Co-Captain Kalter ’07 and Schwartz ’07 Star; Many Players Will Play New Positions this Year

Following last year’s disappointing season, the Andover Boys Volleyball team is hungry for a more successful season. After graduating only five seniors last year, the Big Blue will depend on eight returning players including four returning starters to carry the team. The team is taking a fresh start from last year by shifting key players to positions more beneficial to the team. Co-Captains Alex Schwartz ’07 and Howie Kalter ’07 hope to once again dominate the court with their height, athleticism, and skill. Co-Captain Schwartz, who is moving from outside hitter to middle hitter, intends to bring his volleyball knowledge and experience to his new position to help generate more blocks and kills for the team. Co-Captain Kalter is making the move from weak side hitter to setter. His improved setting ability will help run a more successful offensive for the Blue. He will be responsibly placing the ball where Andover hitters can strike back. Ekow Essel ’07 and James McGuinness ’08 join the two captains as the other returning starters. McGuiness, who is also changing his position, is making the move from libero to outsider hitter. Joining him at outside hitter is Jonathan Lee ’07. The outsides this year will focus primarily on defense, including using their quickness to make more successful passes to the setter. Essel brings his height to the middle to stop the other team’s offense cold. Although often expected as a defensive player, Essel can execute smart plays in order to get kills. Returning letterman Peter Yao ’07 is stepping up to a key role as setter for the Andover offense. After an active off-season playing club volleyball, Yao aims to improve his play from last year and run the offense along with fellow setter Co-Captain Kalter. Completing the starting line up, Wesley Mui ’06 is playing the back row as the libero. Along with the returning players, there are a few new faces making appearances on the court. Co-Captain Schwartz says, “The new players add depth to the team adding height and athletic ability.” The new players to join the team are Andrew Park ’06, Jeff Bakkensen ’06, Ahmet Tanner ’07 and Jason Zhu ’07. The main difference with this year’s squad and last year’s is the added height and athletic ability both the returners and newcomers bring to the team. This year, the Blue boasts a hard-hitting offense backed by relentless spikes from the front and back row. Co-Captain Schwartz said, “Every one on the team can score from every position. The problem will be getting them the ball on defense in order to make the plays on offense. After our disappointing finish in the final tournament last year, the team is thirsty for a more successful finish.” Defense has been a perennial problem for Andover. Starting early in the season, they will focus on improving defense with drills designed to make players used to digging the ball in different situations. The Blue’s overpowering offense will be maintained throughout the season with daily hitting drills. Co-Captain Kalter says, “Every one in the team is willing to put 110 percent on the court because we don’t want a repeat of last year.” Co-Captain Schwartz adds, “We really plan to wow the crowd this year and hope to advance further in the post season.”