Men’s volleyball starts second half of season strong


Bri Berndt

Junior right side Josh Van Essen hits the volleyball over the net towards the opposing team at Carver gymnasium on Feb. 19.

Kosei Ogata

The men’s volleyball team swept Concordia Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 12 in St. Louis, MO. The team is finishing up the first half of their season and currently hold a 5-7 record.

With a senior class having just graduated, the men’s volleyball team is a new and fresh team. 17 out of 19 players are underclassmen and there is a significant amount of young talent. 

Max Seller, sophomore libero, reflected on the win against Concordia Chicago. With a rough start to their season, Seller enjoyed finally dominating a team. 

“I think we played well in that game,” Seller said. “It was the first game we really dominated the opponent which was fun to be a part of.” 

Aiden Bolen, first-year outside hitter, is proud of the team’s win but is always looking to improve. They might have shut out Concordia Chicago, but Bolen recognizes that it still wasn’t a perfect game. 

“We did dominate Concordia Chicago, but we could play better. The gap of the points should be larger,” Bolen said. 

Benjamin Schultz, sophomore middle blocker, attributes the team’s success to their new found confidence. 

“I feel like we played well and had more confidence, which led us to being able to sweep the opponent,” Schultz said.

Seller, Bolen and Schultz have all been preparing for the second half of their season, but each in different ways and focusing on different aspects of their game. 

Since they all play different positions, each player has a different goal and mindset. Some of these goals correlate with the exact position they play, whereas others are about the kind of teammate they strive to be. 

“I am preparing to be a better leader and I have learned a lot from this first half of the season to learn how the team clicks,” Seller said.

While Seller is focused on bettering his leadership, Bolen is focused on becoming a better player defensively. Defense in volleyball is a complex part of the game that requires a lot of time and effort to master. 

“To be ready for the second half of the season, I would like to focus on the defensive aspect, such as serving, receiving and digging,” Bolen said. 

In volleyball, a proper serve is crucial for the success of the team. It can determine how well the opponents return the ball. Schultz wants to better his serve so that it is harder for opponents to compete with them. 

“Personally, I would like to work on the serve so we can get the opponent out of the system,” Schultz said. “Out of the system is a state in which the ball is far from the net, which gives us a higher chance of getting an easier ball.” 

Communication is also a huge aspect of the team’s success and something they want to continue improving. Communicating properly amongst teammates can make passing the ball easier and can make them a more competitive team. 

“As a team, we would like to improve our communication on the court so we can pass any balls,” Schultz said.

Seller, Bolen and Schultz also all mentioned that they have learned a lot from some of the losses in the first half of the season. With such a young team, the first half of the season has been somewhat of a learning curve. 

“I learned that, as a young team, we must trust the process. We have a lot of talented players that have learned a lot throughout the pre-season and first half of season,” Seller said. “With the losses, we learned what we can improve upon and how we can work better as a team.” 

Bolen believes many of the losses come down to the team’s serve and that practices are the time to focus on bettering the serve. 

“We made some mistakes primarily in terms of serve, so we need to think about why we lost and why we made those mistakes so we can focus on fixing those in practice to get better.” Bolen said. 

The men’s volleyball team is going into the second half of their season and hope to finish off the season stronger than they started it. Going off of a strong win against Concordia Chicago, they have the confidence to keep the winning streak going. 

Their next game will be against North Central on Saturday, Feb. 26.