Less than a month into Alex Frapech’s first season, the freshman volleyball player has already been named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Rookie and Player of the Week.
In his performance in the State University of New York Institution of Technology Tournament, Frapech, a communication studies major, managed to accrue 37 kills over his last three matches, including 19 in just one match in a losing effort against D’Youville College. Through nine games, he already leads the entire GNAC in kills, ranks third in kills per set and ninth in hitting percentage.
Frapech was excited to receive the award; however, he is trying not to let it get to his head.
“It kind of makes me want to be cocky, but at the same time, I know that I have to be humble,” said the freshman. “But it gives me an extra push to continue to do the right things, yet still have fun.”
Frapech said he was recruited by some of the highest-ranking NCAA Division 1 programs in the country.
“I had the choice of going to four different Division 1 schools,” said Frapech. “[University of California at] Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge, University of the Pacific, and George Mason.”
Despite the attention from those schools, he said he decided that he wanted something different from his native California.
“[Emerson] was the only East Coast school that I sent submissions to,” said Frapech. “And I thought, ‘Why not change?’ Get a change of weather and a change of scenery.”
Frapech has four freshmen teammates from California, and although he never played with any of them in high school, he said their West Coast connection has translated into success on the court.
“In California, we have different lingo for different things out on the volleyball court,” said Frapech. “I feel like I play better when I’m around people who are saying the same things.”
Teammate Tom Carroll, a junior, said that Frapech’s laid-back approach fits in well with the entire team.
“Alex likes to have fun, and we all like to have fun,” said Carroll. “He really fits the way Emerson volleyball players have been over the last few years.” Head coach Ben Reed agreed thatFrapech has fit well into the Lions’ scheme, proving to be an important
player on offense.
“He loves putting the ball away,” said Read. “He really loves swinging. [He’s] very offensive-minded... Offensively, he’s definitely our go-to guy.”
Although he is only a freshman, Frapech said he has no worries about being the offensive leader on the Emerson squad.
“No, I’m not nervous [about being the go-to option],” said Frapech. “I feel 100 percent capable of being that kind of player for this team.”
Frapech said that his readiness at the college level came from playing high school volleyball in a competitive area.
“The talent level in California is pretty good, so it wasn’t that big of a transition coming out here,” said Frapech. “Volleyball is not that big for D3, so it’s pretty much the same speed and game tempo.”
Read said he has not been able to find a flaw in Frapech’s performances over the past two weeks.
“His numbers have been exceptional,” said Read. “If you could take a look at those games, I’d say there really wasn’t much of a weakness.”
Although Emerson only won one of its last two games, Frapech has still managed to post 30 kills and 11 digs in those contests.
Frapech has played exceptionally, but Read said that Frapech’s effort during practice will be key in improving the rest of his team.
“He’s such an athletically gifted kid that getting him to go ahead and perform 100 percent at practice [is tough],” said Read. “For our team to get better, we need him to go ahead and push a little bit more and play like he has the last couple of matches.”
Currently, the Lions are 5-5, having dropped their first in-conference game against Johnson & Wales on Jan. 29. Despite losing the match, Read said he thinks his team has a good chance of finishing in the top half of what he calls a competitive conference.
“Our goal is to finish in the top four, and I think we can do that,” said Read. “But if we have an off day with anyone, we could drop.”