Czech Mate: Chleboun Sets Up Stateside

Jakub Chleboun (no. 13) transferred from the Czech Republic to play volleyball for the Hawks and his recent play have been a driving force in the Hawk’s SUNYAC dreams.

In his native country of the Czech Republic, Jakub Chleboun would spend hours practicing his passion – volleyball.

Chleboun, who is a transfer-student playing for the Men’s Volleyball team this season, has been a top performer for the Hawks and hopes to be an integral piece in their quest for a spot in the SUNYACs.

“I love volleyball,” Chleboun said. “In general, if I am passionate about something, I try to do it a lot.”

Chleboun currently has 20 kills this season, is sixth on the team in blocks and currently averages just under a kill per set. Chleboun also averages 0.64 digs per set and is one of the Hawk’s top players on defense.

Chleboun came to SUNY New Paltz as part of an exchange program, after being chosen to transfer as part of a program at Charles University in Prague. Chleboun said he had wanted to visit the United States before he graduates and begins to work full time, so the decision to spend a semester playing volleyball was easy.

After exchanging e-mails with Head Coach Radu Petrus over the past months, Chleboun came to New Paltz on Jan. 19 and began practicing soon after.

In the Czech Republic, Chleboun played for many teams and his home club is now SK Dansport Praha. Chleboun was also part of the Junior Extraleague Championship team on USK Praha in 2006.

“There are a lot of fond memories,” Chleboun said. “It had always been my dream and it came true.”

In the team’s short season, Chleboun has helped the team win in many ways. On Feb. 11, Chleboun scored a New Paltz career-high nine points and had five digs in the team’s win against Medaille College during the Nazareth Tournament.

Chleboun followed his strong performance in the Nazarath Tournament by scoring 7.5 points in each of his last two games. After only scoring two and a half points in his first four matches, Chleboun has averaged 6.3 points over his last five games.

As a setter in the Czech Republic, Chleboun said he was involved in every play and enjoyed it, but has noticed many differences in the rules of the game in his short time in New Paltz.

According to Chleboun during games in the Czech Republic, if the ball hits the ceiling during the match the game ends and instead of 15 switches allowed during a set, only six are allowed.

While Chleboun primarily played setter while in the Czech Republic, Petrus said that he has been playing outside hitter this season because of his ability to handle the ball.

“He is a positive player on the court,” Petrus said. “He helps the team win. That is a big part of Jakub.”