The Spring 2013 edition of the Wootton Patriot volleyball team features a roster of nine veterans and six newcomers. A solid nucleus of veteran players are expected to lead the Patriots during a competitive regular season with the goal toward making a successful playoff run. A promising group of newcomers will benefit from training with the veterans and gain the experience needed to compete with a growing number of well-coached and competitive MCPS boys volleyball programs.
All-County setter and fourth year senior Justin Fowler returns to direct the Patriot offense for the third year. Justin brings his considerable volleyball experience, work ethic and competitiveness to a team that has benefited from his leadership skills in early season training sessions. Justin's skills as Wootton's "quarterback" were recognized by county coaches last year who collectively honored Justin as one of the two top vote-getters for the All-County team.
All-County outside hitter and fourth year senior Jeffrey Qiu follows a tradition of hard-hitting Wootton outside hitters and is expected to make major contributions on the left side. Qiu has the flexibility to play several positions and has shown considerable improvement in digging and serving during the past three years, and is a multi-dimensional threat for the Patriots. Expect Qiu to be a leader on the court this year.
Fourth year senior Henry Zhou is a big leaper with a quick swing that adds dimension and depth to Wootton's offense. Zhou played very well at critical moments last year and should be a steadying influence on the court this year. Zhou is an excellent, experienced all-around player and should not be underestimated by any opponent.
Third year senior Charles Wang has emerged as a top middle hitter in the county and, after a few years of hard work in the gym, is a considerable force for the Patriots on offense and defense. Wang has improved his passing and defensive skills to become a formidable player on this year's team.
All-County third year junior Paul Malinauskas is a top all-around player for the Patriots, playing setter, outside hitter, middle and also a primary passer as needed. Malinauskas hits hard, and his veteran instincts make him an effective attacker from anywhere on the court. He will also see action as a setter. Expect opponents to focus on stopping Malinauskas. Expect Malinauskas to respond in a veteran way.
Third year junior utility player Cary Chin gives Wootton the flexibility to apply his skills where needed at any time. Chin sees action on the court as a secondary setter, defensive specialist, serving specialist and outside hitter. His skills make him valuable in the training gym, but expect Chin to see more court time as the season gets underway.
Third year junior Benjamin Wang was Wootton's top libero last season, and he returns as a stronger and more effective hitter not only in the front row, but also the back row. With his aggressive back row play and steady passing, Wang will be on the court more often than he is off.
Second year sophomore Richard Hum has the athletic ability to train at any position and, after learning Wootton's system as a freshman, is poised to make major contributions for the Patriots this season. His quickness, leaping ability, work ethic and competitive spirit swill pay dividends for Hum and his teammates.
Second year sophomore Mark Pang has worked hard during the off-season and has made dramatic improvements as an outside hitter and defensive player. Following in the footsteps of his older brothers (former Wootton players), Pang is ready to make a name for himself this season. Pang is challenging for court time as a left side hitter.
Senior Aaron Krotman was a wide receiver on Wootton's football team, and his athletic ability and desire to compete were clearly apparent during tryouts. Though learning the sport and Wootton's system for the first time, Krotman has shown a unique ability to not only learn technique but also to apply it on the court quickly. If early season training progress is any indication, Krotman will drive Wootton's will to compete this year.
Sophomores Ethan Frymark and Adam Kaplan bring size and athletic ability to team. Frymark is expected to train as a middle blocker while Kaplan (fresh off the ice hockey team) will train in both the middle and outside positions. The future is looking bright as they polish their volleyball skills.
Freshmen Aleksander Psorek, Henry Shu and Justin Wu are learning Wootton's system and have shown moments of brilliance in one or more aspects in early season workouts. The freshmen trio will be working hard to solidify their ball-handling skills and are expected to benefit from training with a group of veteran players.