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Men’s Volleyball Looks for Home Spark Again

Augustana introduced men’s volleyball to its list of sports for the 2017-2018 academic year, and the Vikings got off to a memorable start in the program’s first-ever home match.

The inaugural home match took place on January 20, as Augie was host to Judson at the Carver Center. The Vikings, who were led by freshman, Joshua Richardson’s, 13 kills, had four separate players with double-digit kills and came away with the program’s first-ever victory by winning three of four sets.

“Our first home game felt invigorating,” Richardson said. “How many people get to say they started something at a school like this? Winning that game gave me one of those feeling you rarely have. It was something special, and I hope we continue to build the program into of the best in the conference and Midwest.”

It’s been a tough season for Augustana since its home victory, however.

The Vikings fell to Christian Trinity and Dominican last Friday, failing to win a match. They followed that up with two more losses on Saturday, losing in three sets to Aurora and coming up just short against the Illinois Institute of Technology by a final of three sets to two.

“We played strong in both games I thought, but unfortunately we fell short in both,” freshman, Justin Murphy, said after the losses on Saturday. “The second game we lost in the fifth set, but we were battling it out the entire day. And we had some incredible plays all day, but we just didn’t quite finish off how we wanted. You live and learn. We can look back and learn from our mistakes.”

Given that Augustana’s program is just in its beginning stages, both Richardson and Murphy agree it has been a learning experience for everyone involved.

With that in mind, Richardson believes it is not about the results on the court. Instead, he views this year as an opportunity to build a foundation for the program moving forward.

“With this being new to all of us, we have to learn to raise our level of play and learn how to compete at the college level,” Richardson said. “We have to learn to make our own energy on the road, communicate more, and play more cohesively. We have to learn things that other programs already know. So, being part of a first-year program, we have to set the bar for the future of the program and establish traditions and rituals for upcoming recruits.”

Hoping to replicate the same result as last time, Augustana will be hosting two home matches this upcoming weekend against Benedictine and Greenville at the Carver Center.

For Murphy and his teammates, the goal for the weekend is pretty simple.

“We always want to be better than we were last time,” Murphy said. “Even if it’s just one ball better, that is what we are looking to do, because we need to keep improving our game and that comes one small step at a time.”

On Saturday, the Vikings go up against Benedictine at 1 p.m. and Greenville at 5 p.m at the Carver Center in Rock Island, Illinois.

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