Kalb fueled Wrecker spikers with breakout year
David Kalb is capable of delivering a game-changing play on the volleyball court.
Before graduating last week, Kalb enjoyed a breakout year for the Staples boys volleyball team. He was instrumental in Staples' 18-0 regular-season record, 19-2 overall with his play in the front and back rows.
"Dave did an incredible amount work in the off season," Wreckers coach Jon Shepro said. "His desire to improve was unmatched. He is also an incredible athlete so he was able build on his own natural ability."
Kalb earned First Team All-FCIAC and First Team All-State. He was also selected to play in the senior all-star game.
"I was surprised to get the awards I got, and I didn't think it was possible a year ago," Kalb said. "I owe it all to coach Shepro, the whole volleyball team and the offseason training. I had a lot of coaches, and all of my coaches contributed to my development."
During the offseason, Kalb played for the Mizuno volleyball club, which is coached by Mark Fishman. Junior year, he was on the varsity bench and saw limited action in blowout victories.
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Although Kalb would have started for most volleyball teams, he was happy to wait his turn. He learned a lot from watching his older teammates, which served him well as a senior.
"It was not tough at all because Staples had a great team, and the ones on the court deserved to be there," Kalb said. "It was not about me, it was about the team. I remember watching the volleyball team play, and I tried to do it myself. It had a big impact on my development."
Kalb was one of the Wreckers' top servers, thus he frequently led off the match for them behind the service line.
"The serve developed through practice," Kalb said. "Shepro started every practice with serving because it's an important part of the game. If you miss the serve, you lose a point."
Knowing where to place the ball enabled Kalb to go on his share of lengthy service runs. This helped Staples leave many opponents in the dust.
"At the beginning of a game, you don't serve at a person, you serve between them," Kalb said. "As the game progresses, you figure out who is the weakest passer, and Shepro tells us where to serve it."
At 6'0, 150-pounds, Kalb proved height doesn't matter while smacking the ball from his outside hitter position. Despite being smaller than his foes, he won many battles against them and pounded home his share timely kills.
"It's the same as you become good at anything, you practice, practice and practice," Kalb said. "A big part of it is learning how to hit against the blocks, and we have big blockers on our team, the two Lucases [Lucas Carstens and Lucas Grevers], and I learned how to hit very well [by practicing against them]."
After a good portion of his kills, Kalb displayed his exuberance in celebrating the point.
"I just love the sport, and the feeling you get when you get a kill is phenomenal," Kalb said. "It's good to have these reactions because you get the team energized and ready to play."
Shepro said, "The team fed off Dave's energy. He would give us a boost when ever it was needed."
His excitement wasn't limited to kills. Sometimes, Kalb combined with the middle hitter to produce a block in unison, and he'd display the same cheerfulness.
"I attribute it to my jumping ability, and I can work on it at home," said Kalb on the key to his blocks. "When I'm at the net, I try to jump high."
Kalb's defensive strength isn't limited to the net. He came up with his share of digs and passed well to the setter, which led to offense.
"You have to be on your toes and ready to move," Kalb said. "I play way back, and you have to be mobile and get to any deep balls."
Shepro selected Kalb to be the team's scholar-athlete for the Staples Scholar-Athlete banquet. The coach-athlete relationship wasn't their only regular interaction that they had as Shepro was his economics teacher.
"It was a very big honor," Kalb said.
Overall, Kalb took four AP courses. Math was his favorite subject.
"You have to know how to manage your time," Kalb said. "It's an important skill I acquired through time."
Currently, he plays for Mizuno and will be competing at the Nationals Club championships in Dallas this weekend. This fall, he will attend Bucknell University and major in engineering. Kalb would also like to play for its club volleyball team.
"I'm sure Dave will be successful in what ever endeavors he undertakes," Shepro said. "He has an incredible work ethic and desire to succeed."
For Kalb, it's all about passion and fitting it into his busy schedule. He knows he'll have to constantly practice in order to make the team.
"I'm in it because I love the game, and I continue playing it because I love the game," Kalb said.