Jack Heary never really stood in the shadow of his older brother.
Bobby Heary was second team all-Western New York last season and led St. Joe's in every statistical category, but it's impossible to miss Jack.
Standing 5-foot-10 in the land of the volleyball giants, the senior has a rare assortment of talents on the court that make him hard to overlook, according to Marauders coach Mark Anzalone.
"He's a consistent player, a quiet leader and he's always doing what he's supposed to be doing," Anzalone said. "He can play every position on the court. Even at his size — he's our setter but he's also a great libero — he can hit, he can serve, he can play defense and he can do every part of the game."
Heary lives volleyball. He has since he was 12 years old. He plays volleyball year round and has practiced his craft through club volleyball and off season training regiments.
The moment he knew volleyball was his sport was the first time he stepped onto the court in a varsity game.
"Sophomore year I got called up in the (Championship) game against Canisius," Heary said. "I got in to serve and I knew then that I could play."
Heary's coach got a glimpse of what kind of player he was going to be when the young 15-year-old won 10 straight jump serves, an amazing feat for a player in his first varsity action.
It was a game oozing with pressure for every player on the court. For Heary to go in, against St. Joe's' fiercest rival, and show no signs of intimidation impressed Anzalone.
Heary has improved every season since he started playing volleyball. He has a desire to be great and it pushes him to learn and develop new skills.
Last season, Anzalone said Heary was still developing as a player. He would get to the ball, try to make a good set and do what he could to help his team win.
But that was all — he played sound, fundamental volleyball.
This season he's become an assassin.
"I think this year he's really looking on the other side of the net to see what the other team has defensively and what we can do offensively to expose them," Anzalone said. "When the ball comes out he knows right where to go with it every time. He's able to disguise that from the defense, which is a big part of setting. It takes a team from good to elite, and that's what makes him an elite setter."
The biggest challenge Heary has faced has been his lack of size. Playing at the net against players seven, eight and sometimes even nine inches taller forced him to work harder at that phase of the game.
"You have to play harder than the bigger guys because they have it easy," Heary said. "I went (and trained) to get my vertical up so I can block the bigger guys."
Heary loved playing with his brother. It was nice to have someone he could rely on to score points and to show him how to be a leader.
But now that Bobby Heary is gone Heary wants to break his records. He wants to out-perform his brother and then go back and tell him about it. They're both competitors and Anzalone said that's what seperates the two boys from most other players: the will to be great.
"Not only were they two guys from the same family but they're both outstanding players," Anzalone said. "Bob was our captain last year and Jack is our captain this year. Bob led the team statistically and Jack's going to lead the team this year. As far as we go will be dependent on how Jack performs."
Jack can handle the pressure and expectations, he's been living up to them all his life. He's just glad to be playing volleyball and enjoying his final season at St. Joe's — hoping to take his No. 2 Marauders all the way to the top. He could tell his brother about that.
Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda Sports on Twitter: @tonanewssports