Glad he made the leap
F OXBOROUGH — It seemed all eyes were on the ball as it barely cleared the net.
Almost effortlessly, Drew Jordan soared into the air with his lean 6-foot-2 frame, his right arm extended, palm prepping for a spike. The ball slammed the court on the other side of the net in seconds, registering another point for the Southeast men’s volleyball team.
Arms out in celebration and smiling from ear to ear, Jordan slapped hands with his Southeast teammates at the Mass. Premier Courts Saturday morning in the Bay State Summer Games competition.
The game has come naturally for Jordan since he first suited up as a freshman at Braintree High.
In the fall of his sophomore year, he also began playing with the Yankee Volleyball Association, which fields club teams throughout the state, mostly for college-age players and older. Jordan also formed his own team with his high school teammates to play in a league run by the Beantown Volleyball Club, a nonprofit organization built to teach and improve already talented middle-school and high-school-level volleyball players. That team was organized solely by students, with no coach.
For Jordan then, playing his first year in the Open Division of the Bay State Games on a squad with no coach was no sweat. He had played the last two years on the Southeast boys’ scholastic team.
“There’s such a high level of difference in play just because it’s maybe two or three years of volleyball as compared to maybe eight or 10, with some of the older guys in this league,” said Jordan, who had terrific senior season this past spring at Braintree High.
“It’s clearly more competitive and it really takes a special brand of athlete to play at that high level at such a young age.”
The Southeast Open players organized their own practices and chose Ryan Jamieas their unofficial captain to choose lineups and work out other details, from workout times to areas of focus for drills. The squad reached the bronze medal game before falling to Northeast, 25-22 and 25-19.
Raf Kosakowski, the captain of the Braintree High varsity when Jordan was a freshman, also played for the Southeast Open team.
“He was the one who really got me into the sport,” said Jordan. “He actually had English class right after me one day and he saw me in the hallway and said ‘Hey, do you want to play in that fall ball thing?’ that he organized my freshman year. I said ‘Sure, why not? I'll show up and play.’ I had a great time that first Sunday and it just kind of stuck with me.’’
Jordan was originally planning on trying out for the baseball team as a freshman, but after playing in the fall with the Beantown Volleyball club, he decided he wanted to continue with volleyball.
“I never really thought of giving up baseball until I played organized volleyball for the first time,” he said. “A lot of people don’t understand that. You kind of have to play in an organized league to understand how fun it really is.’’
This fall, Jordan is headed to Emmanuel, where he will play collegiately. And Kosakowski, a student at Boston University who plays club volleyball, sees bright potential.
“I think Drew’s going to do really well in college, especially playing every day, getting to have a really good coach. I think he’s going to go far,’’ said Kosakowski.
He chose Emmanuel over Rivier. Jordan will continue to play in the Yankee league while preparing for the spring season with the Saints.
“Emmanuel was the better school, not only for me academically, but socially and athletically,’’ said Jordan, who wanted to stay in the area.
By the end of his final season at Braintree, Jordan had broken 11 program records, some of his own, and some belonging to Kosakowski.
“It kind of felt good to break some of his records and for two years, I actually broke my own records,” said Jordan. “I set the kill record two years in a row with 202 and then 318, so that was a little bit of a jump.’’
The Southeast scholastic girls’ basketball team capped a 5-1 run through the Games with a 74-60 win over Metro in the gold medal game on Sunday. University of Massachusetts-Boston bound forward Olivia Murphy paced four double figure scorers with 18 points, Stoughton’s Cheryl Holland (University of New Hampshire) netted 15 (8 in the fourth quarter), Kristin Fechtelkotter of Medfield had 13 and Katie Lowerre of Sharon had 12. Southeast advanced to the gold medal game with a 77-48 conquest of West, with Murphy (15), Fechtelkotter (14), and Lowerre (13) leading the way.
“The kids played very, very well and really performed terrific, had a great time,” said Southeast coach John DePasquale, who coached the varsity girls’ program at Ursuline Academy in Dedham for 12 seasons. “It was a great group. I enjoyed coaching them quite a bit.” He was assisted by Mike Trotta.
Lowerre scored a team-high 18 points in the team’s only loss, a 72-70 setback to Northeast in the opener, and then poured in 21 more in a win over Central. Holland had 15 points in a 79-61 win over Coastal.
Coryn Doncaster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.