Men’s club volleyball hopes for final vault

Mens club volleyball hopes for final vault

By Cole Cruz

The Illinois Men’s Club Volleyball team is beginning the year looking for another successful season after having finished third in each of the last five seasons. This season, championship aspirations are high.

“We’ve taken third the past four years and I’m kind of sick of it,” said Jim Mazurski, a senior defensive-specialist. “I’d like to win it this year. That’s my goal as a senior.”

Chris Walstra, junior setter and President of Club Volleyball, played in last season’s semifinal loss to the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

“We were playing against the team that won (Oshkosh), and it was just back and forth the whole way,” said Walstra. “We had match points, they had match points. It came down to little plays…in the end.”

The loss to Oshkosh in the championships has led to a rededication to practice and hard work by all team members.

“We just want to be more competitive than we’ve ever been,” declared Doug Burchett, sophomore setter and Vice President of Club Volleyball. “We started out 100 percent more competitive this year and our focus is a lot better. Hopefully that pays off.”

The club team is actually split into three different teams labeled as ones, twos and threes. Ones are considered the highest competitive group, playing in anywhere from 10 to 12 tournaments a season. They also practice more, about eight hours a week, as opposed to twos and threes, who practice about three hours each week..

The twos have finished second and third respectively at nationals in the previous two club seasons.

Burchett believes that there is a “core group” of players on each level.

“I’d like to see both our ones and twos win nationals,” said Walstra. “We’ve got a lot of tournaments along the way, and we’d obviously like to do well in those. Ultimately, our goal is to win nationals.”

Mazurski believes added confidence will help the team reach their supreme goal.

“We have to try to become more confident when it comes to playing really good teams,” said Mazurski.

“We’ll always be one of the top three or four (teams) in any tournament we’re in, but it seems like we’ve never been able to finish off really good teams. I think we just have to try and play at a higher level,” he added candidly.

Illinois will kick-off its championship run at the Hoosier Fall Classic at Indiana University on Oct. 7. There is also a home tournament on Nov. 11.