May 17, 2021 – By NJP
The statistics will tell you that the chances of having an impact freshman on your New Jersey Boys High School volleyball team are about as high as… well, let’s just say we can’t count that high. You can name these players on one hand over the past few years… Gil Zyndorf or Fair Lawn, Chris Lynum of Livingston, or Nick Brzoska of Marlboro. Maybe one or two more. This year, only two freshman players are included in the NJP player rater as of 5/16/21. They are Tim Ennis of SPF (#55) and Trevor Van Velkenburg of Jackson Liberty (#87). But what Tim Ennis has done during this his initial season is quite phenomenal.
Tim has been the perfect addition to an already dominant team. He has been the secret sauce that takes that dish from being good to outstanding. He has hit the ground running like he is an upperclassman and has been the perfect complement to his new team members.
Many of the best players get their start from playing beach volleyball. Ennis falls into this category with his roots as a child being on the beach during the summers and getting an opportunity to play competitively from a young age. This has helped shape his hard-court success.
Tim has the quick release on the attack and is just a flat-out great passer. He has made setter Nick Schmidt’s life just a little bit easier as he directs the Raiders offensive attack. he has already surpassed the 100-dig mark and is fast approaching the 100 level for kills. He has also smashed an amazing 36 aces in his first campaign with SPF.
Tim is a member of an exceptionally talented club team at Six Pack. The 16-1 National Team is outstanding, and he is the youngest player on the squad which features some of NJ’s best young high school stars. This has facilitated his transition to high school and has really contributed to his success thus far in his high school career.
There is no telling what Tim is capable of accomplishing over the next three years. He is already 6’1″ as a freshman and we expect he will have the size, experience, and volleyball IQ to be one of SPF’s record breakers in many categories. But this season has been a “perfect” way to get things started.
Here is our interview with SPF freshman Tim Ennis…
Tell us a bit about yourself, Tim? (What school do you attend, what town do you live in? What year are you graduating? Tell us about your family? etc.)
My name is Timothy Ennis, I am 15 years old, and am freshman at Scotch Plains-Fanwood high school. I am in the graduating class of 2024, so I have all 4 years of high school volleyball until I attempt to further my athletic career in college. My family comprises my dad, Alan, my mom, Michelle, my 17-year-old sister Bridget (a junior, and varsity field hockey player at Scotch Plains Fanwood high school), and my 13-year-old brother, Daniel (7th grade, and plays a ton of volleyball). My dad was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, which explains my freckles. 🙂
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I have been playing volleyball since I was about 8 years old, so for about 7 years now. We have a beach house in Dewey Beach, Delaware, so I have played out on the beach during the summers. I became inspired to play volleyball by my first ever volleyball coach, Jon Skolnick. I was a little kid and he encouraged me to pepper with him, and that’s how this whole journey started. Coach Jon is the one that instilled in me the love of the game of volleyball. Others who helped me really discover my love for volleyball were also in Delaware and included AVP pro Cam Rodrigues, and Olympic racquetball player Dan Llacera, and several other encouraging supporters in Delaware including Irv Rodriguez, Clint Bunting, Ben Proctor, Savannah and Ernie Siegrist, Joyce Bunting, Jim Barnes, and Shaun Quigley to name but a few. I am thankful for my family for driving me everywhere and encouraging me to play as hard as I can all the time.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I am still growing, but as of now I am 6’1”, 155lbs, and my approach vertical is 31 inches. In addition to SPF, I play with the Warren Six Pack 16-1s club team. I play outside hitter, which is an exciting position, but it is definitely my teammates energy that carries us to success. I love to play outside, but also really enjoy passing and digging. I think it’s good to be well-rounded to be able to help the team as much as possible.
Tell us about your Raider teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout players?
Our team really acts as a single unit, under the leadership of Coach Brock Hor. We have a good complement of skills, from passing, hitting, setting, and have representatives from Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior years on our team – we have a lot of depth and talent. Our obvious stand-out players are our seniors, Nathaniel Sta Rosa (opposite), Tony Ngumah (middle), and Dan Sicinski (defensive specialist). They all have a great impact on the team and are leaders both on and off the court. Nick Schmidt, Aidan Heifitz, Amir Johnson, Zach Chung, and Jeremy Zimmerman are also having a huge impact on this team. Nick, as our setter, is like the quarterback of our team, he runs the plays, and without him we would have a much less effective attacking offense.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state, especially for your class year. You have 58 kills, 74 digs and 32 aces in 12 games in your initial year. What do you hope to accomplish during your high school career?
