MVB: Looking to maintain hot start throughout season

The men’s volleyball team returned to action this semester and players are already reaching individual milestones.

In the Colonels’ victory against Purchase College on Jan. 21, senior setter and captain Zach Shay recorded the 1,000th assist of his career.

“Shay is a valuable resource to our team,” said head coach Joseph Czopek. “He was chosen as captain because he leads by example. He is always one of the first to practice. He is always encouraging to his teammates during competition, and knows the right things to say to refocus the team.”

Shay’s teammates see him as a leader of the team and very dedicated to the game of volleyball.

“He is consistently one of the hardest workers in the gym and brings the rest

of the team to a higher level,” said junior outside hitter Jackson Shafer.

Shay is confident in the fact that he could not have accomplished this feat without his teammates.

“Reaching 1,000 assists is a really cool accomplishment and I clearly couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates,” said senior Zach Shay. “I wasn’t even aware I was going to reach that milestone last weekend and was extremely surprised when I found out.”

Wilkes found themselves off to a hot start to begin their season.

The team opened with a victory against the College of Mount Saint Vincent on Jan. 18 and followed up with a sweep of Lehman College and Purchase College in their first tri-meet of the season on Jan. 21.

The early successes of the team can be attributed to the hard work that is put into practice.

“The team is playing well and is off to a good start this year,” said Coach Czopek. “Practices have been very competitive, and game time scenarios have helped prepare the team for each upcoming opponent.”

The Colonels’ roster this season consists of two seniors: Zach Shay and Casey Shipman. Paul Binner, Matthew Molnar, Noah Taylor, Jackson Shafer, Adan Sandoval and Logan Evanosky are the six juniors on the team. Four sophomores are suiting up for the Colonels this season: Lucas Mages, Jacob Mages, Jake Sheldon and Jacob Haller. Sam Winter and Alex Derk are the first-year players who round out this year’s roster.

“The team is a very young team so it’s important for the upperclassmen to recognize this and step up into leadership roles earlier than normal,” said Shafer. “As a junior, I was able to see what worked in building team chemistry and what did not,

and how to use it to our advantage when bringing this team together. I think we have done a very good job identifying our goals early in the season and showing the younger guys on the team the work ethic that those goals require.”

This season, the Colonels hope to showcase the hard work they have been putting in every day at practice.

“You can expect to see a team that is never going to give up,” said Shay. “This team will always battle to the end and I think we are going to surprise some teams.”

Czopek believes that this team will produce success for the program.

“The guys are committed to doing what it takes to win,” said Czopek. “This should prove to lead us to a successful record this season.”

The Colonels return to action on Feb. 2 as they will travel to Immaculata University to take on the Mighty Macs.