January 23, 2020 – By NJP
So here is a link to the Rankings for NCAA Division 1 and 2 Men’s Volleyball for 2020… https://www.ncaa.com/rankings/volleyball-men/nc/avca-division-i-ii-coaches
A select group of 48 teams competing from Colleges and University’s throughout the nation. They are the very best that the US has to offer at the collegiate level. According to ScholarshipStats.com, 0.6% of boys playing high school volleyball play at the D1 level in College. That is one in every 154 players. The chances of them playing at any college level is 4.6%. So using these numbers, we are creaming the best of the best to play at this level. The top 99.4% of players. Top notch! Fantastic to watch… Incredible to learn from if you are a current high school level player. If you go to other parts of the country, you will experience “this” when attending games (watch CLIP)…
A packed house of loyal fans supporting their local team. You can feel the energy in the arena and the players are fueled by the emotion and passion from the crowd.
NJP is relatively new to covering volleyball in New Jersey. Maybe we are just naive. But our expectation tonight as we headed to see the home opener for NJIT against #11 Purdue was that at least some of that electricity would be captured. We entered an amazing venue at NJIT, a 3,500 seat state of the art facility with tiered seating, a jumbo screen for stats and scores, and two extremely talented top level NCAA teams on the floor.
So going back to our initial question… what’s wrong with the picture? We counted about 150 people in attendance. We have seen many more at some high school venues in New Jersey.
The teams did their part. It was three exciting and sometimes spectacular sets of mens volleyball with NJIT upsetting the Boilermaker in close, tight sets. The Highlanders were impressive, have NBA type characters like 6’10” Middle Luca Berger from Brazil, freshman 6’7″ Opposite Julian Meissner from Germany, and 6’7″ hitter Alvaro Gimeno from Spain. Plus local stars in Hunterdon Central grad Logan Heft and St. Peter’s Prep Setter Mason Matos. And probably one of the top 5 players ever to come out of NJ, former Harrison Opposite Piotr Namiotko who has led the Highlanders in kills his first three years and now as a senior is behind Meisner in the depth chart. Imagine how good the level of play is if Piotr didn’t crack the starting lineup.
For Princeton, there is nothing like visiting the Ivy League campus and experiencing a sporting event. It should be on everyone’s bucket list. Princeton has a new freshman, Danny Sun from South Brunswick. What an amazing accomplishment for this young NJ athlete to get into Princeton and get the chance to play the sport he loves. Hats off to you Danny.
So again our question is “Why aren’t these arenas filled to capacity?” Why isn’t every high school coach organizing a team bus to watch and learn from this caliber of play? Why aren’t NJ players asking Mom and Dad to take a trip to NJIT or Princeton and root for the local heroes who play the game they love?
Love to start the discussion… Comment below…
Let’s support these Jersey teams and players! And benefit from the knowledge we gain from the exceptional experience.
Here are some upcoming dates to note:
NJIT vs. Ball State at NJIT Wellness & Events Center Saturday 1-25 at 6PM
NJIT vs. St. Francis Brooklyn at NJIT Wellness & Events Center Saturday 2-1 at 4PM
NJIT vs. Princeton at NJIT Wellness & Events Center Friday 2-7 6PM
Sacred Heart at Princeton at Dillon Gymnasium Friday 2-28 at 7PM
NJIT vs. Harvard at NJIT Wellness & Events Center Friday 2-28 at 6PM
NJIT vs. Sacred Heart at NJIT Wellness & Events Center Saturday 2-29 at 4PM
Princeton vs. Harvard at Dillon Gymnasium Saturday 2-29 at 4PM
Princeton vs. NJIT at Dillon Gymnasium Saturday 3-6 at 7PM