Pyne’s senior leadership inspires fellow teammates

Senior outside hitter Joe Pyne is one of the co-captains for the Vassar men’s volleyball team. Pyne is competing in his fourth and final year as a men’s volleyball player for Vassar College during 2014. Photo By: Vassar College Athletics
Senior outside hitter Joe Pyne is one of the co-captains for the Vassar men’s volleyball team. Pyne is competing in his fourth and final year as a men’s volleyball player for Vassar College during 2014. Photo By: Vassar College Athletics
Senior outside hitter Joe Pyne is one of the co-captains for the Vassar men’s volleyball team. Pyne is
competing in his fourth and final year as a men’s volleyball player for Vassar College during 2014. Photo By: Vassar College Athletics

For senior Joe Pyne, volleyball has afforded him opportunities he otherwise would not have had. The ability to play collegiate volleyball while also attending a top-notch liberal arts school was a huge part of Pyne choosing Vassar. Pyne hails from Los Angeles, Calif., where he began playing volleyball at age 12.

In an emailed statement, Pyne, the team co-captain said, “volleyball is a game of intensity and that’s what made me first interested. It is a game where at the highest level you can see each player’s actions and expressions and how badly they want to win and love the game and the emotional roller coaster each game becomes as you fight for every single point.”

He continued, “collegiate volleyball is especially fun because one of the only differences between Division One and Division Three is the height of the players. We play against people who easily could be Division One players if they were only a few inches taller, or if there was a larger selection of schools who had Division One Varsity Men’s Volleyball programs.”

This year’s team currently sits at 2-5, and they have a plethora of freshmen playing and returners who had to switch positions to fill specific needs. Through it all, Pyne says, “the season is going well, we have had a couple games that I wish we could have back, but since the season is so long we are constantly looking forward and trying to develop the skills necessary to compete when playoffs come around.”

Freshman Trey Cimorelli said, “Joe is becoming the leader of our team. He is one of the few starters who have real collegiate experience and that can be seen through his play. When the team needs a big kill, Joe has a knack for stepping up. When the team is struggling and really needs a side-out he knows exactly what to say in the huddle to get the guys going.”

Cimorelli looks up to Pyne not only as a player, but as a student at Vassar College as well. “Having Joe as a teammate is great.  Being the only senior on the team puts a large amount of responsibility in his hands. A lot of the underclassmen, including myself, look up to Joe in many ways both on and off the court.”

Cimorelli continued, “Being the only senior puts a large amount of responsibility in his hands and he handles it all extremely well—a lot of the underclassmen, myself included, look up to Joe in many ways both on and off the court.” Pyne gave effusive praise to his teammates for their hard work, dedication and commitment to making this a successful start to the year relative to expectations. “The season is going well, we had a couple games that we wish we could play again, but since our season is so long we are constantly looking forward and trying to develop the skills necessary to compete when playoffs come around,” Pyne wrote in an emailed statement. “Personally, I never expected the season to go so well—the team is super close and I enjoy being on such a cohesive team who have similar goals. Every person on the team has a unique personality, and the ability we have of being able to balance working hard and having fun is something I have not seen the team have in a while.”

Cimorelli said, “Joe is the consummate teammate. He often has the team over to his house to hang out on weekends. He cooked a meal for us during the pre-season, and has held many team outings. He is always smiling and having a great time. Joe is truly a blast to be around.”

Pyne was a four-year High School captain, named All-League all four years and was also the recipient of his high school’s athlete of the year his senior year. With all that, Pyne said, “I never expected to play volleyball much further than high school. I took it seriously — but it was a little later — around junior year in high school when I realized I could potentially play in college.”

It’s a good thing he decided to do so, because as Cimorelli pointed out, “Joe is a huge asset to our team and I am not sure where we would be without him. He is a very valuable player and a true leader.” Pyne, an English major, chose Vassar because of his desire for a liberal arts education and has become acutely aware of differences between both coasts. “Coming from California, I noticed a ton of subtle differences in how east coast people act, but which never really amounted to any difference or change in how I approached my life here, except for maybe the weather. I do not, and never will, understand how east coast people handle winter so well…it lasts four whole months! Winter in Los Angeles is nice because it is when the city finally sees rainy and overcast weather, but even then it is still basically sunny 24/7, and you miss the warmth of that desert sun when you have taken it for granted and become accustomed to it your whole life.” Pyne says his hobbies outside of volleyball include, “I try to read and write for fun, I sometimes sketch weird cartoonish things, I play a lot of video games, and I watch quite a few movies.”

Coming from California was a big adjustment for Pyne, but, as he describes, he was mainly urged to come to Vassar due to academic reasons. “I’m an English major, and was more interested in a liberal arts education than becoming lost at a larger university, so I only applied to smaller schools on the east coast, and generically applied to most of the schools in California like most other California kids.”

If you ever make it out to a volleyball game, you will notice that Pyne always has his fingers taped–for no apparent reason. “I tape my fingers for no real reason other than to look cool,” said Pyne. “And also, I always touch the bottom of the antenna right before the teams meet at the net to wish each other good luck at the beginning of each match.”

And when there, you will see a player who, according to Cimorelli, “is extremely talented and has great court vision. One of his biggest strengths is his service game, and he can be counted on at the service line when the team needs a run.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *