North Quincy senior Tim Chiu takes his role as captain of the boys’ volleyball team seriously.
The 6-foot-1 outside hitter plans to show his teammates that he has what it takes.
“If you do not keep a positive attitude on the court as captain, you are destined to bring your team down,” said Chiu. “I need to be a role model to the younger players and play my best game so that they can play their best. Being captain means trying to hold the team together no matter what the circumstances.
Chiu’s passion for the sport was sparked when he was in the eighth grade and decided to take in a North Quincy High volleyball game. He was immediately impressed by the players’ athletic prowess and the coordination it took to be successful in the sport. He decided he wanted to give it a try.
That decision to join after watching a single game five years ago was something Chiu, now 18 and in his second year as team captain, will never regret.
“I never had any interest in playing volleyball” before that, he said, “but after watching it I knew that it might be something that I would like. I quickly fell in love with it and everything about it. I love the pressure, I love the hype before games. And playing with teammates that I’m friends with just make it even better.”
That the lifelong North Quincy resident has already tasted his share of volleyball glory is just the icing on the cake. Last season, Chiu was the lone Patriot League all-star on the North Quincy squad, and was named a Patriot Ledger all-scholastic player of the year. Chiu helped push the team, which featured no seniors on its roster last year, to a 11-7 record overall, resulting in an invitation to the South Sectional playoffs. In the quarterfinals there, however, a strong Needham squad cut the season short, shutting down North Quincy, 3-0.
This year, Chiu is hoping for a different outcome.
“It is my last year on the team with some of my best friends,” said Chiu. “I’m hoping we can take it as far as we can into the playoffs and take out some tough opponents.”
Chiu would love to top some of his peak performances of last year. In a win last April over rival Quincy, Chiu had 13 kills, or successful point-scoring plays. In another win over Quincy in May, he topped that with 19 kills. In that one, he added 4 digs, or deflections and passes from an opponent’s powerful ball. In a first-round matchup against B.M.C. Durfee High in the South Sectional playoffs, he had 13 kills and 11 digs in a 3-0 sweep.
Teammate Chris Nguyen is glad that Chiu is leading the team again this season.
“He truly keeps us together to keep going and performing,’’ said Nguyen, “even if we are down and out.”
Head coach Jason Kai couldn’t agree more. Chiu’s talent and devotion to the sport, he said, has meant he’s kept growing as a player.
“He’s been on varsity for four years,” said Kai. “Tim eats, sleeps, and breathes volleyball. He is such a devoted player, and he gets smarter on the court each year. Now it’s his senior year, and he is taking his leadership role seriously.’’
Chiu readied himself for the spring season by playing with a club team, Smash Volleyball, in the fall and winter.
For Chiu, volleyball hardly stops with playing year-round. He also coaches Quincy recreation volleyball in the summer and Quincy’s Atlantic Middle School volleyball team when school starts. The coaching, he said, helps him develop better leadership skills for action on the court in the spring.
“I wanted to see volleyball from a coach’s point of view,” said Chiu. “It helps me be a better captain for my team at school. And I love coaching and helping younger players out in a sport that I admire.”
There’s one volleyball prospect who he particularly wants to see excel: his sister, Tiffany, 16, who plays for the girl’s junior varsity team at North Quincy.
Given his passion for the game, it comes as a surprise that Chiu isn’t sure if he’ll pursue the sport in college. When he starts at UMass Boston as a business management major in the fall, he said, he wants to focus on academics and possibly play for a club team.
“My volleyball career may be coming to an end after I graduate,’’ he said, “but my sister is still playing.
“I want to watch her throughout high school,’’ he continued, “and help her out to improve her game.”
Andrew Higginbottom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.