Men's Volleyball Season Preview
- Release Date:
- January 22, 2013
- The Office of Sports Information
- (716) 649-7900 ext. 333
The 2013 men's volleyball season looks promising as the team returns ten players and added three freshmen. After an improved second season, Coach Schultz, with the help of Andy Nawotka and a new graduate assistant coach, Jeremy Schlosser, aim to take the program to the next level. Expectations remain high for the coaches and their players as a tough United Volleyball Conference (UVC) slate and season awaits the team.
This season’s volleyball captains will have to showcase their leadership ability, skill, and consistency in order to guide the Hawks through a defining season. Junior Adam Weaver (Stow, OH/Archbishop Hoban) and senior Scott Ross (Grand Island, NY/D’Youville/Niagara County Community College) are expected to be strong role models by setting good examples for the new players. Weaver, who led the team in 2012 with 287 kills (3.30kills/set) needs 38 kills this season to become Hilbert’s All Time Kill Leader during his third season of competition. Ross will likely play middle after accumulating 143 kills (1.64/set) and 59 blocks (.68 blocks/set) last season.
Senior Adam Clabo (North Tonawanda, NY/Niagara Wheatfield), senior Frederick Sickau (Eden, NY/Eden), senior Anthony Blasz (Eden, NY), senior Ryan Tofil (Westfield, NY/Westfield/JCC), sophomore Andrew Duncan(Valencia, CA/Golden Valley), sophomore Dave Mellerski (Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park), sophomore Steve Phillips (Penfield, NY/Penfield) and sophomore Ryan Ratajczak (Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park/Buffalo State) round out the returning Hawk players from a season ago.
Clabo returns to a defensive role in the back row after his strong performance in 2012, finishing in the team’s top three in digs (131) and currently sits in the top 3 in Hilbert’s All Time Dig list (382). Clabo also leads the program with a (.722) service percentage since his Freshman season. Sickau was among the team’s leaders in kills (188) and blocks (31) in 2012 and he expects to unlock his true potential this season. He currently has 342 Kills and 75 Blocks placing him in Hilbert’s Top 5 in both categories. Blasz is a solid net player while earning points off the service line too. He is the Hawks current #1 Service Ace leader (56 aces) after only three seasons of play. Blasz has accumulated 118 total blocks and holds down the top spot in the All Time Block Assist List with 80.
Mellerski has a new role this year as the team’s starting setter; he replaces Phillips who suffered a potentially season-ending injury in the fall semester. Phillips, after just one season, was credited with 625 assists, placing him in the second spot on Hilbert’s All Time Assist list. Ratajczak possesses an impressive ability getting to first balls over the net; as the libero last year, he finished with 239 digs (2.75/set) jumping him to #1 in Digs per Set and #6 in All Time Digs lists.
Tofil continuous to work hard and may earn a spot in the starting lineup. Duncan has made some progress in the off-season and looks to strengthen his offense and defense presences on the court.
Coach Schultz also added a few first-year college players. Tim Kelly (Tonawanda, NY/Kenmore West) is in the run for a potential starting position as an outside hitter. Korey Schwab (Lockport, NY/Starpoint) is in the mix to be contributing as a right side and as a defensive specialist. Will Cruz (North Tonawanda, NY/North Tonawanda) provides depth in the middle position for the Hawks.
Hilbert starts their 2013 season at the SUNYIT Tournament before a critical stretch of six games in a two week period following the tournament. The Hawks first home game is scheduled for Sunday, February 3 when Hilbert hosts a tri-match with D’Youville College and Penn State Altoona beginning at 10am. UVC games will be a big test for the Hawks as six of their ten conference opponents appear in the pre-season Top 15 Division III rankings: Stevens (5), Nazareth (6), NYU (8), Medaille (10), Vassar (11) and Elmira (15).
Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs, one a master’s in criminal justice administration and the other a master’s in public administration, and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.