Antosz hits Zips into 'New Era'

“Freshman Jess Antosz has wasted no time making an impact on the University of Akron’s volleyball team. She has performed above and beyond any expectations set for her, by helping to lead the Zips to an 8-5 record this season. Antosz leads the Mid-American Conference in blocks with 48 and is third in the MAC with a .”

Freshman Jess Antosz has wasted no time making an impact on the University of Akron’s volleyball team. She has performed above and beyond any expectations set for her, by helping to lead the Zips to an 8-5 record this season.

Antosz leads the Mid-American Conference in blocks with 48 and is third in the MAC with a .396 hitting percentage. Antosz has even surprised herself with her performance.

I expected to block well, but hitting, not as much, Antosz said. I came in knowing I could block well, but the hitting is a big surprise.

Head coach Mike Sweitzer is enthusiastic about his freshman phenom.

We are very excited about her, he said. Coming in, we thought she had great potential, but we definitely didn’t think she would make this much of an impact.

Antosz leads the team in blocks and hitting percentage.

She has a great presence in the front row.

Antosz’s season started to pick up during the Wolfpack Invitational where she was named to the all-tournament team.

We went into the tournament knowing that we would be playing tougher teams than in the Temple Invitational, Antosz said. It was more of a challenge, but we worked together and had good communication. Kara Smith’s sets were good; we had fast middle attacks that helped us win.

After her performance at the Wolfpack Invitational, Antosz was named the MAC East Player of the Week after posting 19 blocks and 40 kills.

More recently, Antosz was named to the all-tournament team at the Charleston Invitational where Antosz led the Zips with a .219 hitting percentage, 24 kills and 13 blocks. The Zips were winless in the tournament.

Despite the personal accolades, the biggest accomplishment for Antosz has been helping to lead the Zips to an 8-5 record. The team started the season by going undefeated and winning the Temple Invitational. In the next tournament, the Sheraton Invitational, the Zips took second place after a loss to Ole Miss.

In the most recent tournament, the Zips lost three in a row including a heartbreaker against West Virginia that went to five games.

Despite the setback in the Charleston Invitational, the Zips have already surpassed their win total from last season.

We call ourselves the New Era, Antosz said. It’s a new feeling this year.

The Zips went 7-24 last season including a stretch where they lost 14 consecutive matches in the MAC.

The Zips start MAC play this Friday at 7 p.m. against Kent State (9-4) at Rhodes Arena.