Duhawks depend on team diversity

Men’s volleyball team switches things up in practice to prepare for game time

Photo by Natalie Droeske. The men’s volleyball team celebrates a kill by junior Austin Kuchenbecker.

Competing in their fourth season in the history of the program, the men’s volleyball team has got it down.

“This year, everyday they’re playing with someone new next to them and it’s always rotating because I think we’re talented enough that anyone can step in on any given day and perform and do what we need them to do,” said head coach Jeremy Thornburg.

The Duhawks currently sit at 5-3 overall, though have yet to face a conference opponent. Most recently, the men took on the Aurora University Spartans at home on Feb. 3. Despite the loss, the Duhawks forced Aurora to five sets, battling hard and taking the first set 25-19 after an opening lead 14-7. Some shifts in momentum allowed the Spartans to take the next two 25-18 and 25-12.

The Duhawks then forced a fifth set, ending the fourth with a kill by first-year Ian Walsh, ending the game 25-20. Walsh had a total of eight kills throughout the match, and currently holds the team best attacking average at .430. Despite a tie in overall kills, 49, Aurora then took the final set 18-16.

The attacker for the afternoon, though, was first-year Mihajlo Gomez, tallying 14 total kills, a hitting percentage of .267, and two service aces. While each match will have its standouts, the 2018 team fails at one thing: to rely on a select few players.

“That’s one of the keys for us: we have someone different dominate everyday… I think it makes it really tough for other teams because they never know who is going to step up for us,” said Thornburg. “When it comes to play, we have a lot of people doing great things … and when we control our side of the court and have fun, we look pretty darn good.”

Chemistry, as a major factor of the sport, is something this squad has down and can be attributed to the present healthy dose of diversity. Rostering seven first-years, three sophomores, six juniors, and two seniors, not to mention a six-man reserves team, these Duhawks have quite literally built the program from the ground up. And they’ve been nothing but welcoming to incoming challengers.

“We have a lot of veteran experience this year but we also have a lot of newbies to push, so it makes those veterans better and challenges the new guys,” said Thornburg. “Our veterans are showing them the standard of excellence we’ve put out so far in the last few years, and they’ve bought in.”

The Duhawks, after a cancellation with Maranatha Baptist late last week, were back in action last Friday, Feb. 16, vs. Wittenberg.

 

Due to technological difficulties, articles from the Feb. 15 issue were posted late. The Lorian apologizes for the late update.

Add a Comment