N  I  A  G  A  R  A      G  A  Z  E  T  T  E        niagara-gazette.com

Published: November 09, 2009 11:22 pm

BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Grand Island is all set for finals

By Nate Beutel
Niagara Gazette

GRAND ISLAND — Any time Grand Island needs a kill it goes to Jonas Stalyga. Any time the Vikings need a set they look to Tyler Hinaman.

Put the duo together and GI has one of the best set-to-kill combinations in Western New York.

That rapport didn’t develop as easily as it sounds, though. The pair had a tough time getting on the same page all last season and even into the early stages of this fall.

“Last year, Tyler set a lot for Scott (Holler), who is much shorter than me,” explained Stalyga, who stands 6-foot-6. “It’s a different set for me compared to Scott because of our height, so it took a while for us to create that bond.”

Slowly, but surely, it happened, though.

“The more we played together, the more comfortable we got with each other,” Hinaman said. “It took almost to the end of the year, but we’re clicking now.”

Stalyga agreed.

“His balls are perfect now,” Stalyga said. “We can run six or seven plays now that are automatic kills.”

Having a coach with professional credentials such as Bill Schultz doesn’t hurt either.

“All the practice with Bill has made us better,” Stalyga said. “He practices with us, teaches us and shows us how to do it. He’s a freak of nature out there.”

Schultz, who played on GI’s last sectional final team in 1999, said this year’s sectional final squad has been one of the toughest, yet rewarding groups he’s ever coached.

“This team was difficult to motivate at times and since they’re so young in age and experience it was tough to convince them that they could do big things,” he explained. “But it finally started to click at our tournament and we’re peaking now — and hopefully that continues through (today).”

The third-seeded Vikings take on No. 1 Eden, a perennial power, for the Class B championship at 8 p.m. today at Hamburg High School.

“They’re a very good team, but I believe we can definitely give them a run for their money,” said Stalyga, who plans to play club volleyball with Eden this offseason.

Schultz added, “Yes, Eden is a powerhouse, but I don’t think they’re as good as they have been in the past. I still expect them to be fundamentally sound, though, so we’re going to have to play our very best volleyball to beat them.”


• WHO: 3-Grand Island vs. 1-Eden

• WHAT: Class B championship

• WHEN: 8 p.m. today

• WHERE: Hamburg High School