St. Charles North boys volleyball senior Jeff Rollins took a ball flush to the jaw during Tuesday morning’s practice, with North coach Todd Weimer the culprit in the mishap during a drill. Rollins, however, shrugged off the momentary pain as part of the life of a volleyball player – he’s more concerned about North following up last year’s third-place state finish, beginning with Wednesday’s season opener against Leyden. In this week’s Weekend Chit-chat with Chronicle sports editor Jay Schwab, Rollins touched on Tuesday’s ill-fated drill, some of the teammates who are impressing him so far and more. The following is an edited transcript:
Did you have to sit out for a few minutes after getting hit?
No, I just kept playing.
Did it swell up on you or anything?
It stung, I’m not going to lie to you, but I just kept going. Part of it, the drill was very fast-paced. The idea is you and your partner have to both get touches on every ball. There wasn’t time to worry about that.
Is it kind of a deal where with every volleyball player, pretty much at some point that’s going to happen if you play long enough?
Oh yeah. The higher level you get, the faster balls are coming at you. You have to expect one of them is going to hit you in the face.
How much momentum do you guys feel in the program based on how last year went?
I feel like we’re using that to definitely build our momentum going into this season with how successful we were last year and wanting to emulate the success that those guys had. Definitely coach Weimer, every time, every parent meeting or whatever we recruit people for boys volleyball, [he says] we won third in state last year, so he’s really excited about that and everyone on the team, we all rallied around that and are glad we got that far.
What got you into boys volleyball?
In seventh grade, my English teacher (at Haines) asked me and a couple of other guys if she started a before-school boys volleyball club where we just got together and played a little bit, if we wanted to do that. I enjoyed playing gym volleyball but never played anything serious, but I was like, sure, why not? I did that for seventh and eighth grade and then she told me there was a boys team in high school, and I was super thrilled about that, so I tried out my freshman year, and I fell in love with the sport.
Who are a couple guys that are impressing you this preseason?
Nic Cook, definitely. Jack Bujko is really getting up, and he’s been a great leader on the team, a returning varsity player. He can really hit the ball really hard. Nic Cook, him too, his leadership and his passion on the team is so evident in every practice we’ve had. He really, really cares about the team, and I really enjoy that. … He’s an incredible setter. He can really do it all.
You touched on coach Weimer’s enthusiasm. Is that pretty infectious with the players?
Yeah. It’s really easy to play with a coach who is so passionate about the sport, and every day in practice he’s enthused and he’s ready to go. It’s not an option to be not hustling or not working hard. It’s so infectious, his love for the game. He makes you want to try hard.