.”

Senior Evan Koehler paced West offensively with 24 kills.

“Canisius was a very tight match with two evenly matched teams,” Widman said.

West bounced back two nights later in another 3-2 marathon, this time coming out on top against Lancaster. Consistent and aggressive serving by senior Steve Whitlow closed out game five for West, 25-20.

“This game was a preview to our ability to win close five-set matches, and about being able to make the necessary adjustments to be successful,” Widman said. “Both teams have effective attackers at all positions, and Lancaster runs a very effective 6-2 offense, which took us a few games to adapt to.”

West then knocked off then fourth-ranked Clarence on Sept. 23 in yet another barn burner, 3-2. The Indians “struggled defensively and with passing in games two and three,” according to Widman, but came around in game four with tough serving and tightener defense.

Koehler recorded 29 kills, with junior setter Ryan Kilijanski adding 50 assists.

“We showed again with our effort in this game that West has the fortitude to bounce back and win the marathon five-set matches,” Widman said.

West continued its solid play two days later against then second ranked Hamburg, pulling off the 3-0 sweep. Senior middle blockers Nick Clancy and Gregg Hart took control of the net, racking up a combined 14 blocks and 15 kills, while senior libero Jake Gromlovits led the defense with 16 digs.

“After three five-set matches in a row and some adjustments made in our blocking and defense, we played a very consistent and methodical match against Hamburg,” Widman said. “The whole team played great as a unit; every player executed their role in a way that got Hamburg out of its comfort zone. Consistent and aggressive serving caused Hamburg to be out of sync most of the match, unable to connect with their key hitters.”

“This was our chance to prove that we were a team that could win big matches, and in the end we showed that we belonged as one of the top three teams in Western New York,” Widman added. “It was an exhausting week having to play three five-set matches consecutively. By the time Hamburg arrived we had decided we needed to close the match more efficiently. It wasn’t going to be easy as Hamburg is a very good team, but we fought through and grew as a team.”

Non-league foe St. Joe’s threw a monkey wrench into the works Friday, though, shutting West out as West’s “poor defense, serving, and blocking cost us,” according to Widman.

“St. Joe’s was on and we had no answers,” Widman said.

West returned to action Tuesday against Frontier, but information was not available at press time for that contest.

The Indians close out their week by hosting Orchard Park this evening, but then don’t play again until they host Williamsville North on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

“In order for us to stay atop the standings in the very competitive ECIC I, we will need to continue to set higher goals for ourselves, particularly concerning serve receive and defense,” Widman said. “If we can clean up those areas, our offense will become even more efficient. Tough serving, passing and defense is what wins big matches, and we still have some work to do in those areas.”

Maryvale boys volleyball downs Central
Cheektowaga Bee
Thursday, October 3, 2013

Maryvale’s boys volleyball team completed the first half of league play with a 5-1 record thanks to Friday’s 3-0 victory over crosstown rival Cheektowaga.

Standout performers through Maryvale’s first seven games have included senior setter and co-captain Ryan Robida, who has been steady in running the offense and getting new players involved in the attack, as well as senior opposite side hitter Jordan Teed, who has provided an offensive spark as the team’s go-to hitter. Teed is also one of the top blockers.

Tyler Nosal has passed the ball well and asserted himself in long rallies by digging a lot of balls, while middle hitters Derek Kaczorowski, Justin Vanderwalker and Mike Walizada continue to improve, reducing their number of errors and making more contributions both blocking and on offense.

Outside hitter Joey Germann “has hit his stride,” according to coach Andrew Murtha, and “is playing with more confidence,” as is senior co-captain Wayne Hunzinger, “whose leadership has been tremendous.”

Maryvale (6-1 overall) returned to action Tuesday against East Aurora, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Flyers will host Eden tonight in a rematch of their only league loss of the season, and Murtha said that the team is planning a promotion including a water bottle giveaway and free gift card drawings in an attempt to “hopefully pack the stands.”

Billies’ boys volleyball makes right call at own tourney
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thom Knab has experienced a lot throughout his 22 years coaching the Williamsville South boys volleyball team, but what happened at the Williamsville South Tournament Saturday will be something he and his players will never forget. 

The Billies led Lockport, 24-18, in the third game of their semifinals match and appeared to have match point when a Lockport player hit the ball out of bounds.

But South junior middle hitter Christian Graziano looked to the referee and rubbed his fingers together above his head, indicating he had touched the ball. The Billies went on to lose the game, 31-29, and the match. South lost the first game, 17-25, and won the second game, 25-14.

“It was the right call,” Knab said. “I was so proud of him. It also made me proud of the culture I had created. He felt comfortable enough in this culture to make the call at game point, know that I would be fine with it, understand that life goes on and just knew it was right.

“This call was gutsy. He showed the game comes before the player. He put himself in the other team’s shoes. He represented himself, his school, his team, his mother and his coach with honor. I am proud of my entire team but especially proud of this young man. This volleyball player served up honesty when we really don’t see it often enough in our society.”

South beat Williamsville East, 25-19, 25-18, for third place.

“I give the kids a lot of credit because they were really disappointed after the loss to Lockport,” Knab said.

The Billies went 6-0 in pool play, beating Cicero North Syracuse, 25-16, 25-23; Cheektowaga, 25-10, 25-15; and Williamsville East, 25-20, 25-17.

Graziano, an all-tournament team selection, finished the tournament with 22 kills and 12 blocks.

Senior outside hitter Anthony Podgorsak recorded 35 kills to also earn all-tournament team accolades.

Junior right-side hitter Ryan Nigro added 14 kills, senior outside hitter Steve Zaprowski had 16 kills and sophomore setter Joe Zanelotti had 73 assists.

The loss to Lockport was South’s first loss of the season. They won the Maryvale Tournament Aug. 31; beat Amherst, Lockport and Williamsville North in non-league matches; and recorded ECIC II victories over West Seneca East, Iroquois, Sweet Home, Lake Shore and Starpoint. Every match was won in three games except Sweet Home, which South won in four games.

Podgorsak has consistently been the team’s leader in kills, including 13 kills and four aces against Lake Shore Sept. 19 and 18 kills against Starpoint Sept. 23.

Knab also lauded the play of junior Paul Jager, JV call-up, who stepped in and played well in place of Zaprowski, who was injured for two weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Knab attributes a lot of the team’s success to the experience of the returning players who played club volleyball.

South traveled to West Seneca East Tuesday, but information about the match was unavailable before press time. They host Iroquois Wednesday and compete in the Lockport Tournament Saturday.

The Billies’ “Dig Pink” fundraiser for cancer research is against Clarence on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Sweet Home boys volleyball experiencing early-season success
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sweet Home’s boys volleyball team has seen success early in the 2013 season.

The Panthers are 3-1 in ECIC II with wins over Iroquois, Lake Shore and Starpoint and a loss in four games against division leader Williamsville South. They are 6-2 overall with non-league victories over Kenmore East, Kenmore West and Williamsville North and a loss to Clarence.

Coach Rich Cicero attributes the early-season success to the players’ hard work, willingness to accept their roles on the team and keeping down unforced errors.

Leading the Panthers’ offense is outside hitter Taylor Sutherland. He recorded eight kills against Iroquois and 11 versus Lake Shore.

“He’s a versatile player that does a lot for our offense,” Cicero said. “He hits hard enough to be a dominating player for us.”

Senior outside hitters Ben Miller and Connor Heald have also done a great job of making smart decisions when they attack the ball, Cicero said.

Cicero is also impressed with the development of senior middle hitter James Nix.

“He’s been working on other aspects of his game,” Cicero said. “He’s learning how to hit in different sets, and that has paid off for us. But for a kid that has never played before, he’s unbelievable. He tries to make the right play every time. He picks up concepts quickly.”

Cicero also lauded the passing of senior Corey Allen as well as the defensive play in the back row from senior Justin Okun and juniors Josh Wilson and Mike Belluz.

“Justin, Josh and Mike have really played great defense,” Cicero said. “They are keeping the ball off the floor for us, making great passes and starting to communicate with each other. They make us a better team.”

Junior Rob Siegler, a 6-foot-5 right-side hitter, has played well in the front row since debuting at the Sweet Home Tournament Sept. 21.

“He made the other teams we were playing rethink about where they were setting the ball,” Cicero said. “He’s a natural blocker and goes up and takes away a lot of the court.”

The Panthers lost to St. Mary’s of Lancaster, 21-25, 25-21, 6-15, in the quarterfinals of the Sweet Home Tournament. Cicero lauded the play of Sutherland. Hamburg beat Clarence in the final.

Sweet Home traveled to Iroquois Tuesday, but information about the match was unavailable before press time. They travel to Lake Shore Thursday. 

Amherst boys volleyball struggles
Amherst Bee
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Amherst’s boys volleyball team fell to 1-5 in ECIC III and 1-6 overall with losses at home against Cheektowaga, 18-25, 11-25, 25-27, Wednesday and at East Aurora, 21-25, 17-25, 18-25 Friday.

“We struggled to find ourselves this week,” Amherst coach Paul Wlosinski said. “We had two players out with the flu and we had to rearrange our lineup. The team responded well and knew they had to communicate to work together. I think we’re having a tough time being confident in our performance. We need to find that competitive drive and bring it onto the court.”

Leading Amherst against Cheektowaga were Evan Hall (three kills, two blocks), Greg Zimmerman (two kills, seven digs) and Alex Touma (six assists, five digs). Leading Amherst against East Aurora were Dante Merrill (five kills, two aces), Hall (six kills), Alex Touma (12 assists) and Ben Touma (five digs).

Clarence drops pair of league-play marathons
Clarence Bee
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Clarence’s boys volleyball coach Kevin Starr knew going into this season that the road to success in divisional play would be long and arduous — but that didn’t mean he expected matches to be nearly three-hour long odysseys.

Yet there were the Red Devils battling Frontier in a slugfest of epic proportions Friday taking the Falcons to the limit before ultimately succumbing by a 26-24, 25-21, 15-25, 22-25, 30-32 score that led Clarence drained both physically and emotionally.

“This one hurts,” Starr said. “We had a couple of opportunities to end it, but we missed on some serves and, as the boys would admit, were just a step slow too many times. It was exhausting.”

Clarence rallied from behind to take both of the first two games, and trailed yet again in the fifth game before trading match points with Frontier on multiple occasions until Frontier finally put the Red Devils away.

“The fifth game was a great display of two fine teams slugging it out,” Starr said. “The trouble is, we should have never put ourselves in the position we did in the fifth game. The boys were uncharacteristically tentative; the ball hit the floor too many times when we should have kept it in play.”

Senior libero Jake Baran had 25 digs, while outside hitter Brandon Hill had 15 kills. Middle hitter Ted Okon had 13 kills, and outside hitter Dale Payne added 12 kills.

Clarence’s week opened in similar heartbreak fashion, as the Red Devils were upended by West Seneca West on Sept. 23, 24-26, 25-18, 25-18, 19-25, 19-25. Hill and Payne had 13 and 10 kills, respectively, while Okon added nine kills and four blocks, but it wasn’t enough as West held on for dear life to improve to 6-0 in the division at the time.

“West does everything very well, and the frustrating thing is, we had them,” Starr said. “By the end of the third game, we had adjusted to their strengths and had capitalized on the one defensive weakness that they have. But, they also made an offensive adjustment that freed up their best hitter for more swings, and we weren’t able to stop him effectively enough. This was our first match implementing a new offensive plan that gives us three hitters and blockers in every rotation; our boys adjusted to the change well, but we just didn’t finish the match.”

Clarence bounced back the next night against Williamsville East, but Starr maintains that the Flames didn’t exactly make the 25-11, 25-11, 25-19 win easy. Setters Skyler Reinhardt and Matt Dempsey “both had good nights,” according to Starr, as they “spread the ball around to our hitters very well.” Junior right-side hitter David Cummiskey, a left hander, “has become a good weapon for us,” Starr said, as he had five kills in six attempts on the night.

Junior Tommy Ecker has capitalized on his increased role in the front row, according to Starr, and also had nine points serving. Junior middle hitter Rob Kuberka had four kills on four swings in the second game, while junior Mason Sebian chipped in with six digs.

“East is a solid team with some very good players, but our kids ran the new offense beautifully,” Starr said.

Clarence (3-3 league) returned to action Tuesday at Orchard Park, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Red Devils close out their week Thursday against Williamsville North.

“We need to work on quickness and aggressiveness in practice,” Starr said. “Once we address those things, we’ll be fine.”

Jacks’ Willison brings spark, personality to NT volleyball
Tuesday October 1, 2013
By: Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | Sports

Victor Willison cracked a wry smile as he described himself as a “back-up class clown.”

Willison’s play on the volleyball court certainly hasn’t been a joke.

A sophomore in his first full season of varsity with the North Tonawanda, Willison has helped the Jacks get off to a strong start in 2013, which includes winning the Gary Tocke Tournament on Sept. 21 at Kenmore West.

“I feel like my swing has developed a lot more,” Willison said in between games of the Tocke Tournament. “It started off a little bit rough but it’s gotten progressively better.”

Playing the bulk of last season on the junior varsity, Willison was pulled up to varsity during tournaments and quietly made the most of his time as he worked to get better and better each day.

“The first time I was on (the court) I was really scared that I wasn’t going to do all of the motions perfectly, because I was shaking a little bit,” Willison said. “But I was just grateful to be there.”

Willison’s play led to a full-time call-up during sectionals.

Willison said the combination of his time on varsity and working with Lumberjacks’ JV coach Andrew Braun went a long way in shaping him into the player he is today.

“He always told me just give it my all every single game,” Willison said. “After every single set he always told me just do what you do. Don’t try to be anybody else.”

Willison is the kind of player a coach couldn’t ask much more from because the sophomore is consistent. Playing on the left side, he’s been a force through his consistent passing and hitting.

In fact, Willison leads the team in average kills per game.

“Every time he touches the ball the pace slows down so we can set up. He’s always consistent,” said NT coach Luke Hodgson. “And with that nobody seems to be able to stop him with his hits. I think he’s the total package.”

Hodgson went on to say what also stood out about Willison last season, and continues to this year, has been the way he reads the play. Willison just always seems to be in the right spot at the right time, noted Hodgson.

Willison also knows the value of learning by watching others and sees every game and practice as an opportunity to soak up something new about the game that can make him better.

“It’s all the energy,” said Willison. “I love when we have a big crowd. But when my team fires me up and gives me a chest bump; It just gets me fired up.”

The key to Willison’s growth as a player and his solid play this season is simple. He is calm and cool in the way he carries himself. Hodgson said Willison rarely, if ever, gets rattled on the floor and that calmness carries over to his teammates.

“He’s always having a good time. He’s always friendly, he’s always polite,” Hodgson said. “On the volleyball court, he knows when it’s time to speed up or to slow it down. He’s the total package.”

“I can be calm sometimes but I can also be an excitable — [I can be a] weird guy,” Willison said with a laugh.

Hodgson also believes that Willison has the kind of outgoing personality that has helped raw more athletes into the volleyball program and keep the numbers strong. And maybe most importantly, he helps keep the experience enjoyable.

“I love volleyball,” Willison said with a smile. “It’s a really fun sport to play.”

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 10/1/13
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

WNY Coaches Poll

1. Canisius (6) 109
2. St. Joe's (1) 96
3. West Seneca West (2) 82
4. Hamburg (2) 74
5. Lockport (1) 62
6. Clarence 55
7. Lancaster 51
8. Frontier 48
9. Williamsville South 41
10. St. Mary's/Lancaster 26


Lockport volleyball keeps winning
Buffalo News
Monday, September 30, 2013

Shawn Moore had seven kills and seven blocks as the Lockport boys volleyball team beat Kenmore East to finish 6-0 after the first round of play in the Niagara Frontier League. The Lions (11-3 overall) are coming off a win in the Williamsville South Tournament on Saturday.

Lockport prevails
Buffalo News
Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bryce Perry was MVP and Ryan Guyton made all-tournament as they helped Lockport beat St. Mary’s, 25-21, 25-23, to win the Williamsville South boys volleyball tournament.

Williamsville South Tournament


Finals Lockport 25-25, St. Mary's 21-23 Semifinals Lockport 25-14-31, Williamsville South 17-25-29 St. Mary's 25-25, Williamsville East 21-10 Bronze Match Williamsville South 25-25, Williamsville East 19-18 Pool A Williamsville South 25-25, Cicero North Syracuse(CNS) 16-23 Williamsville East 25-25, Cheektowaga 21-21 Williamsville East 25-25, CNS 22-19 Williamsville South 25-25, Cheektowaga 10-15 Williamsville South 25-25, Williamsville East 20-17 CNS 25-25, Cheektowaga 17-20 Pool B Lockport 25-25, Williamsville North 15-13 St. Mary's 25-25, Starpoint 18-15 Starpoint 25-18, Williamsville North 17-25 St. Mary's 19-25, Lockport 25-13 Lockport 25-17, Starpoint 13-25 St. Mary's 25-25, Williamsville North 20-17


All-tournament team: Ryan Guyton (Lockport), Marc Gonzales (St. Mary's), Jake Concannon (St. Mary's), Mike Wisniewski (East), Patrick Irving (East), Christian Graziano (Wmsv. South), Anthony Podgorsak (Wmsv. South). MVP: Bryce Perry (Lockport) Lockport beat St. Mary's, 25-21, 25-23, in the final to win the Williamsville South boys volleyball tournament. Bryce Perry was named MVP while Ryan Guyton earned all-tournament for the Lions.

