Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

High Schools

September 11, 2012

Young Lions off & spiking

Joe Whalen returns as head coach, open season today

LOCKPORT —  

With a victory at the North Tonawanda Tournament last weekend and the Clarence Tournament the week before, the Lockport boys varsity volleyball team is already turning a lot of heads.

Head coach Joe Whalen's defending Niagara Frontier League co-champion Lions (tied with Grand Island) open their 2012 Niagara Frontier League season at 5 p.m. today hosting Kenmore East.

Whalen's roster features not only 10 outstanding junior prospects and two sophomores, but most significantly, no seniors.

Despite their youth, losing seven senior starters to graduation, the Lions have already impressed teams and coaches throughout the area with two winning non-league tourney performances.

“We turned a lot of heads in the ECIC with our (Silver Pool) win at the Clarence tournament and we probably turned a lot of heads in the NFL with our win over the weekend at NT,” Whalen said.

“We didn't lose a match. Even though we don't have any seniors, we've got kids who are playing positions they're used to and all the kids are picking up the system real fast.”

Lockport finished 11-1 in the NFL and 13-3 overall last year.

Key losses to graduation include Nate Schneider, D'Antre Cullens, Ryan Giles and Nick DiMartile.

Among the key returners are juniors Jack Whalen, a setter, and Eamon Yates, libero. Both are three-year varsity starters. Another returning third-year player is outside hitter Bryce Perry.

Among the sophomores on the roster this year are two players who have plenty of club experience, Brad Schneider and Jason Donorovich, both of whom have older siblings who were standout players in the LHS boys and girls volleyball program.

Rounding out the LHS roster are juniors Ryan Guyton, Joel Larson, Shawn Moore, Jonah Ribbeck, John Traversone, Bryan Wojcinski and Jeff Wojcinski.

”We're not as tall, maybe, as some of the other teams, but we're big in the middle,” coach Whalen said.

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