January 18, 2020 – By NJP
Jackson Memorial had an impressive 2019 campaign finishing at 17-7 and earning an NJP top 25 ranking. They beat arch rival Jackson Liberty early in the season, took Southern to three sets late in the year, knocked off Howell and then lost a heartbreaker to Clearview in three sets in state playoffs with the last game going 27-25 to end their year. This season, they return all varsity players except for 2 seniors and have earned a NJP preseason rank of #4.
One of the leaders of the team in 2020 will be senior outside hitter Alex Furlong. As a junior, Alex’s all around play was a big factor in the teams success. He had 208 kills, 12 blocks, 24 aces and 193 digs. Alex has been playing for SixPack during the club season and continues to improve with some high quality reps. He will be well prepared to lead the Jaguars for his senior campaign.
It been an exciting year for the Furlongs. With Alex and brother Nick being seniors on a highly ranked team and Alex committing to play D3 volleyball for Misericordia University in Pennsylvania. And I am sure we will be hearing from Nick shortly on his college commitment. Lots to look forward for the Furlongs this year and in the future.
Alex will be joining Brian Ross (16′) from St. John Vianney, Ryan Miller (17′) from Clearview and Connor Cusick (18′) from Howell at Misericordia. The Cougars finished 20-17 overall and 8-6 in the MAC last season.
Alex and the Jackson Memorial Jaguars are currently ranked above the Southern Rams. This will turn into a big rivalry this year and mark your calendars when these two top level teams get together for their 2020 matchups.
Here is our interview with Alex…
Tell us a bit about yourself Alex?
My name is Alex Furlong. I go to Jackson Memorial High School, and I am a member of the Class of 2020. I am a 5’11 Outside Hitter, and I play club for the Warren Sixpack 18-3 team.
How long have you played volleyball?
I have been playing volleyball since I was in 5th grade. So about 8 years.
What inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I attended a small private school from kindergarten-8th grade, and my main sport was baseball growing up. My school did not have a baseball team, so my friends and I decided to try volleyball.
Who is your support group?
My support group is my Mom, my brother Nick, and my Aunt Allison. All of them want me to succeed and play my best. My biggest supporters are also my teammates because I know they will always have my back on and off the court.
How will your high school team do in the upcoming season? Do you have a lot of returning players? What will be the key to success?
My high school team will be very good again this year. We went 17-7 last year, and we have 9 returning seniors. I believe we have a very strong chance to win the Shore Conference and South Jersey. Our key to success will be to have fun with each other, keep positive attitudes, and be scrappy on defense. https://njpowerranking.com/jackson-memorial-2020-psr/
Tell us about your school?
Jackson Memorial has about 1600 students and is known for great school spirit. We always have strong athletic teams no matter the sport.
Tell us about your high school coach?
My high school coach is Jason Ulrich. Coach Ulrich is not only a great coach but he is a great person. He does not just see us as his players, he sees us as one big family. He wants to prepare us for life after volleyball, and the real world. He also coaches women’s volleyball at Georgian Court University, so I am glad that I can always put my trust in him and know he is going to make the right call.
Which player last season was the toughest competitor that you faced and why?
The toughest competitor I faced last season was Justin Kean from Southern. He is a great player, with tremendous power behind his attacking, which made it very hard to play defense against him. He also has great blocking and court vision.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing in College? (If so, which ones are you looking at?)
Yes, I am committed to play Misericordia University in Dallas, PA. Coach Rob Wingert is a great coach, and has established a great program. They are getting better and better each year and I cannot wait to play there for the next 4 years.
Which schools are your biggest rivals?
I would say Southern and Jackson Liberty are our two biggest rivals. Southern always gives us great competition, and we know that each time we play Liberty that it will be an intense game because they are right across town from us.
Tell us about your club team and how the season is going thus far?
My club season has been going very well so far. Last weekend, we won the silver bracket at the Atlantic City AAU Invitational Tournament.
What are your other hobbies?
I enjoy playing soccer, baseball and hanging out with friends.
What do you do during the offseason to stay in shape and prepare for next year?
I play high school soccer, work out, and play club volleyball. My high school teammates and I also get together to play just to stay in shape.
Who is your favorite teammate and why?
I love all of my teammates but my favorite has to be either Frank Saverese or Ben Fryc. They are both easily the two funniest kids on the team, and when we are too serious and not having fun, they usually both make a joke and break the ice.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way?
My Aunt Allison has helped along the way. She has coached since I was in 5th grade, and she has a great knowledge about the game. She rarely misses any of my games and comes to all of my club tournaments.