Frontier wins fifth game, 34-32
Buffalo News
Friday, September 28, 2013

Frontier’s boys volleyball team needed to win a fifth game, 34-32, to beat Clarence in an ECIC I match that took 2 hours and 15 minutes. Erik Hatten had 32 kills while Jake Gleason had 54 assists.

Bulldogs’ spikers win Sweet Home Tourney
By: Michael J. Petro | Sports
Thursday September 26, 2013

Hamburg head volleyball coach Brian Carroll believes his lineup is getting better everyday. Over the course of last week, his team proved its coach right.

The Bulldogs followed a four-set win against rival Frontier during the week, with a championship at the Sweet Home Tournament on Sept. 21. After winning 10 consecutive sets to reach the final, Hamburg had to come down from a set down to Clarence to win the final in three.

Senior Patrick Stroh, who has stepped up his play and figured a lot out this season, according to his coach, was named the tournament most valuable player, while teammate Zack Yerrington was also on the all-tournament team. Against Frontier, Trevor Vail stepped up to lead Hamburg. The Bulldogs are battling for the top spot in ECIC Division I.

“The guys have been taking turns with steps up,” Carroll said. ‘If they all step up at once, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Frontier boys volleyball avenges finals loss to Orchard Park
By: Johnathan snyder, Reporter | Sports

Thursday September 26, 2013

Frontier volleyball players sum up the message their coach gives them in one word: intensity.

The Falcons brought that mindset into their Sept. 20 match against Orchard Park, the same team they lost to, during the Class A championship last season. They took down the defending champions in straight sets and wasted little time doing so, as the match lasted less than an hour.

“[Coach] preaches high, high intensity,” said senior Dylan Durni. “Intensity all throughout everything we do. In practice, even if you’re shagging a ball, you’re doing it intensely.”

In a five-set match a year ago, the Quakers rallied to win the final two sets and earn the title. This time around, although not on the championship stage, Frontier has learned from its defeat.

“Our passing definitely improved tonight,” said Falcons head coach Bill Faust. “We also tried to serve our targets; that was better tonight. We also tried to turn digs into kills and we did a better job of that, tonight.”

Durni, a Second Team All-Western new York last season, along with fellow senior Erik Hatten, cashed in dominant efforts against the Quakers, as they controlled the pace of play and never allowed Orchard Park to gain momentum. Frontier dominated the first set, winning 25 – 14, and then coasted to 25 – 19 and 25 – 16 victories, in the final two.

“Dylan’s one of the best hitters in Western New York,” Faust said. “He’s the real deal. We’re looking at him to be the anchor.”

The coach said that junior setter Jake Gleason is another player who is crucial to the Falcons success. The coach said that he expects a lot of this player, who has been on the team since eighth grade and was already part of two championship teams. Faust also said he also relies on two players whose sports passions lie outside of volleyball. Tom Stoklosa is a swimmer and baseball player, and Quinlivan, a lacrosse and basketball player.

Iroquois boys volleyball focused on learning
East Aurora Bee
Thursday, September 26, 2013

Iroquois boys volleyball coach Mark Schlabach believes that youth will be served when it comes to his team — it’s just a matter of when.

The Chiefs, who are winless through six matches this year, are looking to rebuild after graduating eight seniors off last year’s squad, and having the team’s sole junior from last year’s squad not come back out for the team. The varsity squad has just nine players on its roster this season, and with the players as inexperienced as they are this fall, the Chiefs are focused more so on learning the game’s fundamentals than they are on adding marks to the win column.

“We’re young, inexperienced and just raw this year,” Schlabach said. “We’re in a rebuilding period — it’s tough to recover from graduating eight guys at once — but at least it’s encouraging that we’re continuing to get younger guys out who are interested in the sport. We’re in the process of getting our numbers up, and if we continue to do that we’ll be able to continue to build up the program over the next few years.”

Junior Matt Hiam is currently starting at outside hitter for Iroquois, but Schlabach said that he is “able to do just about anything he’s asked to” as “the glue that holds us together right now.” Fellow junior Josh Hanley, a right side hitter, also returns off last year’s squad. Senior Ben Lang, who didn’t play last year after participating for two years at the JV level, also came out for the team, as did junior middle hitter Will Taber, who moves up from last year’s JV team.

First-year players Chris Stenzel, a junior, and Hayden McCormick, a sophomore, help to round out the team. Eighth grader Popovski is running the team’s offense after moving up from the JV squad, while freshmen outside hitters/defensive specialists John Weremblewski and Austin Besch make up the rest of Iroquois’ roster.

“I’m constantly reminding the kids that we need to focus on the process at this point, not the product,” Schlabach said. “I want them to get better at the skills of the game so that eventually the wins will come. Every opportunity that we have to contact the ball right now is an opportunity to get better, and we need to really focus on those contacts.” 

Iroquois returned to action Wednesday at Williamsville East, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Chiefs are slated to close out their week Friday by hosting Lake Shore.

“We spend the first half hour or hour of every practice — sometimes more — doing ball control drills or working on our serve receive, but we also go for some kind of game play or other drill so that they experience active, live play so that it’s not a ‘deer in the headlights’ situation come our matches,” Schlabach said. “We’re doing a lot of learning, but we’re not forgetting about going over game situations too.”

(Reporter Jason Nadolinski contributed to this article.)

Cheektowaga Defeats Holland and East Aurora
Cheektowaga Bee
Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cheektowaga’s boys volleyball team defeated Holland on Sept. 16, 25-12, 25-8, 25-14, as Tim Petranchuk had two kills and three blocks, and Chad Outten had two kills and had four serving aces in the second game to push the team to victory.

The Warriors then defeated East Aurora on Thursday, 25-16, 19-25, 25-21, 23-25,

25-17 behind Noah McGhee’s seven kills and two blocks. Adam Reichert also had seven kills to push the team to victory.

Desmond Prince led the team in serving and at one point had 11 consecutive serves in the third game to bring the team back to win the game.

The Warriors returned to action Monday against Eden and also took on Amherst Wednesday, but information was not available at press time for either contest.

Cheektowaga will close out its week by hosting crosstown rival Maryvale Friday before participating in Williamsville South’s annual tournament Saturday.

Clarence downs Lancaster, struggles twice against Hamburg 
Clarence Bee
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hamburg’s boys volleyball team had Clarence’s number twice this week — barely, in both instances – to put a little bit of a damper on what was otherwise a solid week for the Red Devils.

Clarence was hoping for some redemption in the championship match at Saturday’s annual Sweet Home Tournament when it met up with Hamburg for the second time in three days. Similar to the league clash on Thursday, Hamburg had just enough up its sleeve to come away with the 25-23, 21-25, 10-15 victory.

Hamburg’s outside hitter — the tournament’s MVP — “dominated the match,” according to coach Kevin Starr. Dale Payne was voted to the tournament all-star team, but Starr was just as impressed with the play of backup setter and fellow all-tournament team member Matt Dempsey, who filled in for Skyler Reinhardt. Dempsey “never came off the court the whole day, and stepped up and almost led us to the title.”

“Matt showed me that we have to get him on the court more during the rest of the season,” Starr said. “He’s a real spark plug — too much of an asset to be on the bench. But, Hamburg’s outside hitter was so much bigger than the guys we have blocking him, and we didn’t dig the ball as well as we usually do.”

To reach the tournament final, Clarence defeated Niagara Wheatfield (25-16, 25-12) in the quarterfinals and a St. Mary’s team (25-21, 25-16) in the semifinals that had defeated then top-ranked St. Joe’s earlier in the week. Clarence also swept three games each from Williamsville East and Williamsville North in pool play. 

“All of the kids on the team got to play, and everyone contributed,” Starr said. “It’s tough to give 13 guys quality playing time in a sport that only has six players on the court at a time, so it was good to see kids who work so hard in practice get a chance to stand out.”

Clarence knew what to expect from Hamburg Saturday after falling in a tight contest on Thursday, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, 17-25, 18-25. The Red Devils, who received 12 kills from Brandon Hill, seven from Derek Burghardt and six from Brandon Miller, struggled with their jump serve, as well as Hamburg’s height. 

“Hamburg just had a little too much for us at the end,” Starr said. “They’re bigger than we are, which makes them very difficult to block. Some of the front row matchups work in their favor, and they were able to capitalize by beating our block too many times.”

Clarence opened its week on Sept. 17 with a 25-23, 26-24, 21-25, 25-19 win over Lancaster. Libero Jake Baran had 16 digs, while Hill chipped in with 12 digs. Hill and Payne each added 10 kills, while Ted Okon contributed nine kills. Reinhardt dished out 21 assists.

“This was what every night in ECIC Division I is going to be like this season,” Starr said of the Lancaster match. “The teams are all very evenly matched, and the one with a little more in the tank is going to usually come out on top. Defense wins matches, and this was the case here.”

Clarence returned to action Monday at West Seneca West and then took on Williamsville East Tuesday, but information was not available at press time for either contest. The Red Devils close out their week Friday at Frontier.

WSW nabs key win
By: Buffalo News
Wednesday September 25, 2013

For two weeks, the West Seneca West boys volleyball team struggled with team chemistry. After a few team meetings, things started to click, and then came some big wins.

On Monday, the Indians defeated fourth-ranked Clarence in a five-set match. Wednesday, they swept No. 2 Hamburg, 25-23, 25-21, 25-19.

“When we played Clarence on Monday and went five and won it, you could see the difference on the court,” West Seneca West coach Brett Widman said. “They’re more positive. There was more teamwork and today was just the pinnacle of that. This is what I’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the season.”

In the three-set win over Hamburg, which received four first-place votes in this week’s coaches poll, Nick Clancy had eight blocks and Jake Gromlovits 16 digs in what Widman said was an overall solid team effort keyed by effective serving.

“Overall all my guys can serve well,” Widman said. “We were aggressively serving. We call it our ‘out of system.’ We served well and got them out of system so they couldn’t get a good attack on the ball. We were making their lives difficult with our serving.”

The Indians, ranked third in the latest poll, improved to 7-1 overall and are 6-0 in ECIC I play.

“I don’t think they believed they’d be 6-0 at this point,” Widman said. “They’re starting to believe. Tonight’s a huge win. To win in five games shows toughness and guts. To beat No. 2 in three games is kind of a statement.”

Amherst boys volleyball falls to Maryvale, Depew
Amherst Bee

Wednesday September 25, 2013

Amherst’s boys volleyball team dropped both of its ECIC III league games last week, falling at Maryvale, 20-25, 12-25, 17-25, Sept. 17 and Depew, 23-25, 15-25, 16-25 at home Thursday.

Amherst coach Paul Wlosinski said his team committed 12 hitting errors and missed eight serves against Maryvale.

“We can’t expect to compete when we continue to give points to the opponent,” Wlosinski said.

Evan Hall recorded four kills and Greg Zimmerman added two kills and six digs. 

Wlosinski called the Depew defeat a tough loss.

“In each set, we had the lead at the beginning, but couldn’t finish,” he said. “We seemed to get comfortable and Depew turned up their defense.”

Pacing the Tigers were Hall (eight kills, five blocks), Myron Harvey (three kills), Alex Touma (12 assists, seven digs), Ethan Ahuna (12 digs) and Greg Zimmerman (nine digs).

Amherst (1-4, 1-3) hosts Cheektowaga Wednesday and travels to East Aurora Friday.

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 9/24/13
Tuesday, September 24, 2013

WNY Coaches Poll

1. Canisius (5) 103
2. Hamburg (4) 102
3. West Seneca West 90
4. Clarence 71
5. St. Joe's (1) 68
6. Williamsville South (2) 65
7. Frontier 53
8. Lancaster 46
9. Lockport 20
10. St. Mary's/Lanc. 16


Boys volleyball outlook by Mary Jo Monnin: Buzzwords for the season: Parity, great competition
Mary Jo Monnin, Buffalo News
Tuesday September 22, 2013

In the first three weeks of voting in the Western New York Coaches Boys Volleyball Poll, there have been three different teams ranked No. 1. Of the six tournaments that have been reported to The News, there have been six different champions.

If you’re getting the idea the talent is widespread this season, you’d be as accurate as an ace landing in the middle of the floor.

“I’m not surprised. It’s parity, but not in the sense of mediocrity,” said Clarence coach Kevin Starr.

“There are some really, really good teams. All of us coaches expected going into the season it was going to be like this. It’s so cool to see so many really solid teams. I don’t know if it’s this way in other sports, but we’re all enjoying this season so much. A lot of us coach other teams’ kids in club season. In 34 years I’ve never seen it like this.”

Looking to repeat

Canisius senior Brian Costello is generally acknowledged as the best setter in WNY. He’s the only returning All-Western New York player. Last year he set the Crusaders to a 24-5 overall record and a 9-1 league mark. Canisius won the Monsignor Martin Association playoff championship for the 13th consecutive year and tied for the regular season championship with St. Joe’s. 

Canisius junior Trevor Gooch was first team All-Catholic last year and MVP of this year’s Hamburg Tournament.

It took three years of state tournaments in boys volleyball before Lake Shore broke through in 2012 as the first team to qualify from Section VI. The Eagles lost the final in three games to Bellmore of Section VIII, ending a memorable 21-4 season. Plenty of talent returns, including one player with a bright future, freshman Devin Joslyn, an all-around talent. Helping run the offense has been sophomore Kyle Wishman. Senior Brad Owens is being counted on for his play at libero and for being a leader on a young team.

Defending Section VI Class A champion Orchard Park graduated most of its starters from last year’s 22-4 team. 

Two starters this year know what it’s like to be a state champion. Nolan McArdle and Brian Manley were on the Quakers’ state champion relay team in swimming last winter. On land, McArdle is one of the top setters in WNY. OP is off to its slowest start since 1977, but expects the improvement the team is making will surface in October.

Jeff Biddle made his season debut on Monday after missing the start of the year with a broken foot.

Quick sets

Hamburg is riding a wave of confidence after winning Saturday’s Sweet Home Tournament and starting the season 3-0 in ECIC I. Tournament MVP Patrick Stroh and Doug Horbachewski were ECIC I all-stars a year ago. Stroh is a dynamic left side and a very good jumper. Horbachewski can play all three of the front row spots. Sophomore setter Ryan Dils is a three-sport athlete who makes the Bulldogs go. Trevor Vail is a very physical rightside, who also plays club rugby. Zach Yerington was all-tourney at Clarence and Sweet Home.

When one Hamburg starter missed the Sweet Home Tournament due to illness, Tom Hoff, the team’s third middle and a blocking specialist, took advantage of the chance to prove himself. Coach Brian Carroll said the team elevated its play down a man and became a better team. “It was really good to win down a man, we showed our team can still function, the kids who came in left the day confident about themselves,” he said.


St. Mary’s has been a surprise. The Lancers recorded the upset of the year when it knocked off then-No. 1 ranked St. Joe’s on its own floor two weeks ago. Tyler English, first team All-Catholic a year ago, has been named all-tournament in all three competitions St. Mary’s has played in: Maryvale, North Tonawanda and Sweet Home.

“He’s really come on this year. From last year to this, it’s just his confidence that’s making the difference,” coach Keith Koch said of his 6-3 senior.

This is only his second year of volleyball for senior Matt Wrobel, and the 6-foot-3 outside hitter leads the team in blocks. Sophomore Alex Hokaj is leader in digs.


St. Mary’s Tyler English (5) takes on Clarence defender Ted Okon. English,
All-Catholic a year ago, has been an all-star in all three tournaments he’s
played this season. John Hickey/Buffalo News

Frontier, Class A finalist a year ago, is a contender to make a return trip with second team All-WNY Dylan Durni. He was last year’s kills and points leader, and this year was all-tourney at Eden. His brother, Drew, is a redshirt freshman at the University of Hawaii.

Also earning second team All-WNY was Jacob Gleason, a junior setter who led last year’s team in assists. The Falcons also return last year’s leader in blocks (Erik Hatten), digs (Peter Lotocki) and Jeffrey Taylor on the outside. Hatten is coming off an ECIC I all-star season.

Newcomers are Thomas Stoklosa, a state qualifier in swimming and a highly touted baseball player. He’s starting at middle hitter. Patrick Quinlivan is another multi-sport athlete who is starting at middle hitter.

Eden has no seniors but that doesn’t mean the expectations aren’t high. The Raiders went 12-0 last year, winning ECIC III. Hadyn Herc is a 6-4 junior who leads the team in blocks. Sophomore Declan Pierce is one of the most explosive players in WNY. He can control a game with superb passing and wicked jump serve. Cole Overhoff has an excellent serve and quick reflexes.

Amherst got a boost of confidence by being competitive with the top teams in the Clarence and Cheektowaga tournaments. Evan Hall leads the Tigers in kills, blocks and aces and works well with fellow seniors Dante Merrill, Alex Touma and Myron Harvey.

Look out for Maryvale. The Flyers, 10-2 last year in ECIC III, have eight seniors including Ryan Robida, a league all-star, two-year captain and solid setter. Tyler Nosal is a strong passer and joins Robida as an honor student.

Jordan Teed and Derek Kaczorowski have come over from other sports and are proving a quick study. The Flyers have plenty of height with three players in the 6-3 to 6-4 range. 

Clarence won its own tournament for the first time in the event’s 27-year history. The Red Devils’ motto this year is “no ball hits the floor.” Skyler Reinhardt, a senior setter, was MVP of Clarence Tournament. He runs multiple offenses very well and spreads the ball around. Brandon Hill is a three-year starter. The Red Devils handed Orchard Park its only league loss last year.

Williamsville South moved to 10-0 on Monday night beating Starpoint in three games. Second team All-WNY Anthony Podgorsak had 18 kills. The Billies were champions of the Maryvale Tournament led by the MVP performance of Joe Zanelotti. Steve Zaprowski and Zanelotti are returning ECIC II all-stars.

Cheektowaga senior Noah McGhee is among the team’s leaders in kills while junior Adam Reichert is a primary passer.

Lockport, winner of the North Tonawanda Tournament, returns 6-foot-8 middle Jason Donorovich. He’s expected to garner interest from Division I recruitiers for his size and skill. Senior setter Jack Whalen is the Lions’ career assist leader and an NFL all-star. This is Eamon Yates’ third year at libero.

Seniors Evan Koehler and Gregg Hart are three-year starters for West Seneca West, off to a 4-0 start in ECIC I.

Lancaster returns two outside hitters who started last year as freshmen — Jay Baumann and Ken Rudz. Starting setter Mike Spengler has proven effective on the right side playing in a 6-2 format. Tyler Witt, Matt Devic, Trevor Gabamonte and Joe Mescall are juniors who have filled in well. 

A threesome of seniors will help decide Kenmore West’s fate: Niko Mancuso, Mitch Maracle and Nestor Pascua.

Senior Tom Duszkiewicz was second-team All-Catholic for St. Francis. He’s a three-year starter along with Jack Moretti at setter and Dave Kennedy on the outside.

St. Joe’s, which earned a share of last year’s Monsignor Martin regular season title, returns second team All-WNY Ricky Crumlish, who led the team in kills last year.

Jordan Kydol is the only returning player for Cardinal O’Hara. 

Grand Island, winners of the Cheektowaga Tournament, is led by returning NFL all-star Brock Tetreault and second-teamer Mike Podgorney.


Stefani retires as OP coach
Mary Jo Monnin, Buffalo News
Monday September 23, 2013


Walt Stefani turned Orchard Park into a Western New York volleyball power. Buffalo News file photo


For the first time in 31 years, Walt Stefani is not on the sidelines for the Orchard Park volleyball team. The longtime coach retired after a career of helping shape the sport across Western New York, but will still be active as a volunteer assistant coach with the women’s volleyball team at Canisius College. 

Stefani led Orchard Park to a 559-159 record (a .779 winning percentage), won 17 ECIC championships, nine Section VI Class A titles, and three intersectional matches. He retired from teaching at OP in 2012.

He was coach of the Quakers for all but five seasons since 1979 and was the boys basketball coach from 1985-1994. His volleyball teams were undefeated in 1991 (25-0) and 2008 (34-0). In 2011 he was inducted into the WNY Men’s Volleyball Hall of Fame. He’s a seven-time WNY Coach of the Year.

Current OP coach Matt Lexner had shared the varsity coaching job with Stefani since 2001. He worked at his camp since 1992 and the Power Station Volleyball Club since 1994.

“He basically put Orchard Park volleyball on the map. Sweet Home, Orchard Park and Iroquois dominated in the ‘70s. When he finally started to beat those guys, Orchard Park had arrived and has been a powerhouse ever since,” said Lexner. “He brought Orchard Park volleyball from nothing to relevance, and from the best we can determine, probably the best Class A program in the state for over 20 years.”

Bulldogs volleyball wins
By: Buffalo News
Sunday September 22, 2013


Hamburg senior Patrick Stroh (left) was named MVP at Saturday’s Sweet Home Volleyball
Tournament as the Bulldogs beat Clarence in the final. John Hickey/Buffalo News


Patrick Stroh earned MVP honors leading Hamburg to the title of the Sweet Home Volleyball Tournament. The Bulldogs came back to beat Clarence in the final, 23-25, 25-21, 15-10.

Earning all-tournament were: Tyler English (St. Mary’s), Mike Spengler (Lancaster), Dale Payne (Clarence), Matt Dempsey (Clarence) and Zach Yerington (Hamburg).

“We could not shut him down,” said Clarence coach Kevin Starr. “We knew they were going to go to him, we tried to adjust to at least minimize the damage, he was that good.” 

• Joe Piotrowski was named MVP for North Tonawanda as the Jacks beat Grand Island, 26-24, 15-25 and 25-21 to win the Ken-Ton Tournament. Making all-tourney were: Niko Mancuso (Ken West), Justin Hake (Ken East), Brock Titral (GI), Michael Podgorney (GI), Ryan Fritz (NT) and Sam Weglorski (NT).

Results from the Kenmore Tournament
By: Buffalo News
Sunday September 22, 2013

Finals North Tonawanda 26-15-25, Grand Island 24-25-21 Pool Play North Tonawanda 25-25, Kenmore West 16-17 Grand Island 25-25, Kenmore West 16-23 Grand Island 25-25, Kenmore East 18-11 North Tonawanda 25-25, Kenmore East 11-15 Kenmore West 25-22, Kenmore East 21-25 Grand Island 25-25, North Tonawanda 16-12

All-tourney team: Niko Mancuso (Ken West), Justin Hake (Ken East), Brock Titral (Grand Island), Michael Podgorney (Grand Island), Ryan Fritz (North Tonawanda), Sam Weglorski (North Tonawanda). MVP: Joe Piotrowski (North Tonawanda) 

Results from the Sweet Home Invitational
By: Buffalo News
Sunday September 22, 2013

Finals Hamburg 23-25-15, Clarence 25-21-10 Semis Clarence 25-25, St. Mary's 21,16 Hamburg 25-25, Lancaster 19-21 Quarterfinals St. Mary's 25-21-15, Sweet Home 21-25-6 Lancaster 25-25, Wmsv. North 15-18 Hamburg 25-26, Wmsv. East 18-24 Clarence 25-25, Niagara Wheatfield 16-12 Pool A Clarence 25-25-25, Wmsv. East 21-15-21 Clarence 19-25-25, Wmsv. North 25-22-22 Wmsv. North 19-25-25, Wmsv. East 25-22-22 Pool B Lancaster 25-25-23, St. Mary's 22-19-25 Lancaster 25-25-25, Starpoint 13-18-11 St. Mary's 25-25-25, Starpoint 11-20-18 Pool C Hamburg 25-25-25, Sweet Home 10-20-14 Hamburg 25-25-25, Niagara Wheatfield 15-12-18 Sweet Home 25-23-25, Niagara Wheatfield 20-25-18 

All-tournament team: Tyler English (St. Mary's), Mike Spengler (Lancaster), Dale Payne (Clarence), Matt Dempsey (Clarence), Zach Yerington (Hamburg). MVP: Patrick Stroh (Hamburg). Patrick Stroh earned MVP honors leading Hamburg to the title of the Sweet home Volleyball Tournament. The Bulldogs came back to beat Clarence, 23-25, 25-21, 15-10, in the final. Earning all-tournament were: Tyler English (St. Mary's), Mike Spengler (Lancaster), Dale Payne (Clarence), Matt Dempsey (Clarence), Zach Yerington (Hamburg). 

Results from the Victor Tournament
By: Buffalo News
Sunday September 22, 2013

Finals Victor Gold 25-25, St. Joe's 23-23 Semis St. Joe's 25-25, Victor Blue 11-17 Gold quarterfinals St. Joe's 25-25, Jamesville Dewitt 13-15 

All-tournament team: Joe Koszelak, Kyle Kirchberger (St. Joe's), Declan Pierce (Eden).

West takes match in five games
By: Buffalo News
Friday September 20, 2013

The No. 3-ranked West Seneca West boys volleyball team improved to 4-0 in ECIC I, but it needed to win a five-gamer against No. 9 Lancaster to get there. Evan Koehler had 15 kills and Dennis Ulmer added 10 for the visitors.

“We were not serving well all night and usually we’re a good serving team, but it was not going well,” said coach Brett Widman. “I think it was 20-18, and we still weren’t playing well and I put in” Steven Whitlow as a serving substitute “and he served five balls in a row that put Lancaster out of system where their hitting options were limited.” 

• In a rematch of last year’s Section VI Class A final, Frontier beat Orchard Park, 25-14, 25-19, 25-16. Pete Lotocki had a big match for the Falcons. OP won last year’s title in a memorable five-game match at Lake Shore.

St. Joe’s volleyball atop WNY rankings
By: Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | Sports
Thursday September 19, 2013

It’s a nice start. But by no means is the St. Joe’s volleyball team satisfied.

Earlier this week, the Marauders held the top spot in the Western New York boys volleyball poll, up from the No. 5 slot they held in the opening week. 

While being ranked No.1 in the area is something the Marauders certainly take pride in, it’s just one step along the way to the ultimate goal.

“Basically what we said was be proud of it, enjoy it for a moment, but our number one goal is to win the Monsignor Martin championship,” said Marauders’ coach Mark Anzalone.

“This a great step along the way, absolutely,” he added. “But our goal is to be the Monsignor Martin champions.”

St. Joe’s lineup is loaded with experienced players led by co-captains Pat Galvin and Neil Conway. Galvin is a right side hitter, while the 6-foot-3 Conway is a force on the front row at middle blocker.

“I think we’re really excited about it, but we want to maintain focus,” Galvin said. “Our main goal is winning the Monsignor Martin championship. Being No. 1 in Western New York is obviously nice, but it’s really (about) how we end up in the season.”

Galvin said making the leap from fifth to the top spot in a matter of one week shows that the team is indeed making positive strides.

“We’re definitely gaining confidence everyday, every practice,” he said. “And when we saw we were No. 1 it raised every player’s confidence up big time. I think we’re going to be a heck of a team by the end of the season.”

The Marauders also have Peter Laux, an outside hitter, Brad Kreppel (right side), Joe Maiarana (setter), Richard Crumlish,Jr (outside hitter), Matt Molenda and 6-foot-6 Kyle Kirchberger.

Anzalone said with a roster made up entirely of seniors and juniors this team has the plus of three to four seasons of playing and growing together.

“The biggest thing that this team has is they really know how to work together,” said Anzalone. “They know where everyone is on the court. They’re very smooth. Everyone knows where to be and there’s a lot of experience out there and I think that is really showing up on the court.”

In this group, there are a plethora of returning players that were part of last year’s team which was ranked as high a second and finished as co-champions of Monsignor Martin. Canisius repeated as league champions by beating St. Joe’s in the final.

“We have, I want to say, five guys who started on that team starting on this team,” Anzalone said. “So those guys have game experience and pressure situation experience.”

Galvin agreed, saying that the time together on and off the court has helped the group forge that all-important chemistry.

“I think it’s a mentality thing,” said Galvin, “because most of volleyball is mental. Mental toughness. I think as a team we have great mental toughness.”

OP should make noise in tough league
Fall Sports Preview: Boys Volleyball
Thursday September 19, 2013

In all of his years of coaching, Orchard Park boys volleyball coach Matt Lexner doesn’t remember the competition in Western New York being so strong.

“This is going to be a crazy year. The league hasn’t been this wide open since 1989,” Lexner said. “Frontier, Lancaster, Clarence, Orchard Park, West Seneca West and Lockport all have a chance of winning the sectional title.”

The Quakers are coming off a season in which they were 11-1 in the league, 22-4 overall and the sectional champions. Orchard Park was a Regional finalist and was ranked the No. 1 team in WNY in the final rankings and No. 2 in New York State.

Nolan McArdle and Brian Manley are first-year captains for the Quakers. McArdle is one of thee best setters in the state and the only returning starter.

Among the new players expected to step up for the young squad will be outside hitters Manley and Martin Hackford.

“Serving is our strength, but we’re a work in progress,” Lexner said. “September will be a rough ride, but look for us to really make our move in early to mid-October.”

The Quakers return to action on Sept. 20 at Frontier.

Hamburg, Eden looking to challenge for Class B title
Thursday September 19, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports

TAKE A SWING — Patrick Stroh and Hamburg look to be a challenger among the Section VI
Class B field, which was won last year by Lake Shore. File Photo by Ron Larson.


Robert Pierce knows the landscape of Western New York volleyball and he expressed confidence there are at least several teams that could challenge for the Class B title. No surprise, his Eden team and Hamburg, both WNY powers, are among those projected challengers.

The Raiders may not have any seniors on what amounts to a small team number-wise, but they may have some of the best talent in WNY.

Hayden Herc, a 6-foot-4 junior, has learned how to play to his size and improved his footwork, so Pierce said the Raiders will get the ball his way very often. Joining him up front is fellow 6-4 middle Shane Smith, who’s improved his confidence and focus, according to Pierce. Also growing into one of the better players in WNY is sophomore outside Declan Pierce, who can score from almost anywhere on the court and has become a superior passer and improved his court sense, his father and coach noted.

Joining Pierce on the outside is Cole Overhoff, who is quick and excels on defense and at serving, according to his coach. Jake Schlagel has been growing as the team’s setter, despite not playing year-round, like many of the others. Also playing on the right side is sophomore Connor Jasinski. Classmate Mitchell Mason, who comes from the football team, is getting more comfortable in his role, while Mike Seggio has shown good court awareness, Pierce said.

Eden was one of only a few WNY teams to make it to the championship bracket of the Eden Pan Am Invitational, last week. But Hamburg beat Eden in a non-league match, winning in three close games.

Among Hamburg’s returning players are senior leftside Patrick Stroh, an all-division first team selection last year with a big jump; junior 6-foot-4 middle hitter Zach Yerrington; physical senior rightside Trevor Vail and junior leftsideDoug Horbachewski, whose well-roundedness has allowed him to contribute at several positions.

Also for Hamburg, sophomore Ryan Dils steps into the starting setter spot; junior Brian Camp has been a surprise at middle blocker and senior Ryan Filas will be a first-year starter at libero. Back row specialists include Chris Fuentes, Matt Touris, Charlie Gordner, Kody Omphalius and John-Francis Orozcom, while Tom Hoff has helped with his blocking.

“We have a high ceiling for improvement and we have a real nice team that is very unselfish,” said Hamburg head coach Brian Carroll, whose team took second at the Clarence Tournament.

Last season’s Class B champion Lake Shore is in a transition year, after graduating one of the volleyball program’s highest-ranked senior classes to ever step foot on the court. The Eagles won two straight sectional titles and, last year, advanced to the state title game after a Far West Regional victory.

Only senior libero Brad Owens remains from the starting six, while freshman Devin Joslyn and sophomore Kyle Wishman will be looked to in sharing setting duties, as well as passing and hitting. Sophomore Nathan Myers and junior Tyler Becker will play in the middle and juniors Gabriel Carruth and Michael Roach will bring athleticism and versatility to the outside, according to head coach John Coyle. Rounding out the roster are Steven Budniewski, Andrew Busch, Joe Nappo, Steven Duruski, Stone Garlow and Christian Gravius.

Frontier returns much of a team that battled Orchard Park to a five-game Class A championship match and looks to bring back the sectional crown the program won in 2010 and `11. Captains Dylan Durni and Jake Gleason, both Second Team All-Western New York selections, will play major roles in Frontier’s chance at a title.

Durni, a senior coming off a season in which he led the team in kills, has already been named all-tournament at Eden. Gleason, a four-year varsity junior, led the team in aces and assists. Also expected to be key players in head coach Bill Faust’s rotation are seniors Erik Hatten, who moves from middle hitter to opposite, after finishing second on the team in kills; Jeffrey Taylor, an outside hitter who played opposite last year, and Peter Lotecki, who led the squad in digs as its libero. Also, senior Tom Stoklosa, a standout in swimming and baseball, has joined the team this season and already become a factor at middle hitter. Newcomers include Tyler Tomasik, Matthew Buss, Andrew Heppner and Josh Zdon.

St. Francis has one of the most experienced teams in Andy Lanigan’s seven seasons, since taking over the program he once played for, but fellow Monsignor Martin teams St. Joe’s and Canisius are two of the top three ranked teams in WNY. Lanigan said he is hoping his team can rise to the challenge in the league, using a difficult schedule, heavily stacked with road games to start the season, to ready for the postseason.

Among six seniors on the team are three-year starting middle hitter Tom Duszkiewicz, a Second Team All-Catholic selection last year, and Jack Moretti, one of the taller setters in WNY who is also another weapon on offense. At outside hitter are two three-year starters in the taller Dave Kennedy and shorter Nick Novak, who Lanigan joked are like Mutt and Jeff, but both can sky into the air. Also returning to a starting spot is sophomore libero Jack Kaempf, who is back after breaking his arm, last season.

Key dates on St. Francis’ schedule include Sept. 26 for the Rock the Red Homecoming Game against St. Joe’s and then Oct. 2 for the annual Blackout Game against 13-time defending league champion Canisius. St. Francis, which took second at the Cheektowaga Tournament, will also play in the Hamburg Invitational on Oct. 19.

Canisius wins in five
By: Buffalo News
Thursday September 19, 2013

Good play in the middle gave Canisius a 25-23 win in the fifth set as the No. 2 Crusaders pulled out a tight match at No. 3 West Seneca West in a non-league boys volleyball game.

“Our passing improved and we had some key defensive plays,” Canisius coach Tom Weislo said of the fifth set. “We were able to score off our middle attack and that’s how we won the match. We got a side out for game point off our middle attack.”
Trevor Gooch had 27 kills and Brian Costello 41 assists for Canisius (7-2).

Blue Devils’ boys volleyball could surprise with help of newcomers
Wednesday September 18, 2013 | By:Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | Sports

When the Kenmore West boys volleyball team steps onto the court this season it might very well have the most interesting blend of veterans and rookies of any team in the Niagara Frontier League.

As the Blue Devils come into the 2013 season they will be led by senior co-captains Niko Mancuso and Mitch Maracle.

Nick Atallah and Nester Pascua also return for Kenmore West.

After that, well, it’s what coach Gary Tocke has playfully dubbed his “green team.”

Tyler Grandits, Noah Whalen, David Blumberg, Tyler Steubchen and 6-foot-5 Joe Gardon are all brand new to the world of varsity. 

In fact, Blumberg, Whalen and Grandits — who are in the West basketball program as well — have never played organized volleyball in their lives.

But Tocke feels they all bring a combination of athletic ability and a desire to learn.

When mixed with the returning veterans, it could add up to good things for the Blue Devils.

The key, Tocke said, is for the newcomers to watch and learn from the veterans.

“I tell the kids everyday, you guys that are green. Watch the guys that have played,” said Tocke.

“You might be a little bit taller than them. You might be able to jump a little higher. But guess what, they do things fundamentally a little better than you. So you can learn from them,” he added.

Tocke said he tells the younger players to view the experienced guys as mentors.

Maracle, who was pulled up to varsity late un his sophomore season said, that he and Mancuso are only too happy to help the newcomers in anyway they can.

“They’re front row players, so we’re trying to teach them how to hit well,” Maracle said. “And we’re helping them out in the back row and trying to help them get where they need to be.”

As a whole, the Blue Devils appear to be on the same page and eager to not only learn from one another, but also play for each other as well. 

Most of all, as a group, the Blue Devils have said they have the mindset of ‘We’re here. Let’s do our best and not take any game for granted.’

“We’ve got a couple of new players and we’re all a lot more enthusiastic and focused,” Maracle said. “And we want to win. We’re out here having a good time, but we still want to win.”

Surveying over his team with an optimistic glance, Tocke said he knows win or lose his team will give all they have. And in the end, that’s all he is really asking for.

“We could turn out to be a pretty competitive group,” he said. “We always strive to be competitive.”

The Blue Devils host the Gary Tocke Tournament on Sept.21, starting at 9 a.m.

Sectional finalist Bulldogs’ spikers rebuild behind Toms
Wednesday September 18, 2013 | By:Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | Sports

It’s a season of change for the Kenmore East boys volleyball team.

As the Bulldogs gear up for the 2013 season they will lean on the Tom and Tom combo to lead the squad.

Drake Dejesus, Kyle Patterson and Michael Crawford, who were the core of the program’s resurgence in recent years, have all graduated after taking the ‘Dogs to the Class B title game last season.

This season, co-captains Tom Barton and Tom Vancuran will lead a very young Bulldogs team that features just one other returning player — Justin Haeick, an outside hitter/middle blocker.

Barton will anchor the back row as his team’s starting libero, while Vancuran will set and play outside hitter.

Though the three returnees saw somewhat limited time last season, Bulldogs coach Kyle Horvatis said Barton and Vancuran have both taken a great deal of pride in being leaders and have shown early on they are ready to do whatever is asked of them.

Horvatis added that while both have been working hard and setting the right examples for their teammates, Vancuran has really emerged as a standout all-around player.

“He’s the only guy right now who possesses that all-around nature for the game,” said Horvatis. “He’s the closest that would come to Kyle Patterson or Mike Crawford, and he showed that last year, too, as a 10th grader.”

Horvatis stated that he thinks the rest of the team will learn and improve just by watching Vancuran and Barton.

Vancuran and Barton know that with a young team a lot is riding on their shoulders and they don’t want to let their teammates down.

“We want to show leadership and obviously help lead our team to success,” Vancuran said.

Though the Bulldogs are young, the plus side is that with so many guys having graduated it opens the door of opportunity to win starting jobs.

“I think that a lot of these guys they’ve stepped up and they understand the leadership role they have to take on the court,” Vancuran said. “And us veterans who are coming back we’ve helped them out and show them stuff.”

Horvatis said that, early on, Rob Mol at setter, Rhett Boswell (middle), Michael Rice (right) and Ben Leising (outside hitter/middle blocker) have made impressive strides and taken advantage of their playing time.

“They played very well (in our opener against Sweet Home) and they know the deal about what they have to do as well to be part of this year’s success,” Horvatis said.

The Bulldogs lineup also features Josh Emer and Nick Henry, both outside hitters, and Jeff Wolfe at libero.

Experienced NT boys spikers also driven by players not on court
Wednesday September 18, 2013 | By:Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | Sports

This season, when the North Tonawanda boys volleyball team hits the court, players won’t just be thinking about playing their best for the guys next to them.

They’ll be giving their all for those that didn’t make the cut.

As Jacks’ coach Luke Hodgson looked over his 2013 squad he was very pleased with what he saw. In fact, Hodgson was cautiously optimistic as he pointed out that this squad had a wealth of talent that was similar to the 2007 NT team that blazed to the NFL title with a spotless 14-0 league mark.

But along the way, Hodgson had to make some tough choices by cutting a few players. It’s something he didn’t want to have to do. 

For that reason, Hodgson is telling his team the perfect way to honor those who did and didn’t make the team, is making the most of your chance to play.

“This was one of the few years that we had to make cuts. And those guys that were cut they could all play,” Hodgson explained. “A lot of guys were from last year. 

“I just kind of said the guys who are here now, you owe it to the guys who got cut to perform at your utmost,” he added. “You can’t complain about being tired. You can’t complain about being bored. You’re here to win. And if you’re not, there are guys that would be more than happy to switch spots with you.”

Seeing teammates from last year’s squad not make the roster this year has driven home the message to every player that no one’s spot is secure. And it’s about keeping up effort and attitude.

“We all realize that could be us,” Donovan Book said. “If we don’t put in the effort, we could be cut. So everyday we’re just working as hard as we can.”

Hodgson said the increased interest in varsity goes hand-in-hand with the growth of the junior varsity and modified programs.

The Jacks are built with a core of veterans in seniors Joe Piotrowski, Ryan Fritz, Brandon Lavocat and Max McCabe, as well as juniors Donovan Book and Sam Weglarski.

Depth and versatility are working in the Jacks’ favor as Hodgson feels his players can be slotted into various roles and that his top seven or eight guys are all capable of starting.

Another plus of the depth is that it has sparked a fire under every player every single day because players know that just one moment of slacking off or a half effort could cost them playing time. 

So the Jacks walk into the gym every day ready to give their best and draw the best out of each other.

“It has [worked] already,” Hodgson said. “I haven’t seen this kind of hustle in a very long time, which is good.”

From an X’s and O’s perspective, Hodgson said the increased tempo in practice allows them to work on more game-related situations, as opposed to reverting back to the re-teaching of basics.

“It’s great knowing we’re all together on the team,” Book said. “We’re all working hard, helping each other out. We’re all friends on the team. We all work together. I think we’ll work great together, as a whole.”

Joseph Karl, Zach Krisnosky, James Davignon, Griffin Spatorico, Victor Willison, Damian Brady, Michael Awad, Robert Johnson and Kyle Brady complete NT’s opening day roster. 

NT hosted its annual tournament on Sept. 7.

Amherst boys volleyball rebounds against Holland
By: Amherst Bee
Wednesday September 18, 2013

Amherst’s varsity boys volleyball team bounced back from an 8-25, 11-25, 11-25 home loss to Eden Sept. 9 with a 25-18, 25-14, 25-14 home victory over Holland Wednesday.

Evan Hill recorded five kills and six aces and Alex Touma recorded 10 assists against Holland.

“We responded well to our previous loss with 12 aces and 13 kills as a team,” Amherst coach Paul Wlosinski said. “This helped us gain control of the match.”

Wlosinski said his team had a difficult time serve-receiving against Eden, the powerhouse of ECIC III. 

The Tigers closed out the week at the Cheektowaga Tournament, beating Iroquois, 25-13, 25-21, losing to Kenmore West, 21-25, 25-27 and splitting games against Cheektowaga, 25-22, 20-25, in pool play.

Key contributors for the Tigers against Iroquois were: Hall (five kills, three blocks), Greg Zimmerman (four kills), Touma (nine assists) and Dante Merrill (four aces).

“We started the day very well and played consist ently,” Wlosinski said. 

Wlosinski said he was proud of how the team played against Kenmore West, a Niagara Frontier League team.

“We communicated and were aggressive on defense,” Wlosinski said. “I’m proud of how hard we played.”

Leading the Tigers were: Hall (seven kills, five digs), Merrill (five kills, three digs), Touma (13 assists) and Zimmerman (10 digs).

Wlosinski knew his team would have a tough match against Cheektowaga.

“We have a huge division rivalry against them and it was great to start the season off this way,” he said. “I know our players look forward to competing against them this season (home on Sept. 25, away on Oct. 17).

Hall had six kills and Touma had seven assists against Cheektowaga.

Amherst (1-2, 1-1) traveled to Maryvale Tuesday, but information about the match was unavailable before press time. They host Depew Thursday.

WSW set for showdown
By: Buffalo News
Wednesday September 18, 2013

West Seneca West, the third-ranked team in the WNY Boys Volleyball Coaches Poll, cleared the decks for Wednesday’s showdown against No. 2 Canisius by sweeping Williamsville North, 25-18, 25-17 and 25-16, in their ECIC I match Tuesday. Gregg Hart led the Indians with six kills.

No. 4 Clarence took a grueling match from No. 9 Lancaster, 25-23, 26-24, 21-25 and 25-19, in a meeting of ranked ECIC I teams. Jake Baran had 16 digs and Dale Payne and Brandon Hill 10 kills each for the Red Devils (7-1, 3-0).

Elsewhere, fifth-ranked Williamsville South improved to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in ECIC II by rallying from a first set loss to defeat Sweet Home, 21-25, 25-14, 25-20 and 25-21. Anthony Podgorsak led the Billies with 12 kills and six aces while Ryan Nigro had 10 blocks. … In ECIC III, eighth-ranked Eden defeated Depew in straight sets, 25-13, 25-14 and 25-18. Declan Pierce had nine aces and eight assists for the Raiders (2-0).

St. Mary’s volleyball stuns St. Joe’s
By: Buffalo News
Tuesday September 17, 2013

The St. Mary’s boys volleyball season got off to a memorable start with an upset of St. Joe’s, the No. 1-ranked team in Western New York. The unranked Lancers went four games before stunning the Marauders on their own floor in a Monsignor Martin Association match played on Monday. St. Mary’s senior Tyler English had 18 kills and sophomore Alex Hokaj added 10. “Tyler was hitting over the St. Joe’s blocks and was just overpowering today,” said coach Keith Koch.

St. Mary’s won the first game 25-18, but the Marauders came back to win the second 25-17. St. Mary’s won the third game, 25-23, and put the match away with a 25-15 decision in the fourth game. “We got up 5-1 to start the fourth game, and once we got that lead, we kept building on it,” said Koch. “During timeouts the kids were loose and joking around. They had a great opportunity, and they were confident they could get the job done.”

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 9/17/13
September 17, 2013

WNY Coaches Poll

1. St. Joe's (8) 96
2. Canisius (1) 91
3. West Seneca West 77
4. Clarence 71
5. Williamsville South (2) 68
6. Frontier 63
7. Hamburg (1) 51
8. Eden 42
9. Lancaster 40
10. Lockport 28


Upcoming Games
By: Buffalo News
Tuesday September 17, 2013

The No. 4 Clarence boys volleyball team hosts a pair of key matches in ECIC I when No. 9 Lancaster visits today and No. 7 Hamburg comes to town on Thursday. … No. 3 West Seneca West hosts No. 2 Canisius as part of homecoming on Wednesday . . . Orchard Park travels to No. 6 Frontier on Friday. … The Ken-Ton and Sweet Home Tournaments are Saturday while Eden travels to the Victor Tournament.

Cheektowaga Invitational
By: Buffalo News
Saturday September 14, 2013

Finals Grand Island def. St. Francis 25-23, 25-12 Semi Finals Grand Island def. Cheektowaga 25-19, 25-11 St. Francis def. Kenmore West 25-14, 25-16 Pool A Cheektowaga v. Kenmore West 24-26, 25-22 Amherst def. Iroquois 25-14, 25-16 Cheektowaga def. Iroquois 25-14, 25-15 Kenmore West def. Amherst 25-21, 27-25 Amherst def. Cheektowaga 25-22, 25-20 Kenmore West def. Iroquois 25-8, 25-7 Pool B Maryvale def. Kenmore East 25-23, 25-21 Grand Island def. St. Francis 25-22, 25-18 St. Francis def. Kenmore East 25-20, 25-15 Grand Island v. Maryvle 25-20, 20-25 St. Francis def. Maryvale 25-11, 25-19 Grand Island def. Kenmore East 25-17, 25-22

Spikers lose at WS West
By: Sun Staff | Sports
Thursday September 12, 2013

The Red Raiders fell to host West Seneca West in four sets: 25 – 20, 25 – 18, 11 – 25 and 25 – 21, in their first road match of the year, Sept. 2. The Red Raiders competed all night, but came up short. St. Francis senior setter Jack Moretti led the team with 25 assists, while classmate Tom Duskiweicz led the team with 11 kills. Senior Nick Novak recorded eight kills, while sophomore Jake Kaempf led the team with 13 digs. The Red Raiders then traveled to Orchard Park, last week.

Eden one of final WNY survivors as host of Pan-Am volleyball tourney
By: Johnathan Snyder, Reporter | Sports
Thursday September 12, 2013

There was no bias when Eden head volleyball coach Robert Pierce said he believed the Pan-Am Invitational, held at his home team’s high school, has become the best volleyball tournament in the state.

With 16 teams’ coming from all parts of Western New York, Rochester and beyond, he has a reason to think the 36th annual tournament scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7 will bring some of the best volleyball talent around to Eden.

Eden was among the Buffalo-area schools, including Frontier and St. Joe’s, to advance to the quarterfinals of the championship flight, but it was the Rochester teams that Pierce said stood out the most.

“Every coach would equally admit this, they love getting into [this tournament],” he said. “You can’t take a point off. Good luck getting out of pool play, finishing one or two, and tomorrow the tournament could have run and probably another team could’ve advanced. It’s that tough.”

Penfield took down Fairport, to claim the 2013 crown. It was the first time since 1995 that Penfield competed in the tournament, according to Coach Mike Fusar. 

St. Francis Swings Away Elsewhere locally, Tom Duszkiewicz is pictured
taking a big swing in St. Francis’ recent match with Orchard Park. 
Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.

St. Joe’s was the only WNY school to reach the semifinals. Frontier was taken down by the eventual champion Penfield, and St. Joe’s by Fairport. Eden lost to McQuaid Jesuit in the quarters.

The tournament was set up with four pools, each with four teams. There was high level competition in each pool, highlighted by McQuaid from Rochester, which is the defending Section V and state champion in Division I.

The individual talent, along with the overall team talent, was noteworthy, according to Pierce. The tournament featured many players who are part of the USA volleyball program and have lengthy family histories in the sport.

“We were really honored that they invited us to come here,” Fusar said. “Schedules and conflicts kind of prevented us from coming. Then [Pierce] invited us back this year and we were glad to make it. It’s really one of the best tournaments in the whole state. We got to play the top teams in Buffalo and two other top teams from the Rochester area. We got to play a lot of top schools. It was a great opportunity for my kids.”

Eden, which is a smaller Division II school, competed against some of the large Division I schools. During the quarterfinals against McQuaid, after falling in the first set, the Raiders rallied to win the second, 33 – 31, before eventually losing the decisive third set.

“We put it together and played one of our best matches against that McQuaid team,” Pierce said. “It was fun.”

Eden is a nine-time winner of the tournament, which leads all schools. McQuaid is a two-time winner with its most recent title in 2011, with a victory against Frontier in the finals. The Falcons are also a three-time winner of the event, including taking a title in 2012.

The tournament is a true test of not only volleyball skill, but of mental toughness and stamina, according to Pierce. Fairport played 11 matches of volleyball, to win the championship. The tournament started at 8 a.m. and finished a little before 6.

Locals Declan Pierce of Eden, the coach’s son, and Dylan Durni of Frontier, were named to the all-tournament team.

Divisional play is Eden’s next focus, as it will open the season against Maryvale this week.

Robert Pierce said that he feels good about the level at which his team is playing and expects to continue the program’s success in Erie County Interscholastic Conference Division III.

Western New York 2013 Boy's Top 10 Poll - 9/10/13
September 10, 2013

WNY Coaches Poll

1. St. Joe's (7) 111
2. Frontier 90
3. Canisius (2) 89
4. Eden (1) 72
5. Clarence (1) 70
6. Williamsville South (1) 49
7. West Seneca West 46
8. Orchard Park 38
9. Lockport 34
10. Lancaster 27


Sweet Home boys volleyball coach pleased with team’s attitude  
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

It’s early in the 2013 season but Sweet Home varsity boys volleyball coach Rich Cicero has been pleased with the effort he has received from his players.

“I have a great group of kids focused on winning games and improving themselves,” Cicero said. “I’m pleased with the effort and attitude as far as keeping their head on the court and making good decisions. When they make those decisions, we play better.”

The Panthers are led by senior captains Taylor Sutherland (6-foot-5 middle hitter), Ben Miller (left side/outside hitter) and Corey Allen (setter).

Sutherland, a returning ECIC II Second Team All-Star, can do it all, said Cicero.

“He can hit, set and has a great jump serve,” Cicero said. “He can do a lot of things well.”

Cicero said Allen, a returning starter, is making good decisions with his passing and bringing up the level of play.

Also returning is senior James Nix, an athletic 6-5 middle hitter.

The rest of the starting lineup is juniors Connor Heald (left side hitter) and Mike Belluz (libero). Juniors Justin Okun and Mitchell Meza are battling for the starting spot at right side hitter. Junior Wesley Caliguiri will contribute as a setter.

Connor Heald of Sweet Home comes up with the
block against Derek Burghardt of Clarence during
 the Panthers’ 17-25, 15-25, 22-25 road loss Sept. 3.
Photo by Patrick McPartlandPurchase 

The Panthers are 2-1 through their first three matches, beating Kenmore East and Kenmore West in three games and losing to Clarence in three games. They also competed in the Clarence Tournament, splitting games with Eden and Amherst and losing to Canisius.

Cicero is hoping his team can be in contention for the ECIC II title.

“It’s going to be really competitive,” Cicero said. “No one is weak. It’s up for grabs.”

In another matter: Sweet Home will also be hosting the inaugural Sweet Home Boys Volleyball Alumni Reunion Tournament from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Sweet Home High School gym.

Interested former Sweet Home players are asked to donate $15 to the Sweet Home boys volleyball booster club.

“A lot of people forget how great our boys volleyball program was in the 70s and 80s,” Cicero said. “There were a lot of Division I players that came out of Sweet Home. I know a lot of the guys would love to come back and relive some of the memories.”

For more information, contact Cicero at rcicero@sweethomeschools. org or friend him on Facebook.

Amherst hoping hard work leads to victories  
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

If the Amherst boys volleyball team continues to put in the work, coach Peter Wlosinski is optimistic of what his players are capable of this year.

“I’m hoping hard work and determination of each player can lead to the success of the team,” Wlosinski said. “It’s not always about getting the victory. Improving is our main focus right now.”

The Tigers are led by senior captains Evan Hall and Alex Touma.

Hall, a 6-foot-4 middle blocker, led the team with 60 blocks and was second in kills with 86. He is a returning ECIC III Second Team All-Star. He can also play in the back row.

“He’s a consistent player,” Wlosinski said. “He’s smart, hits well and understands his role. He shows a lot of good leadership.”

Wlosinski said Touma, a 5-8 outside hitter, is one of the most consistent passers on the team.

Other seniors who will be starting are Dante Merrill (5-10 setter), Myron Harvey (6-foot right side hitter) and Greg Zimmermann (5-10 outside hitter). Of the three, Harvey is a returning starter.

The team’s other middle blocker is 6-2 junior Ethan Ahuna.

Junior Ben Touma starts at libero.

Other players on the roster include juniors Javier Fox (5-10 defensive specialist/middle blocker), Conor Brinkworth (5-9 defensive specialist) and Harmanjeet Singh (6-0 right side/defensive specialist).

Amherst opened its season by losing to St. Francis, 30-15, in the bronze division final of the Clarence Tournament Aug. 31. In pool play, Amherst lost to Canisius, 11-25, 9-25, and Eden, 19-25, 11-25, and split with Sweet Home, 25-23, 16-25. The Tigers beat Iroquois 30-25 in the first match of the bronze division.

Amherst lost its regular season home opener against Williamsville South, 13-25, 11-25, 12-25, Sept. 3.

Wlosinski said he has noticed growth every day from his players.

“I’ve noticed a lot of growth,” he said. “Our communication and passing has improved. The kids are having fun and showing their love of the game.”

Amherst, 7-5 in ECIC III and 7-12 overall last year, hosted Eden Monday, but information about the game was unavailable before The Bee went to press. The Tigers host Holland Wednesday.

South wins inaugural Maryvale Tournament  
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

The Williamsville South varsity boys volleyball team is off to a great start to the 2013 season.

The Billies, ranked eighth in Western New York large schools, lost only one game in pool play on their way to winning the inaugural Maryvale Tournament Aug. 31 and recorded non-league victories against Amherst, 25-13, 25-11, 25-12, Sept. 3 and fourth-ranked large school Lockport, 29-27, 26-24, 25-17, last Wednesday.

“After the Lockport match, I asked the Lockport coach how you think we can stack up with other teams and he said that we can compete with anybody,” South coach Thom Knab said. “It’s up to us. We have to perform on the court.”

Knab credits a lot of the early season success due to the experience of the returning players, led by 6-foot senior captains Anthony Podgorsak and Steve Zaprowski.

Podgorsak, a four-year starter, is a returning All-Western New York Second Team outside hitter who led the Billies in kills last season. Podgorsak was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Maryvale Tournament.

Zaprowski is a returning ECIC II First Team outside hitter who was originally brought up during his freshman year.

Knab said both have developed into incredible serve-receivers, provide a good attack and use their experience to cover the court. 

Other returning league all-stars include 6-foot-3 junior middle hitter Christian Graziano (ECIC II Second Team, led team in blocks last season, named to All-Tournament Team of Maryvale Tournament) and 6-foot sophomore setter Joe Zanelotti (ECIC II First Team).

Knab said Zanelotti is developing into a mature player, makes good decisions and places the ball well for teammates. He recorded 78 assists to garner MVP honors at the Maryvale Tournament. South beat Grand Island, 25-17, 25-19, in the tournament final.

Seniors Kenny Stuber and Austin Collins are sharing playing time at libero.

Other starters include seniors Austin Baker (middle hitter) and junior Ryan Nigro (right side hitter).

Rounding out the team are seniors Will Atkinson (middle hitter) and Barrett Lacey (outside hitter), juniors Brendan Bratton (middle hitter), Braedan Gillman (right side), Paul Jager (outside hitter), and Tyler Langl (outside hitter), and sophomore Shawn Barbalato (middle hitter).

Williamsville South Varsity Boys, Champions at inaugural Maryvale Tournament

Overall, Knab said the team is very balanced and has no second gear.

“It could be game point for the other team and they play all out,” Knab said.

South tied for second place last year in ECIC III with a 9-3 record and finished 15-9 overall.

The Billies hosted West Seneca East Monday, but information about the team was unavailable before press time. They travel to Iroquois Wednesday and host Williamsville North Thursday. 

Flames learning on the fly, return three players  
by PATRICK J. NAGY Reporter

There is a lot of unknown on the Williamsville East varsity boys volleyball team.

The Flames return only three players from last year’s 12-7 team that lost to Kenmore East in the Section VI Class B quarterfinals. Coach Mike Braunscheidel said he is shuffling many of the newer players to determine the best combination for a starting lineup.

“We are kind of learning on the fly as we go, but I definitely expect us to be a better team at the end of the season,” Braunscheidel said.

Two of the returning players are the team captains and the only returning starters — 6-foot-2 seniors Michael Wisniewski (outside hitter) and Alex Wehrlin (middle hitter).

“They lead on and off the court and demand excellence and the most from all of the players on the team,” Braunscheidel said. “When practice or a match is not going well, they are there to pick the team up.”

The other returning starter is junior libero/back row specialist Dylan Cicero, a three-year varsity player.

“He’s all over the floor,” Braunscheidel said. “If the ball is in the air, he’s going to get it off. He’s consistent from the service line, and is knowledgeable on the court at helping the other players with positioning in the back row.”

The rest of the team is new to varsity and in some cases, to the sport.

Filling in starting positions at the beginning of the season as of press time are junior first-year player Cort Williams (6-2 middle hitter) and juniors Patrick Irving (setter/weak side hitter) and Matt Millace (setter).

Junior first-year player Kyle Williams (outside hitter), Aaron Parks (outside hitter) and Joe Adcock (outside hitter) are battling for a starting position.

Other new players are seniors Eric Marecki (utility player) and Leo Marecki (outside hitter) and juniors Zach Feller (libero).

East opened its season at the Maryvale Tournament Aug. 31, losing two games to St. Mary’s of Lancaster, splitting games with Grand Island and beating West Seneca East.

“I was pleased with the effort considering it was the first time playing for many kids,” Braunscheidel said.

North boys volleyball starts from scratch 
From Amherst Bee

The 2013 version of the Williamsville North varsity boys volleyball team looks almost nothing like last year’s squad that finished 12-8.

Only two players who regularly saw time in the starting lineup return, senior captains Connor Mergler (6-foot-4 outside hitter) and Will Stryker (setter, three-year varsity player). They are the only seniors on the roster.

Juniors Sam Cimato (6-2 outside hitter), Dylan Lambert (6-2 right-side hitter) and Owen Green (6-3 right-side hitter) were on last year’s varsity team but saw limited action.

Newer players who will contribute are juniors David Lyskawa (setter), Jeff Calderson (back row/setter), Jackson Collis (libero), Bill Kong (right side), and sophomores Noah Chojnacki (outside hitter), Maceo Jack (6-3 middle hitter), Connor Thomas (back row/set) and Ryan Green (utility).

“It will be a growing year,” North coach Mike Minnuto said. “We’ll take our lumps a little bit, but we should gain maturity. We have a lot of younger kids who are excited to play. We’re looking to be competitive in every game.”


Maceo Jack of Williamsville North slams the ball during the 
Spartans’ season-opening match at Lancaster Monday. The 
Spartans lost, 9-25, 17-25, 13-25. Photo by John NormilePurchase 

North played at Lancaster Monday, but information about the game was unavailable before press time. The Spartans host Clarence Wednesday and travel to Williamsville South Thursday.

Eden Pan-Am  
From Buffalo News

Lancaster’s Jay Baumann goes up against Bethany defenders at 
Eden Pan-Am Boys Volleyball Tournament. Photos by 
James P. McCoy and John Hickey/Buffalo News


Declan Pierce of Eden, Dylan Durni of Frontier and Neil Conway of St. Joe’s were the locals named to the all-tournament team of the Eden Pan-Am Tournament. Penfield beat Fairport to win the title.

2013 Eden Pan Am Gold Finals Penfield def. Fairport 25-19, 25-17 Gold semifinals Penfield def McQuaid 24-26,25-15, 15-12 Fairport def. St. Joes 25-16,25-21 Gold quarterfinals Penfield def. Frontier 25-14,25-21 McQuaid def Eden 25-19,31-33, 15-6 St. Joe’s def. Bethlehem 25-16,25-18 Fairport def. Victor 25-19,25-15 Silver Finals WSW def Lancaster no score Silver semifinals Lancaster def Clarence 30-20 WSW def Canisius 30-27 Bronze Finals OP def Hamburg 30-26 Bronze semifinals Op def. Webster 30-26 Hamburg def Lake Shore 30-24 Pool A Eden def. Webster 25-15,25-18 Eden def. Lancaster 25-19,21-25 Eden def. Bethlehem 25-22,23-25 Bethlehem def. Webster 25-17,25-16 Lancaster def. Webster 25-17,25-27 Bethlehem def. Lancaster 25-21,25-22 Pool B Canisius def. Hamburg 25-15,23-25 Penfield def. Victor 25-22,25-22 Penfield def. Canisius 25-13,25-21 Victor def. Hamburg 27-25.25-15 Canisius def. Victor 26-24,20-25 Penfield def. Hamburg 25-16,25-16 Pool C Fairport vs W.S. West 25-10 , 25-19 Frontier vs. W.S. West 30-28,25-20 Fairport vs. Lake Shore 25-15,25-8 Frontier vs. Lakeshore 25-12,25-11 Fairport vs. Frontier 25-17,26-28 WSW vs Lak Shore 25-10,28-26 Pool D St. Joes vs. Orchard Park 25-13,25-17 McQuaid vs Clarence 25-23,22-25 Clarence vs Orchard Park 25-15,27-25 McQuaid vs St. Joes 25-19,25-20 McQuaid vs Orchard Park 25-16,25-23 St. Joes vs Clarence 25-17,25-22 All-tourney team: Declan Pierce (Eden), Dylan Durni (Frontier), Neil Conway (St.Joe’s), Collin Mahan (V-Victor), Dane Leclair (V-McQuaid), John Roate (V- Penfield) Garret Quiel (V-Penfield), Brad Flanagan (V-Fairport), Josh Holm (V- Fairport). MVP: Sam Bittker (V-Penfield)

North Tonawanda Tournament

• Eamon Yates and Brad Schneider were named all-tournament for Lockport following the Lions’ 26-24, 22-25, 15-8 win over St. Mary’s in the finals of the North Tonawanda Tournament.

Finals Lockport 26-22-15, St. Mary’s 24–25–8 Semifinals St. Mary’s 20-25-25, Wmsv. East 25–22–23 Lockport 25-25, N. Tonawanda 9–16 Pool A St. Mary’s 25–25, O’Hara 18-15 Grand Island 26-25, N. Tonawanda 24–27 St. Mary’s 25-25, Grand Island 22–21 N. Tonawanda 25-25, O’Hara 13–21 Grand Island 25-25, O’Hara 16-17 N. Tonawanda 22-25, St. Mary’s 21–20 Pool B Lockport 25-25, Kenmore East 11–13 Kenmore West 25-25, Wmsv East 22–12 Kenmore East 25-25, Kenmore West 19–16 Lockport 25-25, Wmsv. East 22-16 Lockport 25-25, Kenmore West 19-23 Wmsv. East 25-25, Kenmore East 16–18 All Tournament Team: Eamon Yates (Lockport), Jake Concannon (St. Mary’s), Victor Willison (North Tonawanda), Michael Wisniewski (Williamsville East), Brad Schneider (Lockport), Tyler English (St. Mary’s). 

South boys sweep Lockport  
From Buffalo News

There may be a little movement when the next Western New York boys volleyball poll is released.

That’s because host No. 8 Williamsville South scored a three-game sweep of No. 4 Lockport on Wednesday. Scores of the match were 29-27, 26-24 and 25-17.

The Billies improved to 4-0 as senior outside hitter Anthony Podgorsak led the way with 13 kills, meanwhile Joe Zanelotti, a sophomore, dished out 34 assists. Junior middle hitter Christian Graziano had 10 kills and two aces.

Will South, which reached the sectional semifinals – losing to eventual champion Lake Shore – opened the season by winning the Maryvale Tournament last Saturday. The Billies, who beat St. Mary’s and Grand Island en route to the Maryvale crown, have five returning starters from last season’s team.

“We’re just working on getting our consistency back but a pretty strong start for us,” South coach Thom Knab said. “We have several offensive weapons. We’re trying to utilize all of them.”

Clarence volleyball nets long-awaited win  
From Buffalo News

Clarence had been hosting the season-opening Clarence Boys Volleyball Invitational for the last 27 years, but never had won it. That all changed on Saturday.

