Men’s volleyball enters season with sharp skills and high hopes

The Ramapo College men’s volleyball team began its season opening at 2-3 under first-year head coach Maritza Melendez. They returned a strong group that won the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament last year and have their eyes set on the Skyline Championship this year, which would advance them to the Division III NCAA Championship for the first time.

They are led by graduate captains Conor Charlow and Andrew Finnegan. The former is a two-time Skyline First-Team All-Conference, two-time New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) First-Team All-Conference and one-time NJAC honorable mention All-Conference. The latter is a one-time Skyline All-Conference, one-time NJAC All-Conference and one-time ECAC All-Tournament team. They are also led by co-captain setter JoJo Meyer.

Other vital starters are senior middle blocker Jack DiGirolamo, opposite Sean Nieves, junior outside hitter Reece Kirchofer and freshman libero Mauricio Catalan.

Meyer said the most important thing is that “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

They opened the season at No. 15 ranked Rutgers-Newark, losing 0-3 with the sets being 11-25, 25-27, 22-25. Ramapo’s leaders in the game were Charlow with eight kills, Meyer with 17 assists and Kirchofer with six digs.

They then played Wisconsin Lutheran College and SUNY Potsdam at home in winning efforts. Against Wisconsin Lutheran, they won 3-0, with the sets being 25-13, 25-12 and 25-20. In the game against SUNY Potsdam, they won 3-1, with the sets being 25-22, 25-23, 17-25 and 25-22. In these two games, they were led by Finnegan with 39 kills, DiGirolamo with 10 blocks, Meyer with 76 assists and Catalan with 27 digs.

This past weekend they played No. 1 ranked Stevens Institute of Technology and No. 4 Springfield College losing both matches. Against Springfield, they lost 0-3, with the sets being 10-25, 17-25 and 22-25. Against Stevens, they lost 0-3, with the sets being 21-25, 18-25 and 19-25. In these two games, Finnegan led them with 22 kills, Meyer with 47 assists and Catalan with 23 digs.

Altogether this season, the stat line leaders are Finnegan with 65 kills, Meyer with 141 assists, Catalan with 50 digs, DiGirolamo with 13 blocks and Charlow with five service aces.

Also, this year Catalan has one NJAC Rookie of the Week and one Skyline Libero of the Week, and Finnegan has one NJAC player of the week and one Skyline Player of the Week.

The Roadrunners return to action on Saturday, Feb. 4 at home vs. No. 13 ranked New York University at 1 p.m. and Arcadia University at 3:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics