Michalski comes back to coach Voorheesville volleyball
The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael
Keeping his eye on the volleyball before hitting a serve is Voorheesville’s Kristian Singh on Monday during a match against Hudson. The Blackbirds won in straight sets (25-9, 25-20, and 25-11) to move to 6-2 on the season. Nick Windsor had six kills, two blocks, and one service ace.
VOORHEESVILLE — There’s a new coach for the Voorheesville boys’ volleyball team, but he’s no stranger.
Before graduating in 2006, the Michalski triplets — Adrian, Ian, and Austin — led the Blackbirds to two consecutive regional titles for volleyball. Now, Adrian Michalski is back to lead the team.
Since graduating from Voorheesville, Michalski kept his interest in the team, periodically checking in, and running a boot camp over winter break. Last fall, Michalski was an assistant coach for the Voorheesville girls’ volleyball team, which competed at States for the fourth straight year.
The Michalski triplets split up after graduating, studying and playing volleyball at three different colleges. Adrian Michalski graduated from Steven’s Tech in 2010, and then attended graduate school at the University of Albany. Currently, he’s a research analyst for the New York State Health Department, and plays volleyball for a men’s team in the area.
“We have some really good players,” Michalski said of the Voorheesville boys’ team, which beat Hudson in straight sets (25-9, 25-20, and 25-11) on Monday. “I think they’re passionate about it.”
When Michalski was an eighth-grader at Voorheesville, the volleyball team was cut from the budget. Determined to play for their freshman year, the Michalski triplets pushed for the reinstatement of the team. The Blackbirds were granted a trial of half a season for 2002-03, under the original coach, Tom Kurkjian, and the team went 4-2.
However, since the Michalski triplets graduated, Voorheesville has flown under the radar, never coming close to the achievements that the team had when the Michalskis played. After Monday’s win, the Birds’ record is 6-2.
“I didn’t want to see the team get cut again, so I came back to make sure it was alive,” Michalski said. “I want the kids to be trained properly. I don’t want to see it go away.”
Hudson is an opponent that Michalski never saw when he played for Voorheesville. This season, the Central Hudson Valley League combined with the Patroon Conference; some schools have switched leagues or dropped their teams over the years. Voorheesville was always in the CHVL.
Boys’ volleyball is split between two seasons — the larger schools play in the fall, and the smaller schools play in the winter. On the girls’ side, every team plays in the fall.
“The girls have been on a mission for 10 years,” Michalski said of Voorheesville. “With the guys, most are not as committed; a lot of them are soccer players first. But, they’re a fun group, and they’re getting better as the matches go along.”
If Voorheesville has a really important match, Michalski said, then the players will make sure to be focused on getting the win.
On Monday, Voorheesville had 16 service aces against Hudson, up from seven aces in the previous match against Greenville. The Blackbirds beat Greenville in straight sets (25-21, 25-17, 25-15), but the team had nine service errors.
Michalski told The Enterprise that his players may not see the small mistakes — free ball passing or service errors, for example — as important the way he does. “If a pass is bad, you’re pulled out of the system, and have a less aggressive attack,” he said. “As far as service errors, we’ve had our share.”
Defensively, Voorheesville is scrappy, making “awesome digs,” Michalski said, mentioning the athleticism of senior Kevin Clark, who has been keeping many rallies alive this season. On offense, the Birds have strong hitting from the likes of Nick Windsor, Dom Locciasano, and Schuyler King.
Devin Racey, a junior, had nine service aces for Voorheesville on Monday, including the game-winning ace.
“A lot of our opponents don’t have much in the middle,” said Michalski, “so that’s an advantage for us.”
Five Voorheesville girls’ volleyball players were busy scoring and flagging the match on Monday. Michalski says that the girls want to see the boys do well, and some of them even recruited players for his team.
“The girls’ team started their reign of power when we left, and they still have it,” Michalski said. “Back in the day, though, we ruled.”