February 18, 2021 – By NJP
Old Bridge high school has won the last two NJ Boys State Volleyball Championships and they always find a way to reload their talent as each season passes. They have had the last two platers of the Year come from their program in Andrew Zaleck and Elan Dorkhman who are both currently playing for the one of the top Dlll college program in the country at Rutgers-Newark. Coach Andrew Hopman continues to build and improve his program each year and are the top of the NJP preseason rankings once again for this Spring.
One of the emerging players for this years team is sophomore Blake Krapf. The 6’3″ outside hitter has excelled at club volleyball playing for the top team in his age level at Warren Six Pack.
This weekend, his 16 National team will be traveling to the Spooky Nook facility in Pennsylvania for the North Atlantic Bid Tournament and will face some of the top teams in the nation including the 352 Elite Lime team from Florida and Vanguard Gold from Ohio. Both of those teams are in their first day of competition in a highly competitive 16 Open tournament. Also included in the draw are Vaqueros and Borinquen Coqui from Puerto Rico, Academy Adidas from Indiana, Yorktown from Pennsylvania, LIVBC from New York, and A2 from Ohio, as well as the St. James Boys from Virginia.
The level of play that Blake is experiencing will set him up for success at the high school level. His Six Pack and Old Bridge teammate Jacob Krol can also be a difference maker for the Knights who are looking for their third consecutive state championship in NJ.
Krapf is a strong outside hitter. He has the physical stature and athletic ability to challenge seniors for playing time at OB and could quite probably assume the starting role. He has a snap finish to his swing that can complete a kill from at the net or from the back row. He also uses his size at the service line and has a nasty power serve. Blake has solid defensive skills as well. He passes well, has solid quickness on the dig, and can put up a big block on his front row rotations.
Old Bridge is once again deep with talent heading into the Spring High School season after the complete cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID. Although we expect the competition to be wide open with many surprises, you can count on Old Bridge to be at or near the top when the dust settles. With a bright future behind some of the talented youth on the team like Blake Krapf.
Here is our interview with Blake Krapf of Old Bridge…
Hi Blake… can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Blake Krapf. I’m a sophomore outside at Old Bridge high school and I graduate in 2023. I have a large family with a mom, dad and 4 siblings.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I’ve played volleyball for 4 years starting in 7th grade but only taking it serious and playing club freshman year. I was inspired to play because growing up at family BBQ’s, everyone was always playing volleyball.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I’m 6’3 with a 30” max vertical and I play outside for Warren 6 Pack’s 16-1 national team. Outside is by far my favorite position but I love to set for fun.
Tell us about your Knight teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
This year we have a lot of returning players with experience. Especially our seniors like Nick Schon, Aaron LaPlaca and Brian Snook. But we have a lot talent on the rest of out team including Libero Rob Obdyke and a lot of young talent too.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state, especially for your age group. Do you plan on playing in College? (If so, which ones are you looking at?) What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?
I would love to play anywhere in college. However, I would especially love to play at my dream school Penn State. Ever since I was younger, I’ve wanted to go there. I would love to attend and take their political science courses.
You have played on the premier club team in NJ at your age group for the past years. What are your personal goals for this season as a sophomore?
This year for my club season we have high goals of making gold at nationals. It’s a high goal but definitely one we can achieve if we work at it because we’re a very talented team.
With a three-peat as a goal, what is your expectation for this years Old Bridge squad?
To WIN! Old Bridge is all about winning and I speak for everyone on the team when I say that we’ll put in the work to be the ones winning a state title again.
Tell us about your club volleyball experience at Warren Six Pack.
I started playing there after my 8th grade year and loved it there ever since. The environment is great and there’s always been great coaching. I love the club a lot especially because of all the amazing memories that come from it. And all the fun times even off the court. It’s a great experience
Who inspires you?
My biggest inspiration are my grandparents and they’ve always been my biggest supporters throughout my entire life no matter what. They always keep me motivated.
Tell us about Old Bridge Head Coach Andrew Hopman?
Coach Hopman is a great coach and has run a great program at Old Bridge for a long time now. It also helps that he knows what it’s like to win and knows how to push us to win.
Tell us about your experience with beach volleyball?
This past summer was my first real season of beach and it was a great experience. I learned a lot this year playing with my partner from Old Bridge Jacob Krol, who’s one of my best friends. And it definitely helped me get more crafty and smart with hitting.
What are your other hobbies or interests?
One of my hobbies are that I love to cook and play video games. So when I’m not on the court you can always find me in the kitchen or on my Xbox.
What do you do during the offseason to stay in shape and prepare for next year? Do you play other sports? (if so, which ones?)
In the offseason I always getting touches between beach, meeting up with teammates, and even the net in my back yard. The key thing for me is to get better every time I play and always try and improve and add onto my game.
How are you and your family dealing with current world situation with COVID-19? How did the cancellation of the Spring high school season effect your team?
COVID-19 was super rough for us and not having a high school season was a huge bummer since we had a really talented team and knew we had a lot of potential. But as a team we all did what we could following CDC guidelines to practice outside and get as many touches together as we could.
What was your favorite volleyball tournament and why?
My favorite club tournament has to be Rochester. The competition there is always great And it’s one of the tournaments that really shows who belongs at the top of the rankings and who’s the best of the best.
Who is your favorite college or pro volleyball player and why?
My favorite pro volleyball player has to be Wilfred Leon on the Polish men’s national team. He is an outside like me and I watch a lot of his game and try to learn from him.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way?
Coach Hopman has been a huge influence on me and my volleyball career so far. Ever since 6th grade when I went to a camp for volleyball and he really broke down the game and helped me out a lot. He was also one of the people who saw potential in me and recommended me to Six Pack. Ever since then he’s always been there to help me out and get better.