Ferriter Hits Big in Rookie Year

Photo By Robin Weinstein

It’s been a season of firsts for outside hitter Tim Ferriter.

After a strong rookie season on the Men’s Volleyball team, Ferriter was named the United Volleyball Conference (UVC) Rookie of the Year, inducted into the American Coaches Volleyball Association (AVCA) Men’s NCAA Div. III All-America First Team and was also named  the 2013 Newcomer of the Year.

Ferriter is the first player in program history to be named Newcomer of the Year and to be selected for the First Team.

Ferriter ranks fourth in the UVC in kills per set and 21 in NCAA Div. III with 3.29. He is also among the team leaders in digs per set, service aces per set and blocks per set, recording 1.44, 0.30 and 0.43 respectively.

He grew up around the sport as he watched his older brother play organized volleyball and often played the game in his backyard. Ferriter joined an official team in seventh grade and has played ever since.

Volleyball was not the only sport Ferriter dabbled in growing  up.

“I played soccer and basketball and I played tennis all throughout high school as well,” Ferriter said. “I chose volleyball because it was always my favorite and I picked that as my main sport back in eighth grade. The other sports I played just for fun, but [with] volleyball, I always wanted to get really good at it and keep playing.”

When the time came to choose a college, Ferriter said it was a challenge, but he looked for three main criteria to make his choice.

“I only wanted three things out of a college,” Ferriter said. “I wanted volleyball, engineering and for it to not be too far away from home. New Paltz mostly fit that mold and once I got here, I realized that it had a lot more to offer than just that.”

Ferriter, who hails from Rochester, said he has fostered close relationships with individual players on previous teams, but has never experienced the camaraderie he found at New Paltz.

Co-captain Brian Smith was the first one to read the article which announced Ferriter’s Rookie of the Year honor and broke the news to Ferriter on the team bus. Head Coach Radu Petrus called him to unofficially break the news about his Newcomer of the Year honor.

“I was honestly shocked and didn’t expect that at all,” Ferriter said. “I could not have done it without the backup of a great team. Volleyball is such a team sport and with everyone always doing their job right, it made it easy for me.”

Second-year setter Johnny Lutjen worked with Ferriter in practice to overcome communication issues that hindered them from connecting on the court. Lutjen said Ferriter’s work ethic on and off the court made it easy for them to work through this problem.

“Even though Tim is not one of the most talkative starters, I feel like he can be considered a silent leader,” he said. “He contributed to the team because at every practice, he made each and every one of us better players due to the fact [that] he is such a talented volleyball player.”

Petrus attributes Ferriter’s success to his “great physical, technical and tactical skills.” He also considers Ferriter an all-around player — his jump serve, serve receive and offensive-minded game are among some of the qualities that Petrus appreciates about the player, he said.

Ferriter credits Petrus for helping him to minimize his timidness on the court, as well as his “different mentality” and approach to the game compared to his previous coaches. He focuses more on the offensive end of volleyball and urges the team to execute a style of play Petrus dubbed “men’s volleyball,” Ferriter said. This tactic calls for the players to “end the point” instead of playing “back and forth” with opponents.

The Men’s Volleyball team had a successful season, finishing with a 27-6 overall record. The team is also nationally ranked in the AVCA NCAA Div. III Men’s Coaches Top-15 Coaches Poll, coming in at No. 9 with 125 points.

Reflecting on the wins, Ferriter said beating Nazareth was his favorite moment of the season, especially because of his connection with Nazareth College’s Head Coach Cal Wickens.

“Naz was a hometown college for me, I practiced there for many years and their coach is the head of the club that I played for, so it made the win more personal,” Ferriter said. “Also, breaking their 31-0 season didn’t hurt.”

Throughout his volleyball career, Ferriter has had many coaches who have taught him essential skills, but he has kept in mind a piece of advice he received from Rick Newton, his club coach and high school coach for two years.

“Some advice that I’ve got throughout the years was that not every hit has to be a ‘crowd pleaser,’” Ferriter said. “You don’t get an extra point for hitting the ball straight down as hard as you can and it pays off more to play smart instead.”