Men’s Volleyball: the return of spring sports


Jack Delaney '21

“Erik Keldsen ‘21 warms up for the new volleyball season during tryouts.”

Gage McElroy, Staff Writer

It’s finally spring, which welcomes the 2021 season of spring sports. HB has many clubs and teams to offer, but a team in the spotlight is the men’s volleyball team led by sibling coaches Ed Leonard and Becky Balfour among leadership from various experienced athletes such as Max Marshall ‘21, Matt Kelley ‘21, and Liam Troddyn ‘21.

The program has been around HB since 2011 on and off, and has created new sports opportunities for males interested in the female-dominated sport. Coach Becky Balfour has been a coach for the girl’s teams and led teams to the top 20 for the past 14 years straight.

“Since we have both genders, we have a male player-manager for the girls team and vice versa for the boys. Max Marshall was a great asset and he was a returning varsity player that has helped us a lot. We also have Meg Coutu, Hanna Close, and Angelina Leanord to help guide the program. We have a very symbiotic program, boys help girls in the fall and girls help boys in the spring,” said Balfour.

The differences between the men’s and women’s sides of volleyball? Many but few at the same time. The sport itself is the exact same. Unfortunately, getting into women’s volleyball is a little more complicated than men’s, because the men’s team allows later options to recruit.

So what is something all boys interested in volleyball should know?

“Well, what’s exciting about boys volleyball is that it is still such a young sport you can pick it up at a later age, and the girls have been playing since childhood, but the boys are relatively new, so athletic kids can join later because of the freshness of the sport. Aidan Norris has been playing in Boston and been crushing it because it is easier to join later for the men’s group, so it is all about just getting your foot in the door and trying it,” explained Balfour.

What about from a player’s perspective? “I wish I knew how much fun I would have and all the great friendships I would form from the sport,” said Jack Delaney ‘21. Delaney thinks that the sport is a great way to branch out and really explore new sports you have not been involved in before.

Balfour explained that the sport is a perfect fit for HB and that there is no better place to start your volleyball career.“Men’s volleyball is such an exciting game it’s so dynamic, girls bond to battle and guys battle to bond, and it is exciting to watch these kids bond, and Ed Leonard is the head coach (my brother) and he does a phenomenal job coaching, and the guys you do not have to tell to be aggressive they just do it. We are a volleyball mecca, whether girls or boys, we turn athletes into volleyball players,” said Balfour.

The covid season has seriously impacted the sport. Returning athlete Spencer Murray ‘21 explained to me the effect the pandemic has had on the sport.“This year JV players won’t get any games unfortunately so they won’t really get that experience for the years coming that I did.” said Murray, “That being said, Practice really does pay off, you would be surprised at how good you actually get if you put in the effort, hard work actually pays off,” he continued.

The outlook of this upcoming season is already looking more promising than expected considering the absence of last season due to Covid.“We are super excited [for this season] and have a nice balance of players, and we have a freshman Bradley Noble that is amazing who is making varsity, we have a nice blend of young talented kids making the teams, we have a nice balance of under and upperclassmen, and they are talented. Brian Scewzcyk, Max Marshall and Liam Troddyn are all athletes that have been in the program who are all playing ridiculous,” said Balfour.

The season is just beginning and far from over, but it is very clear the team holds the HB spirit so widely known.