Thomas Jefferson dual-sport standout named MVP in boys volleyball

| Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson's Luke Good is a dual-sport athlete, but if you ask his coaches about him they will give the same response.

He might have been hard to find in a box score, but Good, who played soccer and volleyball, proved to be the best when it came to leadership, determination and just about anything else.

“He's just a step and a cut above,” said Michael “Doc” Kulish, head coach of the TJ boys' soccer team. “He really took his captain position seriously.”

The honor-roll student organized soccer team workouts during the offseason, going so far as to pick up and drop off younger players without a driver's license. His actions were recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America with the Senior Excellence Award.

Good, a 5-foot-11 midfielder, had two goals and five assists last season for Thomas Jefferson. One goal was a game-winning corner kick to drop West Mifflin. The other was a shot against South Park from 45 yards out that found the net and remains one of his favorite moments from his senior year.

Good was a two-time soccer team captain who was just as important when he transitioned to volleyball, where he also was a team captain for the Jaguars. His play was so respected that opposing coaches voted him MVP in Section 3-AA.

“It really humbles me, but I have to say I'm really nothing without my teammates and coaches around me,” Good said.

He was a setter who “basically set all the balls perfectly,” said Frank Staffen, the Jaguars' head volleyball coach. “He's going to be very hard to replace. You can't just substitute in what he gives you.”

It was a busy school year for Good, who frequently found himself caught between both sports.

“The transitions never stopped,” he said. “Usually, when one sport is going on, the other is in the preseason. Usually, I'm going from soccer to a volleyball practice

“But it helps keep me organized and on a schedule.”

Growing up, Good's biggest competition didn't come from playing against another team, but rather his fraternal twin brother, Zach, a sharp-shooting guard for the TJ boys' basketball team that went 23-4 and advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals and PIAA second round.

Luke said his brother brought out the best in him.

“Growing up, we played every sport together,” Luke said. “There was always a competitiveness and we brought the best out of each other. It was awesome.”

Both will attend St. Vincent College in the fall, where Luke will attempt to walk on the men's soccer team and Zach will do the same in men's basketball.

Luke Good is a member of the National Honors Society who takes Advanced Placement English and art. He may major in business marketing.

Being a multi-sport athlete in high school just might help Good make his college soccer team. His coordination, quick thinking and leadership evolved from a lifetime of athletics.

“He's just a natural,” Staffen said. “He picks things up very fast.”

For Kulish, it all comes back to Good's immeasurable attributes. He believes Luke's positive attitude and indestructible work ethic will win over his coaches, just as it did Kulish.

“I think he will be an outstanding soccer player (at St. Vincent College) when it's all said and done because of his dedication,” Kulish said. “I think he can play at that level and play well.”

Jaguars' netters named all-section

Seven players in the Thomas Jefferson boys' volleyball program were honored as all-section selections.

Along with Good at the setter position, MH Adam Patrick and OH Christian Valecko were named to first team.

Second-team selections were Gabe Cappetta, at outside hitter; Chris Serrao, at middle hitter; and Sam Mason, at libero.

Jake Dobransky, a setter/right-side hitter, was as an honorable mention pick.

Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.

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