Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Men’s club volleyball digs their way to nationals

Augustana men’s club volleyball team competed in the annual National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF) tournament in Kansas City, MO, on the weekend of April 18. The team played hard and fought to the top of their bracket.

The tournament had a large number of participants from different schools. Colleges such as Northwestern University and Florida State University brought their best to these matches. 

“During the regular season, we moved up two or three divisions,” senior and vice president Nick Philips said. “And so for a tiny school like Augustana to go up against and beat these teams is pretty cool.”

On the first day of pool play, the men’s club volleyball team took some major losses going up against Division 1 club teams. However, as the tournament wrapped up for the weekend, they were able to bounce back and have a few wins for the seniors’ last tournament. 

“This is your seniors’ last tournament—you want to do good, right, and then we just absolutely blew it,” sophomore Dorian Hull said. “It went really well after the first two days. But yeah, [going to nationals] was an amazing experience.”

Unlike the men’s varsity team, this squad is entirely student-run. There are no coaches and no fancy equipment for this club team to use. In contrast, the varsity team has all of the equipment and amenities that the men’s club volleyball does not get, such as proper coaching and newer equipment. 

With the team being student-run, upperclassmen on the team tend to take on different positions in comparison to other sports teams. For example, senior and president of men’s club volleyball, Luis Navarrete, acts not only as a player on the team but also as a coach. He was able to step in and be the coach that the team needed, along with Phillips, to improve every day and get to the point where they could compete competitively at nationals.

“I tried to show them how to deal with frustration,” Navarratte said. “We do not let the opposite team see that we are frustrated. That transmits to the board title. You mess up, move on.” 

Despite some challenges the team faces in regards to not being a varsity team, they have quite a few advantages. One of them is being given more freedom than an athlete usually would have if playing in a varsity sport. As a club team, they don’t have to commit to things like mandatory weights sessions. This allows club athletes to still participate in volleyball while having a more “regular life” outside the sport. 

“Having the freedom to have a regular life and also be in a club sport is nice,” Phillips said. “It [the competition] is more lighthearted. When you’re going to tournaments and you’re playing teams, you’re not trying to kill the people on the other side of the mat. It’s a club sport, and it is serious at times, we make friends with other teams. It is less time commitment and more friendly.”

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