RANDOPHP, NJ- The Athletic Department of Randolph High School has added a new team to their sports program this year. After a group of students and parents gathered enough interest and commitments for boys Volleyball, they petitioned the idea to the school and received approval to start play on the “club / JV” level.
Twenty-four boys, spanning grades 9-12, started practice in early March, and make up the first ever Randolph Boys Volleyball Team.
“I would first like to say that if there was one word I would describe these kids as, it would be ‘determined’,” said Coach Erik Novack. “Since day one, they have been asking inquisitive questions and constantly trying to make themselves better.”
Part of the challenge for coach Novak is the lack of real volleyball experience on his team (outside of playing for fun in gym class) while the other big challenge is that the boys come from all four grades and all different sports themselves.
“Working with these guys so far has been very new and unique, because most have never played before, and many of them didn’t know each other prior to the start of this club,” said Novack. “It seems that this club has really been the staple in the friendships that are being made. It is because they all love and enjoy this sport that they are all super supportive and encouraging towards each other.”
The team will compete on the JV level for this season, and depending on how things progress they hope to build the program and move up to a Varsity level either next year or sometime in the near future.
“There is, without a doubt, a big learning curve for them,“ said Novack. “I had to start from the very bottom and work my way up, but I am happy to say that we are only a few practices and two games in, and the improvement is already evident.”
The boys played their first ever match on Wednesday Apr. 10 at home against Ridge. After a nervous start saw them fall into a 13-1 deficit in the first game, the boys rallied and traded point for point before eventually falling 25-11 in the first game. In game two, feeling more confident about their play, Randolph put in a stronger effort, but lost 25-17, losing the match 2-0.
“I was very proud of them in that first match, and even though we did not win, I was happy with how they held themselves throughout the entire game,” said Novack. “They were organized and gave it their all every point. I told them after that they should be proud and that we are only going to get better from here.”
And get better they did, as their second match against Jefferson was even closer. While they lost the match 2-0, both games were close, as the Falcons took a 25-19 win in both.
Novack is a physical Education and Health teacher at RHS who is no stranger to coaching or playing high-level sports. Most recently, Novak coached the RHS freshman boys’ basketball team and was a volunteer coach for RHS girls’ varsity soccer. While in college, Novack played Division 1 Soccer and intramural volleyball.
“I always wished that when I was in High School there was a men’s volleyball team,” said Novack. “So once I saw the opportunity to help grow the idea here at Randolph High School, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.”
The Randolph boys volleyball team play their next home game on May 1, at 4 PM against Vernon.