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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 26, 2012

Young Blackbird players on a learn-as-they-go mission

VOORHEESVILLE –– Boys’ volleyball is a work in progress at Voorheesville. Fielding many young, and new players, the team has been learning as each set comes and goes.

On Tuesday, the Blackbirds won its first set of the season, 25 to 21, over visiting New Lebanon. Voorheesville went on to win the fourth set, too, and almost pulled out a win. The Birds lost, but Head Coach Terry Luyckx saw improvement throughout the match.

“Finally got over the hump,” said Scott Warren about actually winning a set. “We’re a little shaky, but we start doing a lot better when everybody gets into it and starts talking.”

Luyckx, who also coaches the girls’ junior varsity team, said that the boys have improved “tremendously” since the first practice of the season. Andrew Pevzner, Dom Loccisano, and Devin Racey are the only returning players and three other players are just in seventh grade.

“They knew very little at first, but now they actually look like volleyball players,” Luyckx said. “The youngest kids act differently than the older ones, but the younger guys are learning quickly and set a great example with their effort.”

On Tuesday, Voorheesville started getting more fervent as its playing progressed, and with a 15-to-14 lead in the final set, it essentially looked like the Birds were going to get the win.

“We lost a lot of players from last year,” said Pevzner. The Birds also lost its coach, Will Whitty, who went to work for another school. “I’m just glad that we’re able to play,” Pevzner added.

As far as volleyball goes at Voorheesville, the girls’ team takes the cake, making it to states the last two seasons and another time in 2007. However, Luyckx said that girls have more opportunities in volleyball than boys do. “It’s not as much of a focus with the boys,” she said, “but I’d like to get them more motivated and serious about it.”

Some Voorheesville players are already serious about it, Luyckx said, but she would like to spread that mentality across the board in hopes of having a really good boys’ team some day. With such young players, the team has ample time to find success.

Voorheesville won a regional title in 2005. The team was led by the dynamic Michalski triplets –– Adrian, Austin, and Ian.

“Hopefully, they’ll all keep coming back,” said Luyckx. “That way, we could be pretty good, especially if they keep working with the same effort as they’re showing right now.”

On Tuesday, Luyckx saw improvement from the first set all the way to the last. She’s trying to make her players grasp the importance of communication and transition. Those two factors make volleyball much different from any other sport.

“I like seeing them progress with every game,” Luyckx said. “Playing more games, that’s how you learn. The goal is to get better, continually. Communicating more is critical.”

As the girls’ junior-varsity coach, Luyckx knows how incredible the girls’ varsity players are. Some of them have volunteered their time to help the boys, along with some alumni and a few parents. “I’ve used all avenues,” Luyckx said.

Would the girls’ varsity team ever take on the boys? Luyckx has brought up the idea, but nothing has been planned as of yet.

“The girls might take it a little easy in the second set after they blank us in the first,” Warren said. “It would be fun.”

So, the invitation is out there.

“I would love if the girls played the boys,” said Luyckx. “I think the boys could learn a lot from the competition.”

By Jordan J. Michael

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