The reasons for the Vernon Township High School boys volleyball team’s success vary.
Close to the top of the list are the many contributions of team captains Tristan Santiago, Pearse Esposito and Ben Jurewicz, all juniors.
“All three are excellent leaders, effective communicators, and have continued to work on their game in and out of the gym,’’ head coach Jeff DeYoung said. “We have meaningful dialogue as it pertains to practice, game situations and tactics.’’
The three leaders have put up noteworthy statistics on the court so far this spring.
“Ben is our current leader in kills/spikes with 68 (77 points total), while Pearse as our setter has amassed 182 assists and 14 assists (second on team),’’ DeYoung said. “Tristan, as our libero, leads the team in both digs (124) and service aces (15).’’
The Vikings have become better and better as volleyball players as the season has progressed.
“Our volleyball IQ is always at the forefront of our daily practice and learning,’’ DeYoung said. “This includes serving strategies, tracking contact and intent from our opponents, and improving our ability to read the game as it develops.
“All three captains have a willingness to improve and get better as well as make adjustments during the match to help the team be successful. They also give each other and their teammates feedback as needed to help everyone improve. They hold each other and everyone else accountable.’’
Through 13 matches, the Vikings had an overall record of 8-5 and they were 8-2 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).
Several student athletes have contributed for Vernon.
“Sophomore Josh Jean carries a sizable offensive load, second in total points behind Ben (60 kills, nine blocks, six aces), and sophomore Caden Krzyzak leads the team in blocks (10.5) and is getting a little bit better every day, which is all we ask,’’ the coach said. “We also have a first-time player push this year, and senior Logan Peek has been a welcome addition to the team, using his serve to disrupt our opponent’s serve-receive abilities.’’
The Vikings have a road match scheduled at Sparta on Monday, May 15.
“Our goal this year is to compete for the NJAC title, make a strong showing for ourselves in the NJAC League Tournament and qualify for the (NJSIAA) North 2 state tournament,’’ DeYoung said. “With such a young team with only two returning starters, this would set the stage for a nice run of results over the next couple of seasons.’’
All three captains have a willingness to improve and get better as well as make adjustments during the match to help the team be successful. They also give each other and their teammates feedback as needed to help everyone improve. They hold each other and everyone else accountable.’’ - Jeff DeYoung, head boys volleyball coach, Vernon Township High School