Patterson a difference-maker for Ken East volleyball during playoff run
“Absolutely,” Patterson said with a smile. “When you’re able to put down a ball untouched by any kind of block, it’s the best feeling in the world and everybody on the bench and the court (feels) it.”
A senior captain in his second season of varsity with Kenmore East, Patterson has been the model of consistency for a Bulldogs squad that made it to the Section VI Class B title game against defending champion Lake Shore.
Primarily an outside hitter last season, Patterson’s role expanded this year to a blend of outside hitter and middle blocker.
“It’s a really a hybrid thing,” Patterson said of his job description. “At the North Tonawanda Tournament, our big middle Matt (Donn) sprained his ankle in the semifinal game. So coach (Kyle Horvatis) put me over in the middle. I kind of like the role because it’s a lot of fast moving, and at outside, sometimes you just kind of sit and wait to be set. I like transitioning back-and-forth, and of course, the blocking is awesome.”
Horvatis praised Patterson for bringing consistency to the floor and said that Patterson is so fast and agile going side-to-side that it makes him a natural to play this blended role of middle blocker and outside hitter.
“He can go for 25 points,” Horvatis said of Patterson’s energy level. “He wants the ball a lot, but he’s not selfish. He’s just happy when the whole team is doing well. He always comes through. If he hits the ball in the net, he comes right back and crushes the next one. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. He’s consistent.”
Patterson said the constant motion of covering so much of the court helps keep him even more focused and on top of his game.
“You’re moving a hundred percent of the time,” he noted.
Always looking to do everything he can to help the team, Patterson said he relished the new challenge and embraced the opportunity to play an expanded role.
“Initially, I was excited. I don’t usually get to block a lot because weak side hitters don’t get set a lot,” Patterson said. “So the blocking is fun, but also you need a perfect pass to set a middle. I wasn’t getting set a lot and that was (something) to overcome, but it allowed our (other) outsides and weak sides that I wasn’t playing to get better. And when we figured out we could switch on free-balls or off serve receive, it brightened my day a lot.”
Sharing the captaincy with fellow seniors Michael Crawford and Drake DeJesus, Patterson feels his role as one of the team leaders is to try set the right example every day and every play.
“I owe a lot of the energy of Drake. He’s really the yeller and the pump up guy and I just feed off it,” Patterson said. “I think the team gets most of its motivation when we make a great save on a ball that was going to land, and I try to do that.”
Focused on making an impact every chance he can, Patterson proves his worth every second he is on the court.