Weekly Feature

2014-09-10 / Sports

Bulldogs volleyball determined to make playoff run

by BRANDON KILIJANSKI
Reporter

There are just two players on the Kenmore East boys volleyball roster that are left from the team that reached the sectional finals two years ago.

Seniors Tom Vancuran and Justin Haeick were there the day Ken East lost to Lake Shore. As the current top two outside hitters, they would like to get the Bulldogs back in that spot.

Vancuran’s first game this season came on Tuesday against Niagara Wheatfield. He missed the first two games of the season due to not having participated in enough practices. Kenmore East head coach Kyle Horvatis said that he thinks Vancuran can become an All-Western New York selection.

“I’ve never had a player jump as high as he can,” Horvatis said. “From a blocking stance position, his arm pits are at the top of the net. His athleticism is out of this world. He is good in every aspect of the game, so he’ll never leave the court.”

In Vancuran’s absence, Haeick became the team’s go-to player on the outside.

Haeick helped lead the Bulldogs to victories against Amherst on Sept. 2 and Sweet Home on Thursday.

“He can mix it up by hitting angles and hitting down the line,” Horvatis said.

Against Amherst, the Bulldogs won in a sweep 25-14, 25-9, 25-13. On Thursday, the Bulldogs outlasted Sweet Home in a five-set match by winning 25-20, 23-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-19.

“It was a marathon and draining. We were pumped up and all of that work for the win was refreshing,” Horvatis added. “It was a good outcome for us.”

Starting at libero for the Bulldogs is senior Jeff Wolf. He has been passing consistently well this season, which has allowed the Kenmore East offense to open up a bit.

The Bulldogs are versatile enough that they can run hitters at both pins, in the middle and also out of the back row.

“Our passing has been on, so we can be crafty. It’s nice to have some options,” Horvatis said.

Running the offense is setter Rob Mol in his second year on the team. He’s been working on setting a quicker paced offense, making it more difficult for the opposition to keep up with.

Lining up as the two middle blockers this season are a pair of seniors; 6-foot-3 Ben Leising and Michael Rice at 6-2.

Horvatis said with the lineup and experience that the Bulldogs have in place, expectations are high this season.

“We want to win every tournament that we’re in. And another goal is to not lose a match at home,” he said. “If we accomplish that, we can get to the NFL championship and possibly win a sectional title.”

Kenmore East has a new junior varsity coach in former Bulldog player, Drake DeJesus.

“He has done a lot of recruiting at the middle school and he is developing the young players very well for us,” Horvatis said. “I’m very excited about that. I have a solid foundation being created at JV and that can only help in the future.”

email: brandonk@beenews.com

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