Unbeaten boys volleyball team #1 in State

Nicholas Do, who has 15 aces and leads the team with 113 service points, surveys the court to find a weak spot before delivering his serve.


            The boys volleyball, which came into the season with high expectations after winning four straight State championships, continued their winning ways by carrying an undefeated streak through the first seventeen matches. The big wins they have racked up recently and their perfect record have earned them the top ranking in the State.

            The team recently completed a season sweep of St. Joseph, the 5th ranked team in the State, twice in one week. “They’re a great team with a great coach, and they’re never going to be a team that just rolls over,” claimed senior Blake Krapf, who contributed 23 kills across the two match ups. Combined with their win over St. Joseph in the Central State Finals last year, this sweep represents revenge for the two regular season losses the Falcons handed them last year.

            Being labeled as the top team only makes the players more inclined to push themselves. “Rankings aren’t everything to our team,” stated junior Nicholas Do, the team’s assist leader with 241 this season.   Our main priority is playing to the best of our abilities no matter who the opponent is.”

            When wins arrive so commonly and consistently, it becomes easy to grow complacent. The Knights have remained relentless in their winning drive, however. “A start like this definitely helps us mentally especially with our confidence, but as a team we try to look past our record and how ever many wins we have and trust the process,” said senior Aleks Kolodziej, who has racked up 96 kills, second on the team.

Sophomore Adrian Marke, who is third on the team with 21 blocks, steps into position to spike a set from junior Nicholas Do.

            This mentality shows in their performance. “We all know that winning starts with focusing on things one point, set, and match at a time,” said junior Massimo Roco, who leads the team with 32 blocks. They have only lost a singular set all season, in an April 15 2-1 victory against Kingsway.  

            The players credit many factors to the ongoing winning streak, including the hard work they put in, inspired by the legacy they inherited. “We know we have a target on our back from our previous success and no one wants to be the team that ends the streak so we’re always making sure we work harder than anyone else,” said Krapf, who has a team-high 171 kills.  

Seniors Blake Krapf and Evan Jazmin take a quick break as they wait for the next serve.

            Another trait of the team which pushed the team to become such a dominant unit is their chemistry, on and off of the court. “We are such a close team, and we treat each other like family,” said Kolodziej who has contributed 24 blocks.

            Avoiding frustration has also provided them with the ability to keep themselves on top. “We always stay calm, and if we make mistakes, we can easily move on and worry about the next point,” said Do, who leads the team with 113 service points. 

Blake Krapf, who leads the team with 36 aces, spins the ball in his hands as he prepares to serve.

            When such domination has been put on display that only one set occurred where the squad has faltered, it becomes a difficult task to pick a match which can be deemed as the toughest. One name stood out to the players, however, Scotch Plains Fanwood, an opponent they faced in the championship game of an in-season tournament on April 15. “Going into it we all knew it was going to be a great close game as the 1 seed was playing the 2. But we all focused up and did our job and we’re able to pull through with a win in straight sets,” said Krapf, who lead the team with 10 kills in the match. 

            Monroe also provided a major challenge despite being a match that ended in a two-set victory. “They caught us off guard with how strong of a team they are,” said Kolodziej. “They should be a tough competitor in the GMC.” 

            The team doesn’t get a break as they gear up for three matches in the next two days. They take on JP Stevens at home at 5:30 pm tonight, followed by a tri-match on the road Saturday against Fair Lawn and Bloomfield. 

Posted on 5/5/23 Photos by Katelyn Buchalter

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