Darien’s Tim Herget repeats as Hearst Boys Volleyball MVP
DARIEN — Life is a series of chapters where very few get to write the perfect script.
Darien’s Tim Herget was one of those rare graduates who experienced the ultimate ending.
Herget and the rest of the seniors on the Blue Wave boys volleyball team closed out their prep careers by posting a 25-1 overall record this past season, including capturing the FCIAC championship and the Class L title.
Those achievements led to Herget being voted as the Hearst Connecticut Media Group Boys Volleyball MVP for the second straight year.
“Having had time to reflect on the season, it certainly was special,” Herget said. “I’m sad that my high school volleyball career is over. But I’m so happy to look back and enjoy everything we accomplished.”
Herget, one of five seniors on Darien’s Iron Men collection of six starters, concluded his Darien volleyball tenure with an 86-11 record over four seasons. Just three losses came in the past two years.
The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Herget finished his senior season with 295 kills, 253 service points, 91 aces, 27 blocks, 191 digs and 27 assists.
The Blue Wave’s setter, sophomore Tyler Herget, collected 844 assists. Alex Preston, a 6-foot-8 senior hitter, was an equally disruptive force to opponents with 290 kills.
“The team succeeded because everyone played their roles perfectly,” Tim Herget said. “Having so many seniors made our overall chemistry so great. I also feel so fortunate that I was able to play volleyball with my older brother, Todd, as a freshman and sophomore and with Tyler the last two seasons.
“There is a great sixth sense and natural instinctive knowledge when you play volleyball with a brother who knows you so well,” Tim Herget continued. “It made for a great four years for our parents.”
Spending his freshman and sophomore years as a setter made Tim Herget a better hitter as a junior and senior.
But having all six Blue Wavers play in every position on the court in this age of specialization gave Darien an inner strength.
“We were all ready for anything,” Herget said. “We all took responsibility for all facets of the game.”
Darien is the three-time defending FCIAC boys volleyball champion.
The state tournament, however, had been a more elusive prize during Herget’s Blue Wave tenure.
Darien had lost in the 2015 and 2016 Class L finals to Ridgefield. In 2014, Oxford ousted Darien in the Class M semifinals.
It looked like more bad news when Ridgefield built a 2-0 edge in the 2017 Class L semifinals.
But Darien posted an amazing comeback to defeat the Tigers in five games. Darien then earned the 2017 Class L crown by sweeping East Hartford 3-0.
“The Ridgefield rivalry is always great. There are high-level athletes on both sides. It requires our best,” Herget said. “Losing the previous two state finals to Ridgefield was devastating. Our chances coming back from 2-0 were slim. But the more we look back and talk about it, the more amazing the comeback seems.”
Herget knows just how lucky he has been to have Laurie LaRusso as head coach the past four years.
“Before high school, I wasn’t a volleyball player. I started so I could play with my brother Todd. Volleyball isn’t a hobby anymore,” he said. “I’ve never been taught so well in any sport as I’ve been in volleyball. Coach LaRusso’s philosophies. The way she teaches the skills of the game. She loves the game of volleyball and extends that love and passion to you.
“Most importantly, it’s about you becoming a successful person. She creates special people,” Herget continued. “You come out of the sport as a leader. Someone who can make a difference in other people’s lives.”
The admiration society is mutual.
“Tim is an amazing young man. A leader on and off the court. His love of the game is infectious, as is his energy — the team fed off of it. Two years setting, two years as outside hitter. He did whatever the team needed,” LaRusso said. “This (2017) team was incredible. It was an honor to coach these wonderful young men. We were a family that always had each other's backs and picked someone up whenever needed.”
Now Herget is focused on the next chapter of his journey.
In August he will travel to Chile on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“My dad did his mission in Argentina. My brother Todd did his mission in Peru,” Tim Herget said. “I’m studying my Spanish hard to spread the gospel in the world. My time with my family now is precious. I will look to apply all the lessons I learned here in Chile. You can prepare but you’re never quite sure how people will respond to you. I just have to be ready for all challenges.”