The Men’s Volleyball team defeated Bard College in the 2013 United Volleyball Conference (UVC) opener on Feb. 4.
They defeated the Raptors in three sets, recording a .650 hitting percentage to the Raptors’ .069.
Head Coach Radu Petrus said having a talented class of rookies allows him to implement a higher level of volleyball strategy.
“We have a lot of freshmen and they have the ability to put more volleyball strategy on the volleyball court,” Petrus said. “So with each group of students, we can do different practice from their level so we have a very good group of students and we can play high [quality] volleyball.”
First-year Tim Ferriter recorded 10 kills in 14 attempts with no errors. He credits his coaches and teammates as a motivating factor to his strong season.
“I feel that my role on the team thus far has been trying to bring my skills to the court, and do whatever the team needs from me to get the victory,” Ferriter said. “Being a freshman, I feel as if my coach and team [have] gained trust in me quickly which can be a lot of pressure at times but also gives me confidence on the court.”
Co-captain Brian Smith said the team’s dedication to physical fitness has helped give the team its strong start.
“As a team we’re all in the weight room a lot more, running and lifting before or after practice so that when it comes time for the games, we know we are in better physical condition than the other team,” Smith said. “Our coaches really trained us hard this intercession and this team definitely came into this semester stronger than ever.”
Smith said his focus as co-captain is to make sure the players know that “the team comes first.” Stats and individual awards should not take precedence over team goals and embracing that mentality is what makes the team “special,” he said.
He also acknowledged the impact the nine underclassmen have had on returning players.
“The nine underclassmen on our team have been phenomenal for us and will be an integral part in our winning as a team,” Smith said. “Their talent and work ethic has pushed all the upperclassmen to work even harder and the team has benefitted astronomically.”
First-year Christian Smith dished out seven assists and tied with first-years Tim Ferriter and Kevin Nardone for match-high digs with four. Petrus said as brothers, Christian and Brian Smith inspire a positive attitude on the court. Christian said volleyball requires a next play mentality and players cannot afford to dwell on a mistake. He said positivity on the court helps foster that mentality.
“My brother and I just try to be positive at all times because when you stay positive good things happen and basically you’re better as a team,” Christian said. “When somebody makes a mistake on the court we try to be there to pick them up and let them know that they will succeed on the next play.”
Brian said staying humble and focused are the keys to having a successful season.
“Our main goal for this season is to work hard and focus everyday so that we have the best chance to win every time we step on the court,” Brian said. “If we can do that, there is no reason we shouldn’t win our conference and be playing in the NCAA Tournament when April rolls around.”
* Edited on Wednesday, Feb. 20