Captain’s Corner: Kevin Hazan, Andrew Kerr, and Zach Jimenez

Aaron Bosgang, Staff Writer

Aaron Bosgang: I’m sitting here with the three self-proclaimed “most handsome men in all of Schreiber High School”: seniors Zach Jimenez, Andrew Kerr, and Kevin Hazan.  Not only are they visually stunning, but these young gentlemen are also the captains of the boys volleyball team.  The first question I have for you guys has to do with the team’s goals.  What do you have in store for this season and how does this compare to previous seasons?

Andrew Kerr: We lost a lot of talent coming into this season, so we didn’t know what to expect.  With only two returning starters, the rest of the team had little to no court experience at the varsity level.  Our first few games were rough, but to me the goal to win the county championship is still possible.

Kevin Hazan: We had the talent, just no experience.  Since our game against Farmingdale, things have turned in our favor.  I expect to go deep into the playoffs and give everyone a run for their money when it comes to the county championship.

Zach Jimenez: Yeah, they both hit the money.  What makes everything possible is the team’s motivation.  I knew we would get better because everyone gives one hundred percent.

AB: That’s great to hear!  Staying on track with the rough transition, what do you think inspired people to step up their game? Any specific moments?

ZJ: It was a lack of team chemistry.  When we won our first game, we saw the difference that not a physical, but an emotional connection can have on the results.

AK: Only four people were on the team when we won counties last year.  While those people know what it’s like to be the best, it’s up to the younger athletes to have a more productive and forward-thinking mentality.

KH: Our turning point came when we lost to Massapequa.  We knew we would beat them, but we couldn’t finish the game even though we had the lead.  Because we saw the opportunity to improve, we went after it.

AB: Awesome!  How do you guys as captains communicate the sort of passion that is needed to finish out on top?

AK: By screaming in their faces.

ZJ: I was about to say that.  Kerr is good at getting our players pumped up.  It may be scary at first, but the aggressive attitude is what this team needs more than anything else.

AK: Sometimes we have to be hard on them; it’s not supposed to be easy.  We want everyone reaching their maximum potential, and some athletes need an extra push.

KH: We won counties with communication and the mindset of keeping the ball off the ground.  Yelling at one another ensures that people are doing their job to the best of their ability.  We don’t want to settle for anything less than one hundred percent.

AB: While I can see why yelling is effective, I prefer to settle my issues over a cup of tea.  In my experience, presenting your feelings in a controlled manner is always successful.  Anyway, what else do you guys do differently?

KH: Zach and I try to reinforce and translate Kerr’s yelling into constructive criticism.  We try to point out what’s wrong and how to solve the problem at hand.

AB: Perfect. So what sort of stuff are you trying to fix at practice right now?

AK: Transitioning on the court, along with communication, is a big focus.  Otherwise, we want to work on our weaknesses, like blocking.

KH: We are working primarily on defense. Blocking is a big part of the game and sometimes we fall short. Additionally we work on transitioning from defense to offense so we can have a strong attack.

ZJ: We are certainly working on transition but also overall energy.  Some kids are more lethargic than others, and that can kill the whole practice.  We want to be consistent.

AB: It sounds like you guys are making good progress.   How do you guys want to be seen as captains?  Are there any captains you looked up to in the past who inspired you?

AK: Kwan Park was the man.

KH: Kwan was a great leader two years ago.  He communicated well and relayed what our coaches said to us.  He was always willing to step aside and help us and clear any confusion.  I want to be viewed as someone who is approachable whenever there’s a question or clarification is needed.

ZJ: I want to be looked at as a fun player.  I think having fun can have a huge impact on performance.  Our teammates will enjoy trying their hardest if they enjoy themselves.  I look up to Steven Lopez because he did this so well.  He was a great leader, person, teammate, and player.

AB: Best of luck to you and the rest of the team this season.