Posted May. 6, 2015
While many athletes are happy being a runner-up, the senior captain on the Raiders’ boys varsity volleyball team thinks that isn’t good enough.
“I am inspired by losing,” Lull said. “I have kept all of my silver medals from club tournaments in my bag to remind me every day the pain I felt after losing. I am driven by failure, which helps me succeed.”
Lull craves the winner’s circle in everything he does whether it’s a practice or a state tournament game.
“I want to win every time that I step out on a court, even if it’s a simple drill in practice I work as hard as possible to win that drill,” said Lull.
The middle hitter’s desire to win should come in handy down the stretch for Wellesley. The Raiders, who have a 9-6 overall record after a win over Milford on Tuesday, need one more win to qualify for the state tournament and hope to make some noise in the postseason.
“I am confident that we will be in the postseason because we have a great team and we keep getting better every day,” he said.
Each time out, Lull’s goal is a simple – limit mistakes. In the first match of the season against Brookline, Lull had one error in 16 attempts — and even that’s not good enough.
“I am never really pleased with my performance because I know I am still new to the game,” said Lull, “and that I still have things to improve to keep getting better and help our team reach the state championship.”
Lull didn’t start playing volleyball until he was 14 years old. Lull played baseball growing up but after his brother had a bad experience in the sport, he decided to switch to volleyball and has not regretted it.
“I love the community that volleyball builds,” Lull said. “It is still a small sport, therefore, whenever you meet another player you instantly have a connection. I have been on both school and club teams and the friendships I have made on those teams will last a lifetime.”
A typical week for Lull includes three volleyball matches, usually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and he is in the gym for three two-hour practices on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Lull’s top focus is his blocking and hitting ability, which he admits causes his passing to suffer.
“I work mostly on hitting and blocking during practices,” said Lull. “I need to keep working on my passing so that I can be a back row option, and of course I need to keep improving my blocking and hitting to become a better middle.”
Part of that improvement is mental. Lull believes physical talent can only take him so far.
“I believe that a good volleyball player needs to be smart,” Lull said. “Limiting your errors and forcing your opponents to make the errors is the key to winning.”
Lull tries to play as much as he can during the offseason. He also plays for a club team, which practices twice a week during the winter and plays in tournaments on weekends.
Even when he isn’t playing, volleyball is never far away.
“I am always touching a volleyball,” Lull said, “whether I am walking around my house or laying on my couch, I am always setting a volleyball to myself.”
Lull has also played four years of basketball at Wellesley High, and that has sharpened his skills on the volleyball court as well.
“It helps me to keep in shape and by jumping all winter my vertical jump is increased for the volleyball season,” he said.
As his time at Wellesley High comes to an end, Lull is beginning to reminisce and realizes his days of playing volleyball competitively are coming to an end. He was named a Bay State Conference All-Star last year and hopes that this season he can earn All-State level honors.
“I set my goal high to have something to work for every day,” said Lull.
While he has individual goals, he has even bigger team accomplishments he’d like the Raiders to reach.
“I want to create a name for the team,” Lull said. “Volleyball, men’s especially, isn’t a high profile sport the way baseball or lacrosse are.
“I believe if we are able to put a trophy in the case we can gain respect for the sport around the school. To accomplish this goal, we need to reach the South Sectional semifinals.”
No matter how it works out, Lull knows the sport has forever left a mark on him.
“The biggest thing I have learned is always have fun,” said Lull. “In the end, it is high school volleyball, and the most important thing is that I have enjoyed playing the past four years.”
This was reposted with the permission of The Wellesley Townsman.