By Roberto Miranda –
The New Jersey City University Men’s Volleyball team has nothing but competence written all over it. The Gothic Knights, who stand at a fair record of 12 wins and 14 losses, are composed of both a team with a roster of rising stars as well as a highly motivated staff.
“This roster is one of the more talented rosters we’ve had since 2006-2007.” Says Ira Thor, NJCU’s Director of Sports Information.
Key players such as star freshman Besmir Arslani, 19, Health Sciences, from Wayne, Justin Beaumont, 24, Criminal Justice, from Bayonne, and Kenny Lisk, 21, Chemistry and Secondary Education, from Old Bridge, have been pushing themselves to the limit in terms of their statistics on the court, as well as their overall team leadership off the court.
Arslani, known by his teammates as “Bez” has done nothing short but lead the way for the team as of late. He was named the Skyline Conference Rookie of the Week four out of the past five weeks and has made the Skyline Conference Honor Roll as of February 16th, 2012.
“Bez brings the fire, the heat, the winning attitude to this team,” said head coach Kevin Rodgers.
As for Beaumont, the setter was named the Skyline Conference Player of the Week for the first time as of February 20th, 2012 and just like Arslani, also made the Skyline Conference Honor Roll as of February 27th, 2012. Beaumont also became the first Gothic Knight in five years to achieve a triple double in a game on February 21st, in a game against Rutgers with 28 assists, 14 kills, and 10 digs.
Lisk has hopes for himself and the team before his graduation.
“The main goal for our team is to win [the Skyline conference], which would get us a bid to the first NCAA Division III championship,” he said.
Lisk is also closer to achieving 1,000 kills as a Gothic Knight. If so, he would be the sixth Gothic Knight to ever do so. With milestone statistics in reach, Lisk is committed to ending his days at NJCU in an admirable manner.
“I’m extremely thankful for my 4 years playing here, and all the teammates and friendships I have made, as they have definitely shaped the person I am today, and the person that I will be in the future,” he said.
Despite the impressive statistics, the Gothic Knights are 2 games below .500 due to very close losses.
“Our plan to improve our chances of winning comes down to the way we happen to close the end of these matches,” said Thor. “A boost to our mental game should make the difference in terms of closing out these important games.”
The Gothic Knights must be motivated to turn things around over the course of the next month. April is the final month of the season and they have 3 conference games left.
Preparation for this crucial month is a must.
“The goal is to be the best you can, and the only way to do so is to learn how to play and ultimately win against those teams that are equal to or above your own accomplishment level,” said Thor.