Best known for his dominance at middle blocker, Mike Gesicki displayed his serving ability Wednesday.
The Southern junior blasted home two aces and added eight service points for the Rams as they downed Marlboro, 2-0, in a nondivisional boys volleyball match.
Gesicki, who stars in football and basketball for Southern, gives the Rams one of the state’s best and biggest athletes at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds.
“Mike’s serve is another offensive weapon for us,” Southern coach Eric Maxwell said. “He gets up so high and puts a lot of pace on his serve. He puts our opponents on their heels. His serve results in great transition situations for us. He hits his serve pretty consistently.
“It’s good, hard jump serve with plenty of topspin. It acts like a slider in baseball. He makes serving look easy. He tosses the ball out in front and uses his height to his advantage.”
Gesicki said he has little experience at serving.
“It’s new for me,” he said. “I spend some time in the back row and I am starting to get the hang of serving. I still love getting those blocks as they change the momentum of the game.”
Gesicki worked well with senior setter Luke King, converting five of six kill attempts. King had a match-high 22 assists and added two kills.
“Luke’s our quarterback,” Gesicki said. “He gets the ball out to our different hitters. He makes great sets. This is my third year of playing on the team with him and I have no complaints. He’s the best setter in the state. He sets and passes and serves. He does whatever you want him to do.
“He has the set down to perfection. There is no rotation, no spin on the ball when he sets it. He puts it in the same place each time. He does a great job.”
King relishes his role.
“I am the quarterback,” he said, “and I keep everybody happy. I worry about getting the win and setting to whoever is hot.”
Southern won by 25-16 and 25-14 scores. In the first game, Marlboro (0-2) tied the score at four when Southern senior outside hitter Brandon Lee sailed his serve long. The Rams closed the game with a 21-12 run. Senior outside hitter Kyle Ficken keyed the spree with three kills. Senior defensive specialist Tommy Lynch capped the match with an ace.
“We wait for an opportunity to get a run going,” Maxwell said. “We know it will come. We know we will run off six or seven points in a row. Once we get our momentum and a good mindset going, we are tough to beat.”
The wins pushed the Rams’ all-time record against Shore Conference opponents to 153-4.
“Their coaching staff works real hard with their boys during the offseason,” Marlboro coach Margie McNamara said, “and it makes a difference. Southern has great athletes and dedicated players. That makes a big difference. They are proud of their program. They don’t want to let their program down.”
“We have better coaching,” King said. “We have a better reputation. That brings out more athletes in our school.”