The mere thought of taking flight intrigues Francis Howell North senior Brian Peth.
Upon graduation, Peth is considering his options for life after high school and foremost amongst those is the aviation program at Quincy (Ill.) University.
“My dad mentioned it (aviation) to me and it sounded pretty interesting,” Peth said. “I might go up (in the air) and I might hate it. It’s just that sitting down at a desk somewhere doesn’t sound pleasant to me at all. Right now, I think it will be fun to give it a try.”
It’s really a small wonder that Peth would want to tackle such a career because he currently does a lot of flying – on the volleyball courts around St. Charles County for the Howell North boys volleyball team.
Standing just 6-feet tall, Peth’s 147 kills put him on top on the Knights (12-5 overall, 5-2 GAC North), best in the Gateway Athletic Conference and third overall in the area in the category.
His 62 points scored are also near the top for the team this season.
“Brian has just been a huge blessing for us,” Howell North coach Ryan VonFeldt said. “He didn’t even play his freshman year. He came out his sophomore year and last year, he was kind of our go-to guy. This year, obviously, he’s our go-to guy. He’s a smart player. He jumps to the roof and knows where to hit it and that’s something we need.”
As the coach sees it, too much of Peth would rarely be a bad thing for the Knights.
“If he had the energy, I’d like to give him 100 percent of our sets if possible,” VonFeldt said. “He’s smart and he knows what to do with the ball. He knows how to find the holes and the corners. He’s just a great player and he is one of the better players we’ve had play here in my time at the school.”
For Peth, who also plays club volleyball for Club Vertical, his ability to even get the chance to finish off kills is big, whether he’s hitting over a two-man block or into open court.
That’s because if he doesn’t finish off the kill his team is in perfect position to still win the point should the other side be called upon for a kill attempt.
“I am glad to have the ability to draw that many players (sometimes two or three opponents into a block attempt),” Peth said. “Even though I may not hit sometimes, I still bring up two blockers, so it leaves our right side wide open and that’s good for the team.”
While there is plenty of brute strength involved in being effective at killing a volleyball rally, Peth says that, for him, it is also a cerebral act that requires forethought and planning.
And it also has to come in a split second.
“I do just hit is as hard as I can,” Peth said. “I look for the open area. I also try not to get it near the libero because they’re the best passers. I’ve got to find the open spaces and hit that seam (near) the hitter on the right side. When (the) line is open. I try and hit it there but that’s not always the best shot for me.
“Other sports, like in football or basketball, you can be just (big), fast or tall. This sport is about using your mind. You have to be able to show a level of skill to succeed here.”
On a narrower scope, Peth has to use his smarts just about every time he’s on the floor because he usually comes up against players who may get the best of him in height, but as it turns out they rarely get the best of him in hustle or on the scoreboard.
Peth feeds off successes he has in such situations.
“Since I am usually shorter, again I have to be smarter in these situations,” Peth said. “When you’re up in the air it’s not always about how tall you are, it’s about ball and (body) placement that is the key. Just because they’re taller doesn’t automatically mean they’ll win if you play smart. If you play to your strengths, you can succeed and do it regularly against most anybody.”
Tags: Francis Howell North