Peter Munn ’18 began playing volleyball in seventh grade when he moved to Salvador, Brazil. There, he established and discovered a passion for the game. Munn initially joined the JV program in his Junior year and most of his Lower year before being brought up to Andover Volleyball at the end of his Lower year. He has since been a member of the Varsity team and proven himself to be a key member of the squad. His hard work and dedication on the court have earned him the accolade of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
How and why did you begin playing volleyball and what experience did you have before coming to Andover?
I moved around often as a kid, and attended mostly small schools until the seventh grade, when I moved to Salvador, a beautiful coastal city in Brazil. I had never played a sport before, so I tried soccer, volleyball, and basketball, only to find that I was much better at volleyball than any other sport. My Peruvian side of the family played a lot of volleyball growing up, and since volleyball was equally big in Brazil, I really made an effort to improve. Unfortunately, my eighth grade school in Baltimore did not offer the sport, and as a result I was very happy to see that Andover offered it.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Before every game, we gather in the locker room and sing the chant from the “Wolf of Wall Street,” in which we thump our chests rhythmically. At the end of the sequence, we lift up whoever we think thumped the loudest, and we chant “He’s the wolf. He’s the wolf. Yes he is.” This ritual is unique to our team, and was created by Captain “Vasco da Gama” Dick Zhong ’17, a player and renowned sailboat captain from last year.
What positions have you played at Andover and before? What do you play now? Which is your favorite and why?
In Brazil, we were young enough that we didn’t have any real positions, so we just kind of played all around. On JV, I started out as a back-row player, but found out that I really like to hit. I trained to play outside hitter for two years, and surprisingly I was able to accomplish this. I currently play outside hitter on Varsity, and it’s by far my favorite position, because there’s no better feeling than soaring up for the ball and smashing it down into the other side’s setter, who could be considered the “jewel” of the team. In opposing teams’ locker rooms, I always hear talk about “the jewel,” so I’m pretty sure everyone really values their setter.
How would you describe the team atmosphere and what is your favorite aspect about it?
The team is full of “athletes,” with the exception of Neil “Patrick-Harris-Armstrong” Simpson, and as a result, we pride ourselves on our spirit on and off the court. We’re extremely cohesive, in fact, when the Captains aren’t listening, we refer to them as Isaac “3M-Wood-Glue” Blackburn-Johnson and Evan “Wood” Park, and we joke that they go together like paper and glue, or wood and wood glue.
Who have been some of your key influences in volleyball both at and outside of Andover?
One of my uncles is the Peruvian beach volleyball champion from many years past, but he hasn’t really influenced me, I just think it’s kind of cool. At Andover, Coach [Victor] Svec really inspired me to play my heart out, much like [Head] Coach [Clyfe] Beckwith and Coach Svec (the younger one) do now. Both Svecs have been great mentors to me, and I currently aspire to crush the ball like Mr. Svec once did in his prime.
What are your personal and team goals for your last volleyball season at Andover?
Personally, I want to hit an absolute bounce against [Phillips] Exeter [Academy], meaning a spike that lands pretty shallow on their court and bounces nearly straight up. This year, we are posed to take the tournament, as the only team that has beaten us is Exeter, yet we came pretty close to beating them in our most recent game against them, in which I was still out from an ankle injury due to a pogo stick/ skimboarding accident in Peru over Spring Break. A widespread goal of the team is to win a set by flapjack, a move in which you lay out your hand like a hot cake as a last-ditched effort to keep the ball in play. Rawit “Griddle-Cake” Assamongkol [’18] is known as the Denny’s chef of the team, because he routinely serves up Sunday-morning breakfast.
What has Andover volleyball taught you and what are you going to miss most about it?
It’s taught me that a lot of what we do is mental, far more than we would think. Volleyball is an extremely mental sport, although it might not appear as such from an outsider perspective. I’m most going to miss our bus rides, especially the Saturday afternoon, still-in-a-victory haze rides in which we play team games of ghost, contact, mafia, and Jenga.