Martha, Kaback team up to bring new era of boys’ volleyball

Zachary Marmet, Staff Writer

As the excitement from Power Puff football dies down, junior boys have decided to bring back that same idea in a new way with the creation of the Blake Boys’ Volleyball team. Boys’ volleyball is new to Blake, but that doesn’t stop founder and captain Alex Martha ’19 and coach Steve Kaback from having high hopes for the team.

Martha is working on the team’s logistics, which is proving difficult. He says, “I have to organize tournaments and teams to play against all by myself since boys’ volleyball isn’t a sport in the MSHSL right now. There are club teams and tournaments in Minneapolis, so we have teams to play against, but none are school-affiliated.”

Another potential roadblock for Martha is the interest of players. “It’s difficult to convince people to stop playing their spring sports and start playing volleyball, so hopefully if it’s less of a commitment more people will go out for the team,” he says, while plotting the infrequent practice dates.

Aodhtan Gross ‘19, prospective player, shares his optimism about the coming season. He says,  “I think if we can actually get the team off the ground and take practices seriously and go to tournaments that would be great. From what I can tell, we’re a group that really wants to compete, but we’re all pretty inexperienced, so there will for sure be some fun too.”

Kaback shares Gross’s optimism about the team, saying, “When I first started at Blake I was hoping we would get a boys’ volleyball team. When you crush a ball into the opponent’s court, it’s like hitting a home run, or catching a touchdown pass, or hitting a 3-pointer in basketball. You know, all the same kind of awesome.” Although Kaback has some doubt about the team’s immediate success, he believes that after a few years the team has the potential to develop into a real competitor.

Kaback sees the team as an opportunity to spread volleyball not only around the school, but around the state as well. He says, “Do you know where girls’ lacrosse started in Minnesota? You’re sitting in the school where it started. Deb Wood, a biology teacher here, started girls’ lacrosse and was incredibly energetic in getting the sport going. Now it’s one of the major sports in the state and girls are getting recruited all over. Anyway, I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to get boys’ volleyball to be an MSHSL sport. We just need to get some boys playing.” Martha seconds this, saying, “I think the legacy of this team has a huge amount of potential.”