HC men’s volleyball preparing for fresh start; ’08 season preview

Release Date:
January 24, 2008
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

HAMBURG, NY - The Hilbert College men’s volleyball team is back in action this spring and looking forward to a strong 2008 season. Under new leadership in first-year head coach Andy Walker, the team is preparing to compete in the strong North East Collegiate Volleyball Association (NECVA) West Division against many of the country’s top ranked teams.

“I am very excited about the upcoming season”, said Walker. “We have a great group of guys who are working very hard and excited about competing.” The first-time collegiate head coach is preparing the Hawks’ program for a fresh start after not competing during the 2007 campaign.

Walker will be counting on seniors Robert Gerhard (Angola, NY/Lake Shore), Kevin Murphy (Buffalo, NY/Bishop Timon), and Luke Whelan (Buffalo, NY/Lake Shore) to stabilize his young team. “It is important to have seniors on the court who have experience and bring an understanding of how the game needs to be played,” said Walker. “These three guys can help our underclassmen learn how to really play the game at the next level.”

Three freshmen will be looking to contribute right away starting with a strong middle hitter in Dan Wolfe (Rochester, NY/Irondequoit). Walker will also be banking on great passing and defense from Jed Jaekle (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca West) who helped a strong West Seneca West High School team to a Section VI championship. Jordan Leach (Holland, NY/Holland) rounds out the rookie class as an outside hitter.

Junior Matt Nash (Green Island, NY/Catholic Central) will be asked to contribute at the setter position and is strong at the net, despite the learning curve associated with playing a new spot on the floor. “I am very happy with the progress Matt has made,” indicated Walker. “His work ethic and desire to get better has helped him to develop into a pretty good setter.”

The team is also looking for a strong net game on the right side from sophomore Jake Simonick (Blasdell, NY/Orchard Park). “From our first practice we could see that he has a natural ability to block the ball. We’ll utilize him on the right side of the court and let him go to work from their.”

The Hawks open the 2008 season at home on Wednesday, January 30th against divisional pre-season favorite, Nazareth College.

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. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.