I am extremely excited that I am rated as high as I am and get the opportunity to play at such a high level at this young age. Throughout my future high school career, I would love for our team to win a state championship. I would also love to reach the 500-kill milestone in my high school career, which would be a remarkable achievement. Overall, I just want to have fun, create good relationships with my teammates, and win while doing so.
SPF has had a truly amazing season thus far and the team sits atop the NJP rankings. What team do you feel will be your biggest challenge in the North 2 sectional playoffs?
It’s so exciting that SPF is having the season that we are having thus far. In my opinion our biggest challenge in the UCC is Union at the moment. Looking at a sectional standpoint, I think Kearny is our biggest competitor, they are having a particularly good season.
Tell us about your Warren Six Pack experience and your club accomplishments…
I play for a very well-known New Jersey club team, Warren Six Pack led by Fred Siegle. I am on the 16-1s coached by Niko Lambert. You might know some of the players on my club team: from SPF Nick Schimdt and Jeremy Zimmerman are on the team. Also on our team is Blake Krapf, Joe Pavlik, and Jacob Krol, as well as many other great players. I started playing with Warren Six Pack when I was 10; I played on the 14s team when Griffen Feiseler was the setter. I have had a great experience with Warren Six Pack so far, and it is helping me develop immensely. Hopefully, we can get a Nationals bid and go on to play some of the best teams in the nation.
It’s so uncommon for a freshman to come onto a team, especially in the top 20, and have a major impact. Why are you different?
I believe that there are several factors that have enabled me to have the impact that I am having so far:
· We have a great team, and great teams make all players better!
· I started playing volleyball when I was 8, so I am very comfortable on the court.
· I am a multi-sport athlete (soccer, basketball, and volleyball) which has made me well-rounded and has taught me the importance of teamwork.
· I get my athletic ability from my mom, who was an All-American basketball player, a 1,000-point scorer, and is a great all-round athlete (sorry, dad, but I get my smarts from you)
· I have been blessed with patient coaches from the start, who have gone above and beyond to teach me, guide me, encourage me, and, most importantly, have given me the confidence and poise I need on the court.
· And, quite simply, I love the game!
How are you and your family dealing with the current world situation with COVID-19?
The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone; from travel restrictions to medical challenges, inability to meet and socialize with friends, inability to travel to see our extended family in Ireland, virtual schooling, etc. Thankfully, we are all well and, just today, I got my first vaccine shot! I look forward to everyone returning to normal!
Tell us about the coaches that have positively influenced your volleyball career…
As mentioned above, there are several coaches that have influenced my volleyball career thus far. As my dad sometimes says, it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, there have been many coaches that support and led me, including Jon Skolnick, Cam Rodrigues, and Irv Rodrigues (Dewey Beach Sand Sharks), Fred Seigel and Niko Lambert (Warren Six Pack), and Brock Hor and Matt Ritter (SPF).
Who motivates you?
There are many people that motivate me, including my family and friends. To be specific, my mom and dad are always pushing me to be the best I can be in all different aspects of life (sports, academics, community service). My teammates also motivate me to be great, and I couldn’t imagine volleyball without them. Also, my beach volleyball coach Jon Skolnick motivates me very much, he was the one who taught me how to play volleyball, and I will never forget that. He has lots of great sayings, including “you have to pass to play”, or when the ball hits me in the face, he says “would you like a mani-pedi with that facial”! He’s funny!
What are your other hobbies or interests?
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, I love to cook. From an early age, I would watch my parents cook (mostly my dad) and learn from them – I cook a mean Italian meal for my family that they call “Timmy’s Special Sausage Dish”, which includes spicy sausage (obviously), chopped garlic, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, onions, and a mixture of herbs. I am currently taking “Intro to Foods” in school and love it. I worked as a chef in a breakfast restaurant last summer. I also love animals, particularly our miniature schnauzer, Lily, and perhaps will find a career in that sphere someday.
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?)
During the offseason of volleyball, I play basketball and soccer for SPF, as well as play beach volleyball in the summer. Last summer, I earned a bid to USAV Beach Nationals and this July, my beach volleyball partner, Jackson Herbert, and I will be going to play against other bid winners in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I also play AVP beach tournaments with my SPF teammate Nick Schmidt and my Dewey Beach Sandshark teammate Carson Barnes. My mom is also a Personal Trainer, so she keeps me in shape by doing workouts with me. I weight lift in school every other day to stay strong and in shape.
What else would you like us to know about you?
I am an avid NFL Football fan and (don’t shoot me) follow the Philadelphia Eagles (my mom is from Pennsylvania and all her family are Eagles fans, so I am following suit)! I also like to ski, play golf, surf, and fish