Men’s volleyball prepped for nationals

Courtesy / Luke Palmer  
GVSU Mens club volleyball preparing for Nationals.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy / Luke Palmer GVSU Men’s club volleyball preparing for Nationals.

Jay Bushen

After taking down the reigning national champions, the Grand Valley State University men’s club volleyball team feels that it has the confidence to compete with any team that stands in its way.

GVSU hopes its recent momentum will lead to a deep run this weekend in the NCVF Collegiate Club Volleyball National Championship Tournament at the Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

When the Lakers (18-13) defeated the No. 7 University of Notre Dame in the MIVA Championships at Michigan State University on March 23, the team’s confidence skyrocketed.

“There isn’t a team out there that we are afraid of facing anymore,” said senior Kyle Wright. “We ended up beating them in two easily and it was a major confidence booster. That was the moment when we started to believe that we are capable of beating anyone.”

The team eventually lost in the championship round to Adrian College, the No. 1 squad in NCVF Division II.

Wright and his teammates also feel primed to take on any squad at nationals because they have already competed against a number of formidable opponents this season. The team has recently squared off against the likes of No. 1 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, No. 2 University of Illinois and No. 5 Ohio State University.

After hanging with the nation’s best Division I teams, sophomore Mike Marciniak said the team is fully prepared to make a push at nationals.

“We’re going in with a lot of confidence and momentum,” Marciniak said. “There’s going to be a lot of heavy hitters down there, but we’re hoping to come away with a top-10 finish.”

The team hopes to finish in the top-10 of the gold bracket in particular, which is composed of the best 16 teams from the round of 48. GVSU has finished 41st in the country in each of the last two seasons, and has only reached the top ten once in its history (ninth in 2010).

With momentum, experience and plenty of confidence, the Lakers hope a fourth factor will contribute to a deep run at nationals: Size.

GVSU imposes its will on other teams defensively with its front line that features four players who range from 6”4 to 6”7. Senior Luke Palmer said this size advantage has been known to intimidate.

“We try to be very physical at the net with our size,” Palmer said. “We have one of the biggest teams in the country and the height differential is intimidating visually.”

He also said the team is dangerous from an offensive perspective because of an unpredictable attack.

“We have weapons all over the court,” he said. “It’s definitely an advantage when you can keep the other team guessing.”

The NCVF National Tournament will start Thursday.
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