This year’s varsity boys volleyball team is up against a difficult season, losing approximately 10 seniors from last year and entering the 2013 season as the defending Olympic Conference champions.
According to head coach Tom Armour, the team has five senior players, a few juniors and a few new faces on the team. But his expectations for the players are set high.
Armour said he expects the players to be Olympic Conference champion material.
He said Washington Township, Williamstown, Cinnaminson and Southern are going to be a challenge this season. Last year, the team’s record was 19–4.
After coaching boys and girls volleyball at Eastern for 19 years, Armour said every time the boys team goes down to play Southern, the team looks like they forgot how to play.
“Every time we play Southern, it’s always at the end of the season. We go down there and look like we forgot how to play,” he said jokingly.
He described Southern as Eastern’s nemesis. But at the end of the day, Armour said during this sport any team could beat another.
“Anytime in the American Division, with any of those teams, it’s tough competition. This game, on any given day, any team can beat another team no matter how good or bad they are,” Armour said when asked if Cherry Hill East stands as Vikings rivalry.
“I expect they are going to be better than last year,” he said, adding Cherry Hill East is going to play with a lot of emotion since the team’s head coach, Karl Moehlmann, is retiring. “They may all rise to the emotional occasion and play a lot better.”
As far as the Vikings’ team, Armour said one or two players are going to have to learn how to play more than one position.
“I want our offense to be pretty exciting,” he said.
New and younger players might pose a challenge on the Vikings’ side of the court.
Alex Neumann, senior defensive specialist and libero, said this season is going to be a little more difficult than the rest. Neumann has been playing on the team since he was a freshman. Although his first year was filled with learning new skills from the coach and upperclassmen, there are new varsity players coming up this year to help fill the spots of last year’s graduating seniors.
“There are a bunch of the younger kids on varsity. The junior varsity kids coming up are playing varsity for the first time. That’s going to be a challenge,” he said.
Narindra Peaks, a senior middle and outside, said the team would overcome any challenges if they keep their focus.
“The biggest thing is we lost 10 seniors last year when they graduated. This year our team for volleyball is small.
“When we play against other people, we are going to have to play really smart to beat their height,” Narindra said.
According to junior opposite Sunny Vaishnani, the tallest player on the team is 6 foot 3 inches.
“Our team doesn’t have that much height,” he said.
Armour said the team is going to face challenges both on the court and during practice. But he looks forward to every season.
“I get some really good kids. To work with them and see them excel, it’s exciting,” he said.