Club volleyball to host tourney

By Katie Munson

Men’s volleyball is not something that you will hear a lot about on campus, but for the 40-plus players who practiced Tuesday night at Huff Hall, volleyball is a serious sport.

“It’s one of the most competitive club teams we have at the University, and not that many people know about it,” said junior Doug Burchett, vice president of the club.

The Illinois Men’s Volleyball Club, or IMVB, is a Registered Student Organization and respected across the country as one of the elite collegiate volleyball clubs. IMVB consists of three teams competing in three separate divisions.

“It’s a pretty prestigious club team nationally, so we’re looking to at least keeping that prestige going,” added senior Chris Walstra.

As the IMVB’s most competitive squad, the blue team is consistently ranked at the top of the Big Ten, the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, or MIVA, and the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, or NIRSA.

The squad finished third in Division I eight of the last nine years and won the Big Ten Men’s Volleyball Association tournament two years in a row, as well as the MIVA in 2007.

This season was also the second consecutive year the team finished as the top squad in regular-season play.

The orange team, which competes in the second division of MIVA and NIRSA, finished in the top three of Division III its last three Nationals and has won the MIVA the last four years.

The white team competes locally, playing in six to seven tournaments a year.

“We have a lot of really good guys at all three levels,” said Burchett. “We’re just really competitive, It’s not really just a club sport. It’s really great competition throughout the entire year.”

The IMVB is coming off a very successful weekend at the Hoosier-Illini Classic, which saw the blