St. Paul’s defeats men’s varsity volleyball

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St. Paul’s defeats men’s varsity volleyball

Megan Battaglia

Junior Rob Stahl spikes the ball over the net. St. Paul's defeated JC on Oct. 3.

Miranda Ripken, Sports Editor

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Standing in a circle with arms locked behind one another’s shoulders, the varsity men’s volleyball team planned for the upcoming game against the St. Paul’s Crusaders. Senior Matt Zoltoski and sophomore Chris Collins took their places in front of the net. Match one had officially started. It was the first of three matches that would lead up to St. Paul’s outplaying the Patriots, 3-0. The ball, after it was served for the first time, changed hands repeatedly until Collins stopped the ball in its tracks and caused it to land on the Crusader’s defensive side.

“It was great because the shortest person on the team made the block,” Zoltoski said.

Collins is a sophomore on a team that is mainly seniors. As one of the youngest players on the team, he was among the players who earned the most minutes played.

“It’s different [to play with the seniors] because I’m the youngest and they’re bigger than me and have more authority,” Collins said.

As match one progressed, the lead shifted from belonging to the Patriots to the Crusaders. It was a slow start due to the short rallies. Eventually, a time-out was called leaving the score 6-13, Crusaders. Coming out of the huddle, senior Dino Profili spiked the ball, which then ricocheted off a Crusader’s arm into the ceiling.

St. Paul’s had no time to react, giving the point to the Patriots. The game progressed in favor of the Crusaders, but the Patriots rallied back to narrow the lead down to 18-16.  In the end, the Crusaders won the first game 25-23.

The challenge in today’s game was “to not ‘Rob Smash,’” according to volleyball coach Julian Maliszewski  This refers to junior Rob Stahl, who has the tendency to smash the ball out of bounds.

That is exactly what the Patriots did in the second game, as they started off with a 4-1 lead in the first two minutes. St. Paul’s responded quickly by shutting down senior Patrick McGuirk’s spike. The Crusaders pulled out the win in this match, 25-19.

The third match between the two teams was the most intense part of the game, according to Collins. St. Paul’s earned an early lead 2-0, but the Patriots battled back to take the lead 3-2. Again, it was looking to be a close game, until the Crusaders started pulling away.

A diving save by senior AJ Stewart propelled JC to catch up to St. Paul’s, 11-12. For the rest of the match, the lead alternated between both teams, until finally the Crusaders pulled out their third match win 27-25.

The men’s volleyball team now has to prepare for their next game against Gilman on Oct. 5. Coach Maliszewski has one piece of advice for Wednesday, acknowledging a team inside joke.

“They need to make sure they had matching socks for the next game!” Maliszewski said.

 Miranda Ripken is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.