Evan Park ’18 uses his physical presence, motivational abilities, and lifelong experience to help propel Andover Boys Volleyball to success as Co-Captain. On the team, Park plays as a setter, a position that helps to prepare his teammates to make hits over the net.
Park’s interest in volleyball was sparked when he was just two years old.
“One day, when I was two, I was sitting in the park, looking at dinosaur books. Suddenly, a volleyball rolled past me, and I dropped the book to pick up the ball. When I felt the ball across my fingertips, I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And besides, I had already memorized the names of 200 different dinosaurs, so I was needing a new challenge,” he said.
According to his teammates, Park’s physical presence allows him to dominate on the court.
“He just towers over everyone and intimidates the competition. As we saw earlier in the season, his largeness can be tough on his ankles at times, but he battles through the misery,” wrote Neil Simpson ’19 in an email to The Phillipian.
Park also looks up to past teammate Richard “Dick” Zhong ’17, and has mastered a range of new skills since his Junior year.
Rawit Assamongkol ’18 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Evan works hard. He takes strongly after our captain from last year, Dick Zhong. He continues Dick’s spirit of fun and intensity.”
Assamongkol continued, “I’ve played on the team with Evan for four years, now, and I’ve seen him grow as a player – a little over theee inches. His skills have continued to improve: he’s now able to set everything from spieks (quick spikes), to spokes (slow spikes). As a player, it is my honor to work under, or rather above, due to my height, Evan’s captainship. He is the spirit of the team, and I have greatly relished in these four years with him.”
Simpson added, “Evan leads by example and is an overall great guy. He’s one of those people who you relish spending time with and hope to ketchup with later in life.”
According to Briggs, Park’s control of the ball as a setter is a major factor in his role on the team, allowing his teammates to hit the ball more accurately.
Clayson Briggs ’19 wrote, “When Evan goes up to block a hit, his fingers extend just high enough above the net so that the spik (a quick hit) from the other team brushes against the tips of his fingers, slowing the ball down just enough enough for our defenders to get to the ball before it hits the floor. […] I play hitter, which means Evan decides which balls come to me. In other words, Evan determines the potential “fatness” of particular balls, and depending on that measure of fatness, he passes me or another hitter the ball. In this regard, he is probably the best player in the league.”
Park said, “I like this position because I can get all of my fingers touching the ball at the same time. When I can’t get all ten fingers on the ball, I get frustrated, but in regards to getting most of your fingers on the ball at a given time, setter is still the best position.”
Park continued, “my strength as a player has to be my finger strength.”
Park also aims to foster family-like atmosphere on the team.
Briggs wrote, “Evan welcomes each and every one of us like a member to his own, extended family. I would liken practice everyday to a Thanksgiving dinner, but without a racist uncle.”
Briggs continued, “He boosts team morale by giving us each a unique nickname, such as my own, Clay “Clay Clayson” Clayson [sic], and others, like Peter “Fat Stacks” Munn and Benjamin “Quick Spik” Meyer.
Parks described his own aim to help mentally prepare the team for the rest of the season.
Park said, “My goal this season is to rally the troops. I have to get my players battle-ready. I don’t know what fighting a war is like, but I have seen Platoon.”
This Saturday, Park will lead Volleyball in a home game against Choate.