No. 1 with a bullet: American Studies cruises
Michal Kasza isn’t letting anything get in his way in his pursuit of a PSAL boys volleyball championship.
Not even a stomach virus in the first round of the citywide playoffs.
“I wasn’t feeling very well,” he said. “I stayed home in the morning and then I played the game the best I could. It wasn’t the best game, but we still got it.”
The American Studies star outside hitter was feeling much better Saturday and that was bad news for Hunter College HS as the Eagles cruised to a 25-17, 25-7 victory in the PSAL quarterfinals Saturday morning at York College.
The top-seeded Eagles will meet fourth-seeded Cardozo in the semifinals Tuesday at Hunter College at 5 p.m.
“I was like, ‘Wow I really have to sweat the first two rounds out.’ Nothing came easy,” American Studies coach Josh Yang said. “But this one today, it looks like we’re running on all cylinders right now.”
The Eagles (12-0), ranked No. 1 in New York City by MSG Varsity, entered the season highly motivated after losing to Bryant in last year’s PSAL final. American Studies went undefeated in the regular season and earned the top seed in the playoffs.
The Eagles are anxious to prove the lofty ranking wasn’t a fluke.
“We showed everybody how good we are,” Piotr Kasza said. “We take no mercy. We take everything serious. When we play with confidence, I don’t think anyone can stop us.”
That was the case against eighth-seeded Hunter College HS (13-1) Saturday. The Eagles raced out to a 12-1 lead in the first set and were never troubled in the second.
Michal Kasza had nine kills and seven aces, Conrad Zajkowski had eight kills and four blocks and Piotr Kasza added 19 assists.
“We’re number one and we have to act like it,” Yang said. “We have to let other people know we’re number one. I think they’re getting that and they understand what they have to do.”
The Eagles, which were the No. 2 seed in last year’s playoffs, lost standout Nino Hot to graduation, but returned virtually everyone else. That’s been a big factor in this year’s success.
“Michal is ice cold, man and Piotr is smooth and he does everything that is necessary,” Yang said. “It really is that experience. Talent doesn’t hurt either.”
And in hard-hitting Michal Kasza, the Eagles have one of the best players in the city.
“You can’t touch him,” Yang said. “We’re just going to lean on him as much as we can. I told him at the beginning of the season, if we play as a team, we stick together, the stars are going to shine. He is just kind of coming out of his shell and letting his talent take over.”
Fittingly, it was Michal Kasza who booked American Studies second straight semifinal appearance emphatically with a thunderous kill.
“I guess it was just to leave a mark, you know,” he said. “Last year we were seed two and we lost. This year we’re the top seed and I guess it’s just to show everyone.”
Contact Dylan Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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