Duhawks collect 1st conference victory

Men's Volleyball
photo by Christina Ney/Loras College Athletics

Progress, improvement, growth. No matter what word one uses to describe it, the men’s volleyball team has embodied it this season. The team currently sits at a 6-6 overall record with more than half the season left to play. Although there are some tough opponents remaining on the schedule, the Duhawks have what it takes to make waves this year.

The team has already proven they are a contender in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League (MCVL) by collecting their first conference victory on Friday over North Central. Not only was this an important win as it was the first in conference season, but it was a road victory as well.

Loras took the match in four sets, and a true team effort contributed to the win as several Duhawks filled the stat sheet. Freshmen Greg Kinney and Ryan Galvan each recorded nine kills in the match. Sophomore setters Danny Krasich and Shayne Marquez added 24 and 16 assists, respectively. Sophomore libero Blair Anderson tallied a team-high of 10 digs, and Krasich added nine.

Friday’s match, however, featured a standout performance from sophomore Dylan Ross. This season, Ross has proven he can play all around the court, and it has been very beneficial for Loras. Ross recorded 11 kills, three blocks and six digs against North Central. He is averaging 1.98 kills per set and 0.84 blocks per set this season. He is definitely in transition to being a leader of the team.

Even though Ross has been impactful for the Duhawks this season, in reality, each member of the team plays a crucial role. Head coach Jeremy Thornburg is proud of the fact that, at any given moment, anyone on his roster can step up to the occasion and play volleyball.

Going forward, the Duhawks’ focus will be a defensive mindset. Coach Thornburg would like to see his team improve in this area in the hopes of collecting more wins in the MCVL. He noted this in a postgame interview on Friday.

“Defense is a mentality, and we pride ourselves on that. We are good at defense, but we can get better of course. Our discipline has to improve. We are a young team, so we have to get used to seeing some new things out there. We are making steps in the right direction, so I’m proud of them,” Thornburg said.

Thornburg is correct in that his team is very young. The roster is composed of all underclassmen with the exception of one junior. Nevertheless, the team plays with a developed talent. The harnessing of their skills will be important as they prepare to face a more veteran team on Friday, Feb. 19, against Carthage.

“It’s (facing Carthage) going to be a battle, but if we go out and play our volleyball, you never know what happens. We have to play Loras College volleyball from start to finish,” Thornburg said.

The Duhawks will look to record their second MCVL win on Friday against Carthage on the road. The team will play their first conference match on Lillis Court in the Athletic and Wellness Center on Friday, Feb. 26, against MSOE.

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