Men’s Volleyball Ready for Season to Begin

The Flyers look forward to a promising season.

David Ridderhoff, Sports Editor

After a season which saw the Flyers’ men’s volleyball team come close to qualifying for national championships, expectations are high for the group of experienced players, mostly comprised of seniors.

“Our goal is ultimately to put ourselves in a position to win a national championship,” said head coach Dan Friend. “It’s our goal every year and we just need to make sure we’re in a position to do that.” Last season the team lost to Penn State in a play-in game, which allowed Penn State to face the upcoming national champions Loyola in the semi-finals. The Flyers’ four-set loss ended their season, but coming into this season, Friend believes his team is ready to make the next step.

“We just played Penn State, it was a split, five-set match. I haven’t seen all of the other teams but I’m confident we can do well against anyone,” said Friend. “We have a lot of upperclassmen who know what to expect and give us a lot of experience.” As of now, experience is a positive for the team, but they did lose a big part of their team from last season in setter BJ Boldog. Boldog, who earned a spot on the USA National Team at the Pan American Cup, has the most assists by a Flyer in the rally-scoring era starting in 2002. Replacing him is not an easy task, and as of now, there are two potential replacements: junior Scott Fifer and redshirt-freshman Gert Lisha. “They’re two guys who might not have the experience that some other players do, but they’re going to battle,” said Friend.

The team, as mentioned, played Penn State in a preseason tournament and were joined by York University from Toronto. The Flyers won the first set against Penn State, only to drop the next two. After winning set four, they were unable to pull out the victory in the fifth set. Fifer had 23 assists in the match while Lisha had 15. Senior Greg Petty led the team with 12 kills. The team then defeated York in four sets. “The team got better; from day one to day two, they progressed. I thought our serves got better too,” said Friend.

The team hosted the MIVA Preview on Sat., Oct. 25. The event featured five MIVA teams, as well as one non-MIVA member.

The Flyers will be playing one tournament in December, the Long Beach Tournament in Long Beach, Cali. That will be the final preseason tournament for the team who will begin their regular season schedule on Jan. 2 at home against Windsor University. After that first game, the team takes what has become a tradition for them, meeting against highly ranked West Coast teams. In a span of six days, the Flyers will face California Irvine, Stanford and BYU. Last season, California Irvine was the preseason no.1 team, while Stanford and BYU both qualified for the national championship, with Stanford finishing as runner-ups to Loyola. All three teams the Flyers will face are rated higher than no.6 in the nation. Despite the tough schedule to start the season, Friend believes that his team has a chance to do very well. “I think we’ll do well. We need to get tough competition to start the season to see where we’re at,” said Friend. “I like our chances, and we have a lot of reps to prepare for the matches.”

The team will be hosting a scrimmage for fans on Thurs., Nov. 13 at the Neil Carey Arena that will start at 7 PM. MIVA play for the team begins in February.

David Ridderhoff is a junior Radio/TV broadcast major. He is the sports editor for The Flyer. He is also the general manager of Lewis’ radio station, WLRA. As an avid sports fan, he also collects hats and jerseys from a variety of sports teams.

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