Young Lakers continue to grow throughout men’s club volleyball season

Courtesy Photo / Michael Lozier
Luke Lettinga watches as his teammates defend the net

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Michael Lozier Luke Lettinga watches as his teammates defend the net

Bryce Derouin

The Grand Valley State men’s club volleyball team is hoping to continue making strides as its season approaches conference play.

The Lakers (14-11-1) have worked with an extremely young roster after losing players from the start of the season.

“We lost a couple players from the beginning of the season, but other players have stepped up well in their place,” said fifth-year head coach Todd Allen. “We have a young team with six new starters at their positions and we are starting three freshman.”

The team is coming off one of the best performances in the program’s history — a third-place finish in the Michigan Classic, where they defeated nationally-ranked Michigan State University 25-20, 22-25, 11-15 in the quarterfinals before falling to Ohio Northern University in the semifinals, 25-23 and 25-17.

“We were pretty significant underdogs against Michigan State,” Allen said. “We’ve been developing really well together throughout the year.”

GVSU also managed to gain some confidence from that victory moving forward into conferences.

“The team learned they could be successful, and there was a lot of confidence built up from that tournament,” Allen said. “We have been significantly improving throughout the year, and the team learned they could handle their own despite playing larger schools.”

Senior Luke Lettinga, the league’s MVP two years ago, is one of the veterans the Lakers have had to rely on this year.

“Our performance has varied a lot,” he said. “I’ve been impressed with the advancement of our team since day one. I’m looking forward to seeing how far we can progress and seeing how much our younger players can progress in a full season.

A strength for the Lakers is their size. The Lakers boast six players 6-foot-4 or taller, including freshman Michael Marciniak.

“We haven’t played to our potential yet,” Marciniak said. “There are more freshman playing than usual, so it is taking us more time to click together.”

The evidence for improvement over the year thus far, is evident to the team.

“At the beginning of the year we weren’t anywhere near the level that we are now,” Marciniak said. “A lot of the older guys are helping us this year to improve. We are looking forward to the conferences and nationals.”

The Lakers are hoping to be in their best shape as conferences draw near.

“I’m looking forward to conferences, and I’m confident we can finish first,” Lettinga said. “That’s our goal.”

The Lakers will next be in action on Friday in the Great Midwest Conference Play Day at the University of Dayton.

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