Jack Schultz wasn’t quite sure why York Suburban volleyball coach Jamie Evans pointed to him as a player deserving of recognition.
That reluctance to talk about himself is exactly what Evans likes about the junior middle blocker.
“He leads by example,” Evans said. “This year I asked opinions individually, and asked, ‘Who on the team do you feel is a leader?' He got an anonymous and unanimous vote. That just speaks volumes that seven seniors picked a junior as someone to emulate.
“He works hard. He has a good temperament, he’s competitive. He’s a great student-athlete in the classroom, I think they respect him and follow him.”
For Schultz, it’s a matter of exceeding in his role. At 6-foot-4, he provides a big block on the Trojans’ defense. He’s also one of many options the team has on offense.
“We have a great outside hitter in Sepehr Vakilli and a great opposite in Zach Weinstein,” he said. “When we are able to make teams think about who is going to get the ball and everybody is a threat, it gives us good opportunities.”
On Tuesday, Schultz led the Trojans with nine kills and Vakilli had seven in a 25-15, 25-12, 25-9 sweep of Kennard-Dale. Setter Caleb Ansell moved the ball around for 24 assists in that match, with several others reaching the stat sheet.
That balance has been instrumental for Suburban this season. In fact, it reminds Evans of his team from a few seasons ago — except this year’s version might hold a key edge.
“We have all the positions covered. There’s no one standout,” the coach said. “The one thing that is not the same is we have a bench that will go in.
“Being able to practice against each other in a game situation, we didn’t have that four years ago. We had to do very creative drills to get any level of competition. Now I’ve these guys that battle hard at practice, which helps us prepare.”
The results have been good so far. The Trojans are off to a 2-0 start and moved up to No. 3 in the state Class AA rankings. One of their victories came against perennial power Central York last week — a first for Schultz.
“It was the first time I really saw our team come together,” Schultz said. “Not only did we beat Central, one of the true powerhouses, it was a good team win. It was really exciting.”
Suburban has also displayed resiliency this season. Last weekend after a slip up early at the Bobcat Invitational, the Trojans came back to win the silver bracket in a field filled with the top teams in the state. They beat state-ranked teams Holy Redeemer and Ambridge along the way.
“We lost some tough matches over the weekend and came back to win the silver bracket. We never gave up and worked hard,” Schultz said.
Evans added that a slow start last season may be spurring the team on this year.
“They are hungry,” Evans said of his players. “To start 0-2 last year, that taste hasn’t gone away, that memory hasn’t gone away, so it’s kind of been a year of redemption. This has been a validation of their hard work and to use that motivation to keep moving forward.”
Suburban will face a massive test next week when it travels to Northeastern to face the three-time defending PIAA champ that once again sits atop the state rankings.
Tuesday: at Red Lion, 7:30 p.m. Note: You can watch this match live at GameTimePA.com.
Wednesday: at Palmyra, 7 p.m.
Thursday: at Northeastern, 7:15 p.m.