Bayside High School’s standout volleyball player, Anthony Koyfman, based his decision on what school to attend four years ago on his knack for hitting the right notes with musical instruments, not on his ability to dive after balls and spike on opponents.
“One of the reasons why I came here was because of the music program. I played violin and then switched to the cello, which I still play. I am pretty successful with it,” said Koyfman.
Fast-forward four years later and Koyfman is hopeful to attend New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in the fall – based on his volleyball skill, which he decided was superior to his musical talent.
“Right now I am better at volleyball, I just became more dedicated,” he said.
The senior’s dedication towards the sport has him traveling nearly three hours from home on the weekends to practice and play volleyball with another league. Koyfman has had to find competitive venues to play in, such as multiple men’s club teams, because he feels his skills can only improve so much in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL).
“PSAL is good but it will never make any player a Division I player,” he said.
Perhaps, Koyfman is the exception to his own statement, as NJIT is a Division I institution. His high school volleyball coach believes he has the talent to make an impact wherever he ends up playing.
“Tony goes above and beyond [what is expected of him]. He is very strong at the net and can play at the higher level,” said Sharon Ribera, his Bayside High School head coach.
This March will mark the beginning of the end to his high school volleyball career, but his coaches know that he will continue to shine even as he moves on to more competitive college volleyball. Koyfman’s irreplaceable skills on the volleyball court have left such an impression on his coaches that his name is now synonymous with the sport he dominated in high school.
“Tony is volleyball,” said Ribera. “He is very motivated and goes 100 percent all the time. What I will remember most about him is just seeing a player that tall diving for everything.”
Koyfman tallied up 11 aces, 17 digs and 78 kills in 11 games last season. For those not in the volleyball-know, those are some outstanding stats for anyone, let alone a high school kid. In addition, he had 131 assists and 28 blocks, improving his all-round game.
The 6-foot-7-inch middle hitter is also regarded as a strong team leader both on and off the court, so it comes as no surprise that his number one goal for this upcoming season is of the team-oriented variety.
“In my sophomore year we were able to get into the second round and then last year we played Cardozo, our rival school, in the semifinals. This year we can win it all. Our goal is to win every game,” Koyfman said.
Another goal for Koyfman involves academics and improving his already respectable grades. School has always come first for Koyfman, a commitment that has carried him to the upper levels of high school academia.
“I just got into AP English, I have a 3.0 grade point average but I want it a little bit higher because I feel that I should push myself more,” he said. “School is first.”
Balancing academics and athletics at a collegiate level can prove to be a difficult challenge for any student-athlete, even one with Koyfman’s impressive stats and grades. His coach believes that Koyfman is just the student for the challenge – and that he will continue to excel in both school work and sports.
After all, it is a tune he is familiar playing.
“The balance between athletics and academics will be the biggest challenge [if Koyfman gets accepted into NJIT],” Ribera. “The sport is his number one priority and he’ll have to dedicate himself [to achieving good grades].”