One of our own has been selected to the Division III All American Team. Ellis Walsh, a member of the 2006 Class A Championship team in Penfield was voted 1st team this week. Check Out the article from the D and C!
Nazareth’s Ellis Walsh always had an affinity for the arts. Now he’s playing a leading role on the men’s volleyball team. / CARLOS ORTIZ staff photographer
He flashes a smile when recounting his appearances in Fame and Crazy for You.
Walsh is putting on another show this year, but this time as the leading role on the Nazareth men’s volleyball team.
The 6-foot-6, 235 pound senior leads Division III in hitting percentage (.479) on a Golden Flyers squad that is ranked first in the country in the most recent AVCA poll and will host the Molten Division III Men’s Invitational Volleyball Championship on Friday and Saturday.
Walsh, who was named a first-team Division III All-American on Tuesday, is a quintessential middle blocker, an imposing figure and superb leaper who can dominate a match, but his ascendancy has been rapid.
He didn’t begin playing volleyball until his senior year of high school.
“People look at me and think I’m a jock but I wasn’t really a sports guy,” said Walsh, a business administration major. “I was into plays and did performing arts. I did Hochstein, not athletics. Once I had a growth spurt my shorter friends told me they wish I had my height and I should give sports a try.”
He has done more than take a crack at sports; he’s excelled.
Walsh had 11 kills and the match-winning block as the Golden Flyers overcame four match points to defeat Baruch College in five sets and win the North East Collegiate Volleyball Association title on April 3.
Nazareth (29-3) has ripped off 20 straight wins and plays Carthage (22-10) in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Friday. Defending national champion Springfield (15-13) will play Baruch (34-14) at 5 p.m.
Walsh took up basketball at Penfield as a sophomore and one of his teammates urged him to give volleyball a try as a senior.
“My high school coach (Mike Fusare) really got me into it,” Walsh said. “He was taking a risk by having me playing my first year as a senior. I tried it out and I fell in love with the sport.”
He bided his time as an understudy before blossoming by the season’s end and left an impression on current Nazareth teammate EJ Wells-Spicer during a high school all-star game. “I remember this freak athlete coming into the gym,” said Wells-Spicer, a two-time All Greater Rochester Player of the Year at Midlakes. “The coaches told me to set for him and I look up and his feet are in my face. He’s a great athlete and now he’s turned into more of a volleyball player. It’s pretty amazing what he’s done in three years.”