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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Quakers Looking To Compete For Boys Volleyball Title

ECIC I

Expectations are lofty this season for the Orchard Park High School boys volleyball team. The Quakers return five of the seven starters from a team that lost in the Section VI semifinals to eventual champion Lockport.

But the Quakers also know the division is loaded from top to bottom and anyone can win on any given night.

“We have high hopes for 2018,” coach Richard Albano said. “ECIC I should be very strong with Hamburg now back in the division. Last year the division wasn’t decided until the last match of the year.”

OP has five key pieces returning this season in senior middle blocker Matt Burney, senior setter Josh McTigue, junior outside hitter Ethan Swiatek, sophomore outside hitter Joe Nicometo and sophomore middle Hudson Harris.”

Senior Happy

Frontier could be another team to watch out for in ECIC I. The Falcons return seven seniors, all of whom have multiple years of varsity experience. That group includes Joe Dreyer, Brandon Dunz, Chris Jones, Nick Lapaglia, Brian Norsen, Elliot Robinson and Ben Taylor.

“We are starting off our first league game against Williamsville North, who eliminated us from playoff contention last year, so the team is looking forward to a rematch to start off our year,” coach Nick Penberthy said.

Here Comes Hamburg

Hamburg moved up to Division I after a strong season a year ago and brings a talented squad and strong tradition.  Senior outside hitter Bo Johnson, a first-team ECIC II all-star last year, returns to lead the Bulldogs this season.  Sophomore Michael Cole is also back for Hamburg.

Stars Shining

There will be no shortage of star power in league play this year. Six of the nine players on last year’s All-ECIC I first-team were underclassem.

Outside hitter Adam Gulick will lead Williamsville North this season and is considered one of – if not the best player in the divisison after recording 357 kills as a junior. Senior setter Matt Wiepert is also expected to be a big leader for the Spartans.

Setter Teddy Payne returns to lead Clarence, which will play for new coach David Hill – a 2010 graduate and standout on the volleyball court for the Red Devils. Senior Chris Wikar and Aaron Sinica are also back for Clarence.

Frontier has two returning first-team all-stars in outside hitter Brian Norsen and setter Ben Taylor, both now seniors.

Lancaster will be led by Matt Garry at outside hitter. The Legends graduated their two other ECIC I all-stars in Nathan Greene and Brandon Smith.

Outside hitter Nicholas Pozzutto was the representative for West Seneca West on the first team and is back for this year.  Junior Nathan Petrik, a second-team pick, also returns.

ECIC II

Sweet Home won its first Section VI championship in 24 years when it beat Grand Island, 27-25, 25-27, 22-25, 25-20, 15-7 in last year’s title game.

The Panthers lost eight seniors from that team but the cupboard is far from bare. Senior outside hitter Dylan Aarum and right-side hitter Kaleb Luton are back to lead Sweet Home’s repeat bid.

Amherst is talented again this season as well. The Tigers will be led by senior middle Jake Lasher and sophomore Sam Greco.

Williamsville East was hit hard by graduation after finishing 9-3 in ECIC II play last year. The Flames lone returning starter is junior setter  Josh Weissert, a second-team all-star last year.

Starpoint reached the Section VI Division 2A championship game last season, led by Campbell Schoenfeld, who is now at Harvard University on a volleyball scholarship. Owen Jauch, Nikolas Zhilevich and Adam Converse will be Starpoint’s captains this season.

Williamsville South reached the sectional semifinals before losing to Sweet Home.  Setter Nico Zanelotti will lead the Billies this season in his fourth varsity season.

West Seneca East reached the Division 2 B bracket before falling to Cheektowaga in three sets. Sophomore Cole Ignaszak, who started last season as a freshman, returns.

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