Jimmies relying on mix of veterans and rookies in 2023 season

The Jimmies are set to graduate the last seven remaining players from the inaugural roster this year.

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The Jimmies' Caylor Cox hits a ball against the front line of, from left, Oguzhan Oguz, Josh Boze and Downey Huynh during practice on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Harold Newman Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN — Heading into the 2023 men’s volleyball season, head coach Travers Cox has a roster that simultaneously has a lot of experience and lacks experience.

“We’ve got a lot of seniors and a lot of freshmen so we’re going to have some bumps along the way but I’m excited about the season,” Cox said. “Our conference is going to be a little tougher but I’m pretty excited with where we’re going to be. We’ve got some good leadership with the guys that are seniors.”

The Jimmies have eight freshmen and nine seniors on the roster.

The Jimmies are losing their top four kills leaders from last year, accounting for 826 kills. The only returner in the top five is senior outside hitter Caylor Cox, who had 68 kills. Despite that, Travers Cox said he is expecting the scoring to be a team effort rather than all on him.

“I don’t feel like there’s a lot of pressure,” Caylor Cox said. “I feel like if we work together as a team it’s not going to come down to one guy doing everything. I think if everyone does their part, which I know everyone can, I think the collective whole will do what is necessary to win, not just one guy.”


Last season, the Jimmies went 20-6, finishing the year ranked No. 8 in the country after going on two different seven-match winning streaks before falling to Grand View in the second match of pool play.

One of the newcomers this year is freshman outside hitter Oguzhan Oguz, who comes with high expectations after playing for Ziraat Bankasi SK, a professional men’s volleyball team in Turkey. Travers Cox said he expects Oguz to fill the role that was filled last year by since graduated opposite hitter Sam Jackman.

Oguz said he wanted to play for the Jimmies after watching the 2022 team and walking around the campus.

“I saw last year’s teams and it impressed me,” Oguz said. “After that, I talked with my coach and I liked their system. I liked the campus, I liked the sports complex here.”

The Jimmies open the season with 10 consecutive home matches before going on the road for the last eight matches of the season, with four dates in March still to be determined.

“Honestly, I kind of like it because I get to really focus on my grades on that little first half and get everything set for when I have to be on the road for a bunch of time,” Jimmies senior Ever Cancel said.

Last year, Cancel, Vinny Miska and Downey Huynh combined to play in 30 matches, which makes Cox excited to see if the trio alongside Oguz can have breakout campaigns for the Jimmies.

“I’d like to see what Vinny Miska can do, Downey Huynh obviously, Oguz Oguzhan, those are three really breakout players,” Cox said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what Ever Cancel can do as well because some of those guys were playing behind guys and now it’s their time to shine.”


Cox said he will be looking for Caylor Cox, Adam Lopata and Max Enriquez to lead his team this year.

Oguz is not the only Turkish member of the Jimmies as graduate assistant Yigit Erek is also from the country. Oguz said Erek has helped him get adjusted to the school and has helped him learn English.

“Now we are not talking a lot of Turkish because I learned English, I know it’s not perfect but I can speak,” Oguz said. “But in the first couple of months, he really helped me because American English is really different from British English.”

Heading into this season, the Jimmies are ranked No. 10 in the country, which Travers Cox said isn’t a huge source of motivation for him. The Jimmies have been practicing since early August and have been going through lineup combinations and playing against each other in preparation for the season opener.

“It’s been a wild ride for sure, figuring out positions, who is going to fit in where,” Cancel said. “Who is going to help out where best? We definitely had people move positions. We have some setters hitting right now.”

Cox said his players are more than ready to start the season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, when they host Kansas Wesleyan.

“We just gotta get some matches under our belt,” he said. “Guys are eager to play, they’re dying to play. They’re done beating up on each other, they want to beat up on opposing teams. That's what they want to do. They want to play bad. They can’t wait for Friday to come.”

Early in the season, Caylor Cox is expected to pass Braden Neumann for most matches and sets played in a career. Cox currently sits at 61 career matches played, one behind Neumann, and 202 sets played, four behind Neumann.


“It was great playing with (Neumann) and it sucks that he’s not here now,” Caylor Cox said. “But it is what it is, that’s how sports is, guys come and go. I think it will be cool but I played with him so it’s not something I’m really thinking about.”

My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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