Shaler grad Borgen makes quick impact at Thiel
Stephen Borgen came into camp before the Thiel men's volleyball season started in the running for the top setter position.
Borgen, a 2017 Shaler graduate, was competing for the starting spot with fellow freshman Matthew Slater.
Tomcats coach Adam Roche knew one of those two would take a starting role after he lost his previous setter to graduation. Borgen ended up winning the competition and went on to lead the team with 794 assists.
Borgen handed out 8.63 assists per set. Thiel ended the season with a 9-18 record, including a 3-10 mark in the Continental Volleyball Conference.
“I had a good idea of what he was going to bring to the table,” Roche said. “There's room for improvement, but for being a freshman and playing in the conference we play in, I thought he did a good job. I thought he ran a balanced offense and got everyone involved. He did a good job all the way around.”
Borgen, a 6-foot-2 freshman, helped keep Thiel's offense balanced. Mitchell Patterson (274 kills), Jacob DeReu (218), Mark Kopinski (107) and Dan Zajac (103) finished with more than 100 kills.
“We want him to keep the other team honest and work the ball around to different guys,” Roche said.
Borgen, who appeared in 27 matches, also recorded 119 digs, 38 kills and 34 blocks.
What Roche would like to see Borgen improve on is picking up the tempo. Improving in that area will come with more experience.
“He has a pretty good IQ of the game. That's something I want to work on him with,” Roche said. “Leadership is what we need in a setter. He's the quarterback of the team.
“He runs the offense, and he runs the show. I'd like the speed of the ball out of his hand to be quicker. I think that all comes with more experience and playing at the college level.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.