Throughout the tournament coaches had been saying there were 8-10 teams out of the field of 16 capable of winning the title, but by the time the final rolled around, it was the Red Devils beating Hamburg, 25-23, 25-19.

Senior setter Skyler Reinhardt of Clarence was named MVP. “He moved the ball all over the place,” said Clarence coach Kevin Starr. “He was very creative with where he put the ball, we had hits from every part of the court. That made us more difficult to play defense against because we spread the ball around so much.”

Clarence advanced to the final by beating Lockport in the semifinals and winning its pool. It was the first time the Red Devils made the final since 1995.

Making the all-tournament team were Jack Whelan and Jason Donorovich of Lockport, Brian Costello and Trevor Gooch of defending champion Canisius, Patrick Stroh and Zach Werington of Hamburg and Brandon Hill of Clarence.

Clarence Tournament

at Clarence

BoysFinals Clarence 25-25, Hamburg 23-19 Semifinals Clarence 25-25, Lockport 21-21 Hamburg 24-25-17, Canisius 26-22-15 Gold quarterfinals Clarence 21-25-15, St. Joe's 25-15-9 Canisius 25-25, Orchard Park 19-14 Lockport 25-25-15. Eden 22-7-9 Hamburg 25-25, Frontier 21-22 Silver finals Lancaster 30, W.S. West 25 Silver semfinals Lancaster 30, Sweet Home 12 W.S West 30, Lake Shore 12 Bronze playoffs St. Francis 30, Amherst 15 St. Francis 30, Cheektowaga 17 Amherst 30, Iroquois 25 Pool A St. Joe's 25-19, Lancaster 14-25 Hamburg 25-25, Iroquois 3-7 St. Joe's 25-25, Iroquois 10-10 Hamburg 25-21, Lancaster 22-25 Lancaster 25-25, Iroquois 10-4 St. Joe's 19-25, Hamburg 25-23 Playoff St. Joes 15, Lancaster 11 Pool B Orchard Park 15-25, W.S. West 25-12 Lockport 25-25, St. Francis 9-21 Orchard Park 25-25, St. Francis 17-20 Lockport 25-25, W.S.West 19-22 W.S. West 25-25, St. Francis 21-12 Orchard Park 25-19, Lockport 21-25 Pool C Frontier 25-25, Lake Shore 16-16 Clarence 25-25, Cheektowaga 5-8 Frontier 25-25, Cheektowaga 15-19 Clarence 25-25, Lake Shore 17-18 Lake Shore 25-22, Cheektowaga 16-25 Clarence 25-25, Frontier 18-21 Pool D Eden 25-15, Sweet Home 18-25 Canisius 25-25, Amherst 11-9 Eden 25-25, Amherst 19-11 Canisius 25-25, Sweet Home 15-8 Sweet Home 23-25, Amherst 25-16 Canisius 25-25, Eden 20-18 

All-Tournament team: Jack Whelan (Lock), Jason Donorovich (Lock), Brian Castello (Canisius), Trevor Gooch (Can), Patrick Stroh (Ham), Zach Werington (Ham), Brandon Hill (Clarence). MVP: Skyler Reinhardt (Clarence) 

1st Annual Maryvale Tournament

• Joe Zanelotti turned in a performance worthy of MVP as Williamsville South beat Grand Island, 25-17, 25-19 to win the eight-team, inaugural Maryvale Tournament.

South beat St. Mary’s to advance to the final while GI won its semifinal match over Kenmore East. Zanelotti’s teammates Christian Graziano and Anthony Podgorsak were named all-tournament along with Brock Tetreault and Brad Barelli of Grand Island and Tyler English of St. Mary’s.

Maryvale Tournament

at Maryvale

Finals Williamsville South def. Grand Island 25-17, 25-19 Semifinals Williamsville South def. St. Mary's Lancaster 25-14, 25-21 Grand Island def. Kenmore East 25-20, 25-13 Pool A Kenmore East def. Maryvale 25-15, 28-26 Williamsville South def. Niagara Falls 25-12, 25-8 Kenmore East def. Niagara Falls 25-8, 25-14 Williamsville South def. Maryvale 25-13, 23-25 Maryvale def. Niagara Falls 25-16, 25-15 Williamsville South def. Kenmore East 25-14, 25-8 Pool B St. Mary's Lancaster def. Williamsville East 25-16, 25-18 Grand Island def. West Seneca East 25-12, 25-16 St. Mary's Lancaster def. West Seneca East 25-17, 25-18 Grand Island def. Williamsville East 25-22, 26-28 Williamsville East def. West Seneca East 25-17-25-18 Grand Island def. St. Mary's Lancaster 25-23, 25-19 

MVP: Joe Zanelotti (Williamsville South) All Tournament Team: Christian Graziano (WS), Anthony Podgorsak (WS), Brock Tetreault (Grand Island), Brad Barelli (Grand Island), Tyler English (St. Mary's Lancaster) 

Volleyball players compete at boys junior national championships  
From Amherst Bee

Fresh off a third-place finish at the Boys East Coast Championships in Richmond, Va., in late May, the Eden Volleyball Club 15U took 21st at the boys junior national championships at the end of June in Reno, Nev.

Eden had a difficult opening match against 949 15 Black out of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the fourth-ranked national team.

After getting pummeled in the first set, 8-25, Eden traded points in the second set before eventually falling, 17-25.

In their second match, Eden defeated NSMVC from Milwaukee, Wis. — ranked 11th nationally — 25-21, 25-18.

This placed them in a great spot to come out of day one in the upper bracket, but they experienced a huge letdown against Vortex 15 Fires of Chicago, Ill., losing 25-17, 16-25, 13-15.

Because of tiebreakers, NSMVC finished second in the pool, and Eden had to play a tie-breaking set against Vortex 15 Fires, with Eden winning, 25-21.

Eden lost its challenge match to MB Surf Nike 15 from Manhattan Beach, Calif., 2-0, to end the first day of competition.

The second day of competition presented another opportunity to face the Vortex 15 Fires. Again, Eden split and won the third set, 15-10. Williamsville native Drew Schake gave Eden a boost by providing a couple blocks at key moments.

The second match of the second day of competition offered up another team from Chicago, Ill., when Eden faced Adversity 15 Purple. Despite playing well, Eden lost, 2-0. 

Eden’s last match of the day was against The HBC 15 out of Huntington Beach, Calif. Eden lost 25-17, 17-25, 11-15. Again, Eden played strongly but was outmatched against strong blocking and solid defense.

In the third day, Eden defeated Bounce 15 Elite from Chicago, Ill., in two sets.

Their last match on the third day was against Ohana AC 15 from Orange County, Calif.

Eden won the first set, 25-23. During the second set, there were some controversial in/out calls by the officials, and Eden played some of the most intense volleyball all year, losing, 27-29, but used that momentum to jump out to a 14-4 lead in the third set through strong passing and solid blocking. Eden added five aces off the serve.

Jay Baumann (Lancaster) recorded seven kills, Cam Bartus (West Seneca West) had 3.5 blocks and Joe Zanelotti (Williamsville South) added 18 assists in the 15-7 win.

The win set up Eden to play in Flight One on the fourth day of competition.

During the semifinals of Flight One, Eden faced Ultimate 15 Gold out of Chicago, Ill. Eden won both sets 25-18 as Baumann hit .625 from the outside, Dan Berry (Canisius) added three blocks in the middle, and Brad Schneider (Lockport) consistently provided great passing, allowing Eden all options on offense. Chas Palka (Starpoint) played strong defense, digging several balls in the back court.

During the championship match of Flight One, Eden faced Ultimate 15 Blue, also out of Chicago. Ultimate 15 Blue definitely had more fight, falling to Eden, 25-21, 26-24.

Schneider provided eight kills. Palka passed strong, allowing Zanelotti (13 assists, six digs) and Canisius’ Charlie Desmond (nine assists) to run the offense. Connor Basinski (Eden) added three kills with a .500 hitting percentage.

SCVC (Redondo Beach, Calif.) defeated Balboa Bay (Newport Beach, Calif.) in the gold final to win the 15U boys junior national championship.

Sean Burke, Class of 1992
By Kristen, Angola, Brant-Farnham, Derby, Sports
Friday, June 7, 2013



Graduating from Lake Shore High School in 1992, Mr. Sean Burke sought out pursuing his dreams of playing professional volleyball, but he would end up pursuing much more and achieving successes beyond his talent in volleyball. Sean, or as he is known now, Commanding Officer Burke attended and graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.A. in Science and Officer Commission in 1997. There, Burke started for the Naval Academy Volleyball Team playing six seasons. A few years later, Burke participated in the Military World Games in Catania, Italy and in Kingston, Ontario playing volleyball and representing the United States of America.

C.D.R. Burke’s first tour of duty was aboard the USS Juneau (LPD 10) where he served as a Weapons’ Division Officers and deployed for a hull swap with the USS Dubuque (LPD 8) in Sasebo, Japan. In 2002, C.D.R. Burke became an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy and also served as the assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team. While instructing, he also earned his M.B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. In July of 2009, C.D.R. Burke reported to the Pentagon where his tours included aide to General James Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps and Congressional Liaison for the office of the Under Secretary of the Navy for Appropriations Matters. In some 16 years, C.D.R. Burke earned various awards and designations from the Navy for Meritorious Services completed. It is with great pride that Lake Shore Central recognizes C.D.R. Sean Burke for his achievements and contributions to our great nation.

Lake Shore's Devin Joslyn To Play For USA National 14U Volleyball Team
By Kristen, Angola, Brant-Farnham, Derby, Sports
Friday, April 26, 2013

Playing volleyball is a full time activity that Devin is passionate about. As an 8th grader this past season he played on the JV team for Lake Shore. He was pulled up to the Varsity team at the end of the season and got an opportunity to participate in a Sectional Championship, Regional Championship, and a trip to Glens Falls for the State Tournament. During the offseason Devin plays club volleyball with Eden.

Through his participation with Eden VBC, he was made aware of a unique opportunity. He attended a USA High Performance Tryout in Rochester to see if he would make one of the 3 teams: National USA 14U Team (top 12 players), A1 Team (next ranked 40 players), and the A2 Team (next ranked 80 players). There were 36 tryouts spread out over 26 states. After the 3 hour tryout, he found out that he was selected to play for the highest level, the USA National 14U Team. This USA National 14U Team consists of the top 12 ranked volleyball players from all over the country and Puerto Rico who attended the tryouts.

Under the guidance of his coach Brian Gibboney, Head Coach of the Milwaukee School of Engineering Men’s Team, Devin will go to Florida in July for 10 days and compete against teams from Russia, Netherlands, China, England, Germany, and many other countries. What an amazing experience!

To learn more about USA Volleyball and track the progress of Devin you can visit and follow the links for the High Performance group.

Eden 16s are 2013 WEVA Champs 
March 24th, 2013

Front row: John Vaughn, Cole Overhoff, Calvin Nowicki, Declan Pierce. Back row: Coach Dennis Gooch, Peter Crofut,
Brock Tetreault, Hayden Herc, Trevor Gooch, DJ Ulmer, Jason Donorovich, Dylyn Durni and Coach Robert Pierce.


The Eden VBC 16U team beat Pace 16's in 2 sets to win the WEVA Regional Championship on Sunday with very physical play. The 16's only gave up a run of 3 straight points once all tournament. Pace 16s had previously finished 1st and 2nd in two National qualifiers. Congratulations to the Eden 16s!

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Week #8 Poll: March 19, 2013

Rank School (First Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 Nazareth (14) 238 22-0 1
2 Springfield (2) 226 19-3 2
3 Carthage 200 20-6 3
4 Juniata 179 16-7 4
5 UC Santa Cruz 176 10-6 5
6 Stevens 166 19-6 7
7 SUNY New Paltz 154 17-5 6
8 Baruch 117 15-4 9
9 Stevenson 111 14-8 T-10
10 Vassar 92 17-8 T-10
11 NYU 77 9-10 8
12 Medaille 56 14-4 12
13 Elmira 48 15-9 13
14 MIT 32 18-11 14
15 Rivier 26 13-9 15

Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Emmanuel 11; Kean 10

One team mentioned on only one ballot for a total of one combined point.

Next Poll: March 26, 2013

AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #11 Poll: March 18, 2013

Rank School (First Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 BYU (15) 239 15-3 1
2 UC Irvine 214 17-5 2
3 Pepperdine (1) 211 12-6 4
4 Long Beach State 189 16-6 3
5 UCLA 184 15-9 5
6 Stanford 158 12-8 6
7 Lewis 123 15-6 7
8 Ohio State 118 15-3 9
T-9 Cal State Northridge 106 10-8 8
T-9 UC Santa Barbara 106 11-12 8
11 Cal Baptist 94 10-11 12
12 Hawai'i 67 7-14 10
13 Penn State 41 14-6 13
14 Loyola-Chicago 30 12-8 NR
15 USC 12 4-13 14


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: IPFW 9; UC San Diego 6; George Mason 3; Princeton 3; Pacific 2

Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of six combined points.

Dropped Out: George Mason

Next Poll: March 25, 2013

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Men’s Volleyball: Matadors drop 2-1 set lead against UCLA 
By Ron Rokhy
March 17th, 2013

Outside hitter John Baker goes up for a kill against 
two UCLA players. Trevor Stamp / Contributor


Despite holding a 2-1 set lead against the visiting fifth-ranked Bruins Friday night, the Matadors (10-8, 8-8 MPSF) allowed UCLA to mount a comeback and win the final two frames of the match by a combined 17 points.

Led by senior opposite hitter John Baker’s five kills and junior outside hitter Brandon Lebrock’s six kills, CSUN started the match strong, beating the Bruins 25-20 in a first set which saw UCLA hit just -.059.

Though they committed over 10 errors in the first set, the Matadors stayed strong and finished the Bruins when Lebrock struck down a kill set by sophomore setter Travis Magorien, who finished the game with 43 assists.

Baker led all Matadors in kills for the night, tallying 15 on a .250 hitting percentage while Lebrock put down 11 on .194. Senior middle blocker Drew Staker contributed to CSUN’s offense as well, striking down a season-high 10 kills on an impressive .600 percentage. On the Bruins side, junior outside hitter Gonzalo Quiroga had 22 kills on .576.

Dropping the second set by six and winning the third by three, Northridge couldn’t keep its momentum going as the they scored just 23 points in the last two sets combined. In the fourth set, CSUN hit an abysmal – .100 while the Bruins hit .600 as UCLA took the set with a commanding score of 25-13.

Defensively, the Matadors couldn’t find a way to stop their opponents after the first set as UCLA hit .448 throughout the match compared to Northridge’s .280. CSUN managed 32 digs (nine by freshman outside hitter Sam Holt, who led Northridge), but ultimately succumbed to the Bruins, allowing 66 kills.

UCLA dialed up the pressure in the fifth and final set, hitting a blazing .786, and won 15-10. This match marks CSUN’s second loss to the Bruins on the season, the first being on Northridge’s season opening night on the road where they nearly surmounted a 2-1 set lead by UCLA.

Nazareth Men's Volleyball vs Medaille 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Week #6 Poll: March 5, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rank School (First Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 Nazareth (12) 236 18-0 2
2 Springfield (4) 228 15-3 1
3 Juniata 200 14-6 3
4 Carthage 191 12-6 4
5 UC Santa Cruz 172 3-4 5
6 Stevens 163 16-5 6
7 SUNY New Paltz 137 14-4 7
8 Medaille 121 11-6 9
9 NYU 116 7-4 8
10 Baruch 99 11-3 10
11 Stevenson 75 10-5 11
12 Vassar 62 11-6 12
13 MIT 46 11-9 13
14 Rivier 35 8-7 14
15 Elmira 30 13-8 15

Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Kean 7; Eammanuel 2

Next Poll: March 12, 2013

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Historic Win for Harvard 
Megan Kaplon

Harvard tallies their first-ever win over Penn State, looks ahead to conference championship

Harvard defied expectations by sweeping Penn State.

The air in Harvard’s Malkin Athletic Center, known as the MAC, hummed with electricity as the Harvard men’s volleyball team took on powerhouse Penn State. The bleachers and balconies were packed with rowdy students, the future inventors and leaders of our world and economy, yelling down on the Penn State servers as they tried in vain to best the Harvard serve receive led by libero Chris Gibbons.

“I wasn’t surprised,” said Harvard Head Coach Brian Baise, of the eventual three-game victory. He may be the only person who wasn’t, however, considering Harvard has never, in the history of their men’s volleyball team, beaten Penn State. Not only that, but Penn State hadn’t lost a conference match in almost five years, not since March 2008 when they fell to George Mason 3-1. 

“We had a good night serving,” Baise explained. “They’ve got two real good middle blockers and because we were serving well, they couldn’t set those guys as quite as much. We thought if we could get them setting to their outside hitters from off the net, we could play defense around that.”

In fact, Penn State’s outside hitters Nick Goodell and Peter Russell got 20 and 23 sets respectively, with middle Aaron Russell receiving 20 as well. All of Penn State’s other hitters were set less than five times each—Harvard had essentially reduced the Nittany Lions to a three-man offense. Which is not to say those three men were not totally ferocious: Aaron Russell ended the night with 11 kills hitting .400, while Peter Russell and Goodell collected 10 and eight kills, respectively. 

Harvard’s offense, although fairly balanced between their five attackers, was led by sophomore outside hitter DJ White. The Hermosa Beach native had 13 kills on the night, with only 2 errors, hitting .500.

“[DJ] is a player that has tremendous skill at all parts of the game, and those players are so valuable,” said Baise. “Defense, serving, receiving serve, he makes very few errors on offense and hits for a high percentage, so we look to him in a lot of ways.” 

White sustained a back injury a few weeks ago, just before Harvard played Penn State in University Park on Jan. 26. In that match, the Crimson lost 3-2, with both teams hitting below .065 and missing a combined 37 serves. 

“Backs are tricky,” said Baise. “You really never know how long it will take, so it was touch and go.”

But Baise and the Harvard team sure are glad White was back for this rematch with the Nittany Lions. “He’s very even-keel,” said Baise. “No ups and downs, and in a match like that, it can make a difference.”

White’s stellar performance on Friday earned him the AVCA National Player of the Week honor, the first Harvard player to ever receive this particular recognition. He and Eric Fitterer from Lewis are the only players not from the West Coast to be named AVCA National Player of the Week so far this season. 

“I’m just glad my dad was here to watch and everyone was healthy to play,” said White. “It was an awesome night.”

White’s grandfather and one of his uncles also attended Harvard, both earning MBAs. White, perhaps planning to follow in their footsteps, is an economics major. When making the decision of where to attend college, the 2011 VBM Boys’ Fab 50 honoree chose Harvard with the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to play volleyball in mind. 

“At the time I was struggling with a back injury and I thought about where I would want to be if I wasn’t playing volleyball. . . Harvard was definitely a good fit for me. I love it here.”

Baise admits that recruiting for his Harvard squad can be a double-edged sword. He has to work with the tough admissions standards at the school and try to lure players to Boston away from the hotbed of men’s volleyball on the West Coast. 

“On the other hand,” he said, “I think Harvard is a very appealing place to go to school for a lot of kids. And to come here and play on a competitive volleyball team and have a good experience as part of a Division I team that is going to compete for the EIVA title, I think we can make a pretty case for it.”

Student-athletes at Harvard obviously have a lot going on, not to mention tough course loads and very high expectations. But the men’s volleyball team seems to have it under control.

“The student-athletes are extraordinary,” said Baise. “They’re highly intelligent and ambitious with a great work ethic on and off the court, and they’re guys who have been successful in the things they have done in their life and like to achieve in everything they do. That makes coaching a lot easier—motivation is not something we have to worry too much about.

“You just have to stay on top of things, but they’re pretty good at that, that’s part of the reason they’re here.”

The upward trajectory for this gifted bunch of athletes really began last year when the team finished the regular season second in their conference and made it to the semifinal round of the EIVA tournament. They also ranked in the AVCA poll for the first time in program history.

Baise sees this year as an opportunity to do even better.

“I think we’re pretty balanced,” said Baise. “Probably more so than in years past. We play all parts of the game, not trying to cover up for any glaring weak spots.”

Looking forward, it’s all about the Princeton/George Mason weekend for White, although Coach Baise warns not to overlook this weekend’s matches versus NJIT and Rutgers-Newark, both EIVA competitions. 

“I think we’re all hoping that the Penn State win is not the highlight of our season, as great as that night was,” said Baise. “Our goal is to win our league and represent the EIVA in the final four. . . I expect we’ll have to go through Penn State again [to do that].”

White is optimistic as well. “Last year we were kind of down on injuries, but some guys really stepped up. This year guys don’t really have to step up, we just have to play really solid and we’ll be really good, and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Who knows what will happen as the season progresses. We’ve already seen how volatile this men’s volleyball field has been so far, but there certainly are a lot of people who would love to see Harvard knock Penn State off their throne and fly out to UCLA in May for the men’s finals.

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Week #4 Poll: February 19, 2013

Rank School (First Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 Springfield (8) 229 8-3 1
2 Nazareth (5) 217 9-0 2
3 Juniata (3) 200 11-3 6
4 Stevens 183 10-3 5
5 UC Santa Cruz 178 3-4 3
6 Carthage 176 9-4 4
7 SUNY New Paltz 130 10-4 8
8 NYU 124 6-3 7
9 Baruch 106 5-1 9
10 Rivier 82 6-3 10
11 Elmira 77 7-5 11
12 Stevenson 67 6-3 T-12
13 Medaille 64 5-6 T-12
14 Vassar 43 6-3 14
15 MIT 34 9-6 15

Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Kean 4

Two teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of six combined points. 

Next Poll: February 26, 2013 

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #7 Poll: February 18, 2013

Rank School (First Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 UC Irvine (14) 238 12-3 T-1
2 BYU (2) 217 9-3 T-1
3 Long Beach State 211 11-4 4
4 Pepperdine 192 7-4 5
5 Stanford 176 9-5 3
6 Ohio State 140 10-2 T-6
7 UCLA 137 9-8 T-6
8 Cal State Northridge 131 7-5 8
T-9 Penn State 87 10-3 9
T-9 USC 87 3-6 10
11 Hawai'i 76 5-8 13
12 Lewis 72 9-5 14
13 Cal Baptist 60 6-7 T-11
14 Pacific 46 5-6 T-11
15 Harvard 26 7-2 NR


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Loyola-Chicago 7; UC San Diego 4; UC Santa Barbara 4; George Mason 3 

One team mentioned on only one ballot for a total of seven combined points. 

Dropped Out: UC Santa Barbara 15 

Next Poll: February 25, 2013 

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA 

LBSU Men's Volleyball Sweeps Pacific 
From LBSU Reports

The fourth-ranked Long Beach State men's volleyball team defeated No. 11 Pacific, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match Friday evening at the Walter Pyramid.

LBSU (10-4, 8-3 MPSF), which has won five of its last six matches, is tied for second in the conference standings with No. 1 UC Irvine.

Junior Taylor Crabb led the 49ers with 14 kills, marking his 12th-consecutive double-figure kill match. Redshirt freshman Taylor Gregory tied his season best with eight kills, while hitting .700, and senior Colten Echave added six kills (.625).

Junior Connor Olbright registered his fourth double-double of the year with 37 assists and 10 digs, and junior Jeff Ornee also had eight digs.

Long Beach State jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening set following a kill by Echave. Pacific would chip away and pull within one at 11-10, but the 49ers answered with four-straight points. After the Tigers called a timeout they ended the rally with a sideout, but the home team continued on a 7-1 run to go up, 18-11, on a kill from Ornee. Pacific came back within three before LBSU outscored the Tigers, 4-1, down the stretch for the 25-19 win.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the second frame with 20 tie scores and seven lead changes. Pacific went on top, 21-20, before Long Beach State ended strong, using a 5-1 spurt, capped by an Olbright ace, to prevail 25-22.

The 49ers pulled ahead late in set three as they ran away with the 25-19 victory. There were 10 tie scores before LBSU went up for good on a Tiger service error (17-16). That started a 6-1 sprint that put Long Beach State on top, 22-17. The 49ers went on to take match point with a kill from Gregory before ending it on a double block by Ornee and Echave.

Pacific (5-5, 3-5 MPSF) hit .204 as a team and was led by Chirstian Ahlin's nine kills (.615). Taylor Hughes also had nine kills, while Javier Caceres registered a match-high 17 digs.

Long Beach State is right back in action tomorrow night when it entertains No. 3 Stanford. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Walter Pyramid.

No. 7 Men's Volleyball Suffers 3-0 Setback to No. 9 Ohio State 

Aaron Russell had a match-high 16 kills 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The seventh-ranked Penn State men's volleyball team (9-2) suffered a 3-0 (22-25, 20-25, 24-26) setback to No. 9 Ohio State (8-2). More than 3,200 fans were on hand to watch the match.

"I thought tonight's match had the feel of a national semifinal," said head coach Mark Pavlik. "For the most part in the tough parts in the games, Ohio State out-competed us. We had leads late in each game and couldn't finish. The good thing is these are the types of matches we need because these are the types of leads we'll be playing in April and May."

The Nittany Lions were led by sophomore Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) who had a match-high 16 kills on .480 hitting and was named the Mike Anderson Penn State Player of the Match. Senior Tom Comfort (Orchard Park, N.Y.) was second on the team with 13 kills. Redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond (Mission Viejo, Calif.) dished out 39 assists and redshirt sophomore Connor Curry (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a match-best 12 digs. Junior Peter Russell (Ellicott City, Md.), senior Nick Turko (Lewisberry, Pa.) and redshirt freshman Matt Seifert (Reading, Pa.) each put up two blocks each.

Senior Tom Comfort

Penn State was held to .173 hitting, but topped the Buckeyes in kills with 42, aces with six and digs with 34. The Nittany Lions totaled 5.0 team blocks. Ohio State hit .333 and had 40 kills, three aces, 33 digs and 10.0 team blocks.

The first set was close for its entirety. There were 14 tie scores and eight lead changes. By the midpoint of the set, Penn State had a slim 13-12 edge after a Seifert kill and a huge solo stuff by Peter Russell. A PSU error and a Buckeye kill moved Ohio State into the lead, 14-13, but a 3-0 Nittany Lion run had Penn State with a two-point edge, 16-14. Ohio State called a timeout, but Penn State maintained the lead briefly until Ohio State put together a 3-0 run of its own for a slim 20-19 edge. Penn State used a timeout and capitalized on an Aaron Russell kill and a Buckeye error to knot the score at 21-21. Ohio State called a timeout and consecutive killsby OSU's Andrew Lutz had the Buckeyes ahead by two, 23-21. Penn State used its final timeout and Aaron Russell followed with a kill to move PSU within one, 23-22. However, two straight Buckeyes stuffs secured a 25-22 Ohio State win.

An OSU error and kills from Comfort and Aaron Russell put the Lions ahead early in set two, 3-1. The Buckeyes managed to tie it up at 4-4 and soon after had a two-point lead, 10-8. Two kills from Comfort and one from Peter Russell helped the Lions knot it at 11-11. Two more Nittany Lions kills had Penn State leading, 13-11, and Ohio State using a timeout. Back-to-back aces from Turko increased Penn State's lead to four, 15-11. However, five straight PSU errors had the Buckeyes on top, 16-15. Penn State called a timeout, and with the help of two Ohio State errors and kills from Aaron Russell and Comfort Penn State was ahead by two, 19-17. Ohio State called a timeout and rattled off four straight points for a 21-19 lead. The Lions headed to the bench, but could not overcome the deficit. The Buckeyes claimed set two, 25-20.

After another close start in the third frame with neither team developing any momentum early on, Penn State scored three straight points for a 13-10 lead. The Buckeyes took a timeout and managed to knot the score at 14 all. The score tied once more before two PSU errors gave the Buckeyes a two-point lead, 17-15. Penn State called a timeout, but continued to trail yet never let the Buckeyes grab more than a three-point lead. With the Buckeyes leading 22-19, the Nittany Lions headed to the bench against and moved within one, 22-21, after a comfort kill and an OSU error. Following a Buckeye timeout, Penn State finally tied it up at 24-24, after two consecutive kills from Aaron Russell. However, the Nittany Lions were unable to close it out as an error and an Ohio State ace gave the Buckeyes a 26-24 victory.

Penn State hits the road for meetings with EIVA foes Harvard and Sacred Heart on Feb. 15-16. The Lions face the Crimson on Friday at 7 p.m. and the Pioneers on Saturday at 8 p.m.

For more information on the Penn State men's volleyball team, please visit The Penn State men's volleyball 2013 season is presented by Rockvale Outlets.

AVCA Division III Men's Coaches Top 15 Week #2 Poll: February 5, 2013


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank
1 Springfield (15) 238 5-2 1
2 Carthage (1) 218 5-1 2
3 UC Santa Cruz 195 1-4 4
4 Juniata 186 4-2 3
5 Nazareth 183 5-0 5
6 Stevens 164 4-2 6
7 NYU 137 3-1 7
8 Baruch 120 4-0 8
9 SUNY New Paltz 110 6-0 9
10 Rivier 91 2-2 10
11 Elmira 76 5-2 16
12 Vassar 73 1-2 12
13 MIT 54 5-5 13
14 Medaille 40 1-3 11
15 Kean 12 3-3 14


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Stevenson 9; Emmanuel 8; Sage Colleges 2

Three teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of four combined points. 

Dropped Out: Emmanuel 15

Next Poll: February 12, 2013

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA 

Joseph Lynch

Arthur's mission is to promote, respect and nurture a love for the sport of volleyball 

Success is defined in the Webster's dictionary as "a favorable or satisfactory outcome or result." 

What is being a successful volleyball coach? 

I have been coaching club volleyball for eight years, first as an assistant coach for two years and as a head coach for six. I wasn't assistant for two head coaches that had completely different styles. I tried to take positives from both of those coaches to create my own style of coaching. I had no other resource to draw from because prior to the beginning of my coaching career I had played adult league for 15 years but never in a program. I learned the game from other players and referees.

I never had a volleyball coach as a role model. What kind of coach did I want to be in how would I be successful?

One measure of success as a coach or program is wins and losses. Having a winning season or going undefeated is a self-evident measure of success. But is being a successful volleyball coach measured by only wins and losses or championships? For some athletic programs and coaches I would say yes. Early in my coaching career the numbers seem to be the most evident sign of success, and I evaluated myself and my success based on the numbers.

As I grew as a coach and educated myself through USA volleyball IMPACT and CAP courses, I reevaluated my coaching philosophy and priorities, and the numbers became less important. My coaching style in philosophy changed. Now my mission statement is to promote and nurture a love, understanding and respect for the game of volleyball. It's kind of a simple statement and is now my barometer of success as a coach.

Another of my measures of success is developing a player, or a team, to his or her fullest potential. Being from a small club, I am frequently taken on players with limited volleyball skills inexperience to meet our roster number. This poses some obstacles, but also great opportunity. Starting with a mediocre player who has a good attitude and willingness to learn allows you to start with the basics and work toward developing skills and confidence. Watching that players transformation during the season to where he or she becomes competitive in the team begins to win matches bring meaning to the work of a coach achieving success requires a great deal of patience and is progressive over the season or career.

While this type of success is gratifying and part of the job description as a coach, it doesn't meet the measure of success for making a difference in players lives.

Returning to my mission statement, the final measure of success for coachwork program is to instill a lifelong love of the game in your players. How do you measure that? Early on I had thought it would take years or lifetime to know that one or more of my players would love the game for life and I had something to do with it. I figured it was a good goal, but hard to measure, especially in the short-term.

Three years ago after a very mediocre and trying 18s season, I was contemplating whether to continue my coaching career or switch to refereeing. I was analyzing whether I was being successful as a coach. Was I the reason for the recent mediocre season? Was I making a difference?

Around this time a player from the most recent team I coached contacted me. She was a player with limited experience and skill, but she had a great attitude. She eventually worked into my second middle and developed a good block. Most players show up early for practice and want extra sets to hit. Well, this player was the one across the net blocking. She took great pride in her blocking. You have to love the defensive mindset.

This former player just graduated from high school and had gone off to her freshman year at college. In September, I received an e-mail from her thanking me for my time and my patience with her. She thanked me for teaching her how to block. She also indicated that she was very disappointed that her college did not have a club volleyball team, so she had started her own club at school. Wow! Our team was far from undefeated or of championship caliber. We did not develop NCAA Division I players. But one of my players now had the love and passion to take it upon herself to start her own club team. I had not expected to see evidence of that passion to blossom for years to come.

As a coach I have had winning seasons, losing seasons, cream of the crop players and mediocre players that progressed and reached their potential. Not until I receive that e-mail that I feel successful as a coach. I realize that I crossed paths with a young lady who when I met her was moderately enthusiastic about the sport, and now she had a passion for the game of volleyball. I can't help to think I had some small part in that.

Her e-mail couldn't have come at a better time, as I pondered my future in coaching. It helped me realize that I was making a difference and help me recommit myself to being the best coach possible. It also made me realize how those players who I have coached in the past have touched my life in such a positive way. And taking my players example, I am looking forward to the start of my first season as club director!

AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #5 Poll: February 4, 2013


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank   
T-1  BYU (8) 239 6-2 1
T-1  UC Irvine (7)  239 8-3
3 Long Beach State  208 8-3 7
4 Stanford  195 7-3 3
5 Pepperdine  183 4-3 4
6 UCLA  182 8-5 5
7 Penn State (1)  165 8-1 6
8 USC 124 2-3 8
9 Ohio State  100 7-2 10
10 Cal State Northridge  79 4-4 9
11 Pacific  78 4-3 11
12 California Baptist  70 5-4 14
13 Hawai'i  65 4-7 NR
14 Lewis  42 6-5 15
15 UC Santa Barbara  34 4-7 12


Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: UC San Diego 23; Loyola-Chicago 5; Princeton 5

One team mentioned on only one ballot for a total of four combined points.

Dropped Out: UC San Diego 13

Next Poll: February 11, 2013

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

Eden Boys 15U Earn Bid to the BJNC in Reno

The Eden 15U team earned a bid to the Boy's Junior National Championships in Reno, NV at the Rochester Can/Am National Qualifier. The team went undefeated in round one beating Panther VBC, Pace Bootlegger Blue and Yorktown. After getting past BRYC Smack in round two, they struggled against Victor VBC, losing 2-1 primarily on poor passing and serving errors. 

In the playoffs, the 15U team defeated Vanguard VBC 2-0 before facing NVVA. After dropping the first set against NVVA 25-13, the boys fought back to take the second set 25-21. In the third set, NVVA took an 8-2 lead at the turn and won 15-11. 

They tied Pakmen from Ontario, CA for third and clinched their invite to the final tournament of the season in early July.

The 15U team travels to York, PA for the North Eastern National Qualifier on January 26-27.

AVCA Division I-II Men's Week #2 Poll: January 14, 2013


Rank School (First-Place Votes) Total Points Record Previous Rank   
1 UC Irvine (8)  230 4-1  1
2 Stanford (7)  223 4-0  3
BYU (1)  213 3-1  2
Pepperdine  191 1-1  4
UCLA  180 5-2  5
Penn State  145 2-1  7
USC  137 1-1  8
8 UC Santa Barbara  114 3-2  9
Long Beach State  102 2-2  6
10  Cal State Northridge  101 1-1  11
11 Ohio State  85 2-2  10
12  Lewis   64 1-4  13
13  UC San Diego  47 2-3  14
14 California Baptist  37 2-1  12
15  Pacific  32 1-1  15

Others Receiving Votes and appearing on two or more ballots: Hawai'i 15; Loyola-Chicago 3
One team mentioned on only one ballot for a total of one combined points.
Next Poll: January 21, 2013

Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

2013 Men’s Volleyball Season Preview

BYU's Russ Lavaja led last year's squad in blocks.


It’s that time of year again – men’s volleyball season! VBM asked coaches and media professionals around the country who they thought were going to be the top teams and players of the 2013 season. All three conferences were represented and the same players kept coming up in the conversation for National Player of the Year. We’ve compiled the data for you, so read on to learn more about race for the 2013 men’s volleyball title.

Brigham Young

2012 Record: 24-7 
2012 Postseason: 3-1 loss to Stanford in the MPSF Semifinals 
Head Coach: Chris McGown 
Career Record: 24-7 (second season) 
Key Returners: Russ Lavaja (Sr., MB, 6'7"), Josue Rivera (So., OH, 6'3"), Taylor Sander (Jr., OH, 6'4"), Jaylen Reyes (So., L, 6'1")
Key Losses: Futi Tavana (MB), Robb Stowell (Opp.), Joe Kauliakamoa (S)

Snapshot: The Cougars boast arguably the best player in the country in Taylor Sander along with 11 other returners and 8 newcomers. Last year, Sander averaged 4.89 kills per set on .395 hitting but BYU will need to contend with the losses of Futi Tavana (145 total blocks), Robb Stowell (389 kills, second on the team), and Joe Kauliakamoa (set the team to a .323 hitting percentage). Also back for the Cougars is Russ Lavaja, who led the squad with 168 total blocks, good for 1.42 blocks per set, Josue Rivera, who ranked third on the team in kills with 257 while picking up a team high 186 digs, and Jaylen Reyes, who averaged 1.62 digs per set last season.


2012 Record: 26-7 
2012 Postseason: 3-1 loss to USC in the NCAA Semifinals 
Head Coach: Dan Friend 
Career Record: 310-179 (16th season) 
Key Returners: Jay Petty (Sr., OH, 6'6"), BJ Boldog (Jr., S, 6'4"), Greg Petty (So., OH, 6'6"), Geoff Powell (So., OH, 6'4")
Key Losses: Aaron Flick (MB), Matt Gallik (MB), Eric Varney (L)

Snapshot: The Flyers return a strong core from last year’s NCAA Semifinal squad, including team kill leader Jay Petty (421 kills, .318 hitting) and talented setter BJ Boldog (10.76 assists per set, .321 team hitting percentage). Lewis also gains the services of nine freshmen or redshirt freshmen, who will be tasked with helping replace the heavy losses on the defensive end, including Aaron Flick (104 total blocks), Matt Gallik (127 total blocks) and Eric Varney (176 digs). The Flyers will be tested early, visiting BYU and Penn State in January.

Long Beach State

2012 Record: 15-15 
2012 Postseason: 3-2 loss to BYU in the MPSF Quarterfinals 
Head Coach: Alan Knipe 
Career Record: 169-103 (nine years) 
Key Returners: Taylor Crabb (Jr., OH, 6'0"), Trevor Crabb (Sr., OH, 6'4"), Jeff Ornee (Jr., MB, 6'8"), Colten Echave (Sr., MB, 6'7"), Connor Olbright (Jr., S, 6'4")
Key Losses: Jim Baughman (Opp.), Kyle McElderry (L), Brad Hemmerling (OH), Srdjan Nadazdin (Opp.), Ryan Meehan (MB)

Snapshot: Head Coach Alan Knipe returns to the sidelines after taking a leave of absence to coach the U.S. Men’s Olympic team in London. Also back for the 49ers are three starters and nine letterwinners, including team kill leader Taylor Crabb (303 kills), team block leader Jeff Ornee (110 total blocks), and setter Connor Olbright (10.40 assists per game). Long Beach State will need to contend with the losses of several key players, including Jim Baughman (230 kills), Brad Hemmerling (211 kills, 158 digs) and team digs leader Kyle McElderry (211 digs). While they were picked to finish sixth in the MPSF, one league coach called the squad a “dark horse,” noting the team looked good during the fall season.

Ohio State

2012 Record: 21-9 
2012 Postseason: 3-2 loss to Lewis in the MIVA Finals 
Head Coach: Pete Hanson 
Career Record: 562-297 (28 seasons) 
Key Returners: Peter Heinen (So., S, 6'4"), Grayson Overman (Sr., MB, 6'7"), Michael Piechowski (Jr., L, 5'10"), John Tholen (Sr., MB, 6'6")
Key Losses: Mik Berzins (OH), Shawn Sangrey (Opp.)

Snapshot: Ohio State returns a talented and physical group that lost a five-set heartbreaker to Lewis in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Championship match. One coach observed that the Buckeyes may struggle early trying to replace their top two offensive threats from last year in Shawn Sangrey (548 kills) and Mik Berzins (278 kills), but the squad should progress and be much better by the end of the season. Grayson Overman is the team’s top returning offensive producer with 141 kills and also last season’s leading blocker (123 blocks). The Buckeyes also bring back setter Peter Heinen (10.67 assists per set), libero Michael Piechowski (119 digs), and middle blocker John Tholen (88 total blocks), along with a good group of young players who could make an immediate impact, including libero Brennan Anderson and opposite Andrew Lutz.

Penn State

2012 Record: 23-6 
2012 Postseason: 3-1 loss to UC Irvine in the NCAA Semifinals 
Head Coach: Mark Pavlik 
Career Record: 437-126 (18 seasons) 
Key Returners: Connor Curry (So., L, 6'0"), Nick Goodell (So., OH, 6'4"), Aaron Russell (So., MB, 6'9"), Peter Russell (Jr., OH, 6'5"), Nick Turko (Sr., MB, 6'5"), Tom Comfort (Sr., Opp., 6'6")
Key Losses: Edgardo Goas (S), Joe Sunder (OH)

Snapshot: Penn State returns 6 starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s NCAA Semifinal squad that took a game off the eventual champion Anteaters. The Nittany Lions also add in five newcomers that all stand 6’4’’ or better and also gain the services of 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman Taylor Hammond as setter and 6-foot-9 Matt Seifert in the middle. Penn State will have to contend with the losses of Joe Sunder (338 kills) and Edgardo Goas (11.11 assists per set, .318 hitting percentage) but bring back Nick Goodell (237 kills) and Aaron Russell (203 kills, 92 blocks), along with Connor Curry (225 digs) on the defense. The Lions will know where they stand early as they travel to the islands to take on UCLA, Hawaii, and Ohio State to kick off the season, and then return home to host Lewis and Loyola.


2012 Record: 14-15 
2012 Postseason: 3-1 loss to Stanford in the MPSF Quarterfinals 
Head Coach: Marv Dunphy 
Career Record: 532-229 (29 seasons) 
Key Returners: Maurice Torres (Sr., Opp., 6'7"), Matt West (So., S, 6'5"), Josh Taylor (So., OH, 6'7")
Key Losses: Matt Pollock (MB), Chase Ross (OH)

Snapshot: Last year Pepperdine finished eighth in the MPSF with a 9-13 league record, but the Waves had a huge freshman class who started and gained invaluable experience, which helps to explain the third-place preseason pick in the MPSF poll this season. Maurice Torres and Josh Taylor, who led the offense last year with 450 and 363 kills, respectively, are back, as is setter Matt West (11.38 assists per game), and libero Mike McMahon (116 digs), along with several other players who saw significant action last year. The Waves will have to contend with the loss of Chase Ross (230 kills, 125 digs) and Matt Pollock (225 kills, team high 129 blocks) and will get tested early as they open with UC Irvine on Jan. 8 and play only one non-conference match after that. 


2012 Record: 22-7 
2012 Postseason: 3-2 loss to UC Irvine in the MPSF Championship 
Head Coach: John Kosty 
Career Record: 106-69 (six seasons) 
Key Returners: Brian Cook (Jr., OH, 6'5"), Steven Irvin (Jr., OH, 6'5"), Eric Mochalski (Jr., MB, 6'5"), Jake Kneller (Jr., OH, 6'1")
Key Losses: Erik Shoji (L), Brad Lawson (OH), Evan Barry (S), Gus Ellis (MH)

Snapshot: The Cardinal bring back three starters and nine letterwinners to a squad that fell in five sets in the MPSF Final to eventual national champion UC Irvine. The league coaches picked Stanford to finish fourth, but the Cardinal will need to fill a lot of holes left by graduation. Gone are Erik Shoji (304 digs), the first-ever four-time AVCA First Team All-American, and Brad Lawson (451 kills), a three-time AVCA First Team All-American, along with key players Evan Barry (12.04 assists per set) and Gus Ellis (101 blocks). But remaining for Stanford are three of the four top offensive producers in Brian Cook (367 kills), Steven Irvin (324 kills), and Eric Mochalski (215 kills, 100 blocks). A strength for Stanford will be their ball control, according to one league coach. Also going for the Cardinal is a strong recruiting class that includes setter/outside hitter James Shaw, a U.S. Youth National Team standout who is also the son of former Stanford men’s and women’s head coach Don Shaw.


2012 Record: 24-6 
2012 Postseason: 3-0 loss to UC Irvine in the National Championship 
Head Coach: Bill Ferguson 
Career Record: 111-62 (six seasons) 
Key Returners: Henry Cassiday (Jr., L, 6'3"), Robert Feathers (So., MB, 6'8"), Tanner Jansen (Jr., Opp., 6'5"), Maddison McKibbin (Sr., Opp., 6'5"), Micah Christenson (So., S, 6'5")
Key Losses: Tony Ciarelli (OH), Steven Shandrick (MB)

Snapshot: USC loses two big contributors in Tony Ciarelli (417 kills) and Steven Shandrick (193 kills, 109 blocks) but returns what several coaches called the best setter in the country in Micah Christenson (10.75 assists per set), who led the squad to a .297 hitting percentage last year. Henry Cassiday is back to anchor the defense (199 digs) while Robert Feathers, who led the country in blocking last season, also returns (154 total blocks). The Trojans gain the services of eight freshmen with height and talent. Keep an eye out for the Jan. 11 rematch of the 2012 National Championship match as the Trojans visit UC Irvine.

UC Irvine

2012 Record: 26-5 
2012 Postseason: NCAA National Champions 
Head Coach: David Kniffin 
Career Record: First season 
Key Returners: Kevin Tillie (Sr., OH, 6'6"), Jeremy Dejno (Jr., OH, 6'4"), Chris Austin (Sr., S, 6'3"), Connor Hughes (Jr., OH, 6'6"), Michael Brinkley (So., L, 5'10"), Daniel Stork (Jr., S, 6'4"), Scott Kevorken (Jr., MB, 6'9")
Key Losses: Carson Clark (Opp.), Dan McDonnell (MB)

Snapshot: The defending National Champion Anteaters return five starters, including one of the best outsides in the game, Kevin Tillie (342 kills), and First Team All-MPSF selection Jeremy Dejno (268 kills, 35 aces). First-year head coach David Kniffin’s squad was picked to finish first in the conference again but will have to replace offensive leader Carson Clark (414 kills, 61 aces) along with blocking leader Dan McDonnell (100 blocks). Chris Austin and Daniel Stork are back to direct the offense (828 and 589 assists, respectively) while Michael Brinkley (199 digs) paced the defense last year. Like most West Coast schools this year, the Anteaters play mainly conference competition, which could test the squad early, especially with half the roster being either freshmen or sophomores.


2012 Record: 22-8 
2012 Postseason: 3-1 loss to UC Irvine in the MPSF Quarterfinals 
Head Coach: John Speraw 
Career Record: 199-106 (10 years) 
Key Returners: Gonzalo Quiroga (Jr., OH, 6'4"), Evan Mottram (Jr., L, 6'2") 
Key Losses: Kyle Caldwell (S), Thomas Amberg (MB), Weston Dunlap (MB), Jeremy Casebeer (OH)

Snapshot: New head coach John Speraw and his staff return good players in Gonzalo Quiroga, the leading offensive producer with 258 kills and a team-high 47 aces, and Evan Mottram, the leading defender with 215 digs, but will need to replace three honor-laden players in Kyle Caldwell (set team to .321 hitting percentage), Thomas Amberg (234 kills, leading blocker with 150 stuffs) and Weston Dunlap (247 kills, second on the team in blocks with 106). Also gone is Jeremy Casebeer, who started 28 matches and recorded 268 kills. The Bruins’ schedule is tough right off the bat, hosting Alberta in an exhibition match before traveling to the Asics Invitational at Santa Barbara and then flying to the islands to meet Penn State, Ohio State, and Hawaii. But they have the added advantage of playing host to the NCAA National Championship on May 2 and 4 at the Pauley Pavilion.

Player of the Year Candidates 

Three players consistently came up when we asked coaches who the best in the country would be this year. The main considerations included not only skill, but also leadership and the ability to have a large impact on their teams and in matches. Read on to learn a little more about these players. 

Micah Christenson 
So. | S | 6'5" | Southern California (Honolulu, Hawaii)

While only a sophomore, Christenson is heralded by many coaches as the best setter in the country. Last year’s VBM Freshman of the Year and a Second-Team All-American, Christenson led the Trojans to the NCAA Title match in his first season. Six of his hitters recorded more than 100 kills for the season, including three who hit better than .300, and he directed the squad to a .297 hitting percentage. He picked up 29 kills for himself to go along with 12 aces, 173 digs, and 76 blocks. He led the squad to better than a .300 hitting percentage on 14 occasions.

Taylor Sander 
Jr. | OH | 6'4" | BYU (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

A two-time First Team All-MPSF selection, Sander was called the best player in the country by several coaches. He led the squad in 2012 with 435 kills, good for an average of 4.89 kills per set on a .395 hitting percentage – both marks that ranked second in the nation. He posted a team-high 44 aces and ranked fourth on the squad with 120 digs while also collecting 69 blocks. And he racked up all of these numbers while missing six weeks of action due to an injury to his right hand. Sander posted 12 matches with 20 or more kills for BYU and also saw action this summer with the U.S. Men’s National team, being named the Most Valuable Player at the Pan American Cup in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Kevin Tillie 
Sr. | OH | 6'6" | UC Irvine (Cagnus-sur-Mer, France)

As one coach said, “Irvine is going to be good because they still have Tillie.” The senior, who started his career at Thompson Rivers University in Canada and was a member of the French Junior National Team, ranked second on the Anteater squad last season in kills with 342 (3.80 kills per set) on .387 hitting, which ranked him third nationally. He was named to the MPSF and NCAA All-Tournament teams, aided by his 21 kills on .500 hitting in the NCAA semifinal win over Penn State. He recorded double-digit kill numbers on 20 occasions, including a career-high 24 against Stanford in the MPSF Final.

Originally published in February 2013