VASJ boys volleyball coach Rytas Petraitis doesn’t know his team’s overall record off the top of his head and he isn’t overly concerned with the numbers.
Petraitis is much more interested in the big picture – and that picture is one a bright future for the Vikings.
The 2017 team is led by standout senior Xavier Brown and fellow senior Terrell Johnson-Jones. However, the rest of the roster is comprised of a junior who is in his first year playing the sport, five sophomores and five freshmen.
Despite the youth, Petraitis has challenged his team by ramping up the schedule and playing top-level Division I competition.
“I wanted to make the schedule more difficult because I really believe that is how you get better. It is not by playing a lesser opponent several times and maybe winning an extra game, it is by challenging yourself,” Petraitis said.
“I am really excited about the freshman class and the class that came in last year. Those guys are only going to learn and get better and the more we get the word out to the elementary schools and lower levels the better we are going to be. I feel like in the near future this will be a program to deal with in the area and a very strong spring sport at the school.”
Petraitis praised Brown for his ability both on the floor and off the court as a leader.
“Xavier is our captain and he is just a very special person on and off the floor,” Petraitis said. “I let him do a lot of things in a leadership role, organizing the team and doing things that a senior with a ton of character can do to make a program better. If I had a Xavier Brown at every position on the floor we would challenge for a state title. He is that good and that important to our team.”
The Vikings have a road test at Brecksville-Broadview Heights on May 11 and an upcoming quad at Worthington Kilbourne to prep for the upcoming postseason.
Petraitis said the team has athleticism and speed and has been playing solid defense, but getting more consistent on offense is key to future success this year.