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Teams can't find a way to solve Kellenberg

Things have gone according to plan for 7-0 Kellenberg this season, even though the plan itself has changed almost daily.

Firebirds’ boys volleyball coach John Heitner said he’s been able to “open up the playbook,” this season, thanks to his team’s talent-stacked roster that so far has lived up to high preseason expectations.

“There was a lot of hype before the season, and we’re off to a fantastic start playing a high level of volleyball,” Heitner said. “We play teams in our league three times a year and then again in the playoffs so they’ll know our tendencies, so in practice we try to do something different each day that we’ve never done before.”

Heitner said he’s tried playing different players at new positions—like right-side hitter turned middle Connor Goss and back-row player turned middle Dan Gilroy—and has taken advantage of the versatility of his top players. Outside hitter Michael Fullop has learned to play consistently in the back row, while libero Phillip Beis played outside hitter in a 3-1 win over Chamiande last Wednesday, to help neutralize the Flyers’ big front line.

“I can do these things because we have the personnel to do it and they’re open to changes,” Heitner said. “You have to adapt to who you play… We put in two new sets today in practice for St. Anthony’s on Monday and [St. Francis Prep] on Wednesday. We want to leave guys scratching their heads.”

And defending Kellenberg has been equally confusing.

Fullop has been the Firebirds’ go-to hitter, but Goss and middle Bobby Kovalsky have also benefited from the consistency of setter Ryan Branigan and the attention Fullop receives from opposing defenses.  

“We’re unpredictable,” Heitner said. “Teams don’t know what to do to stop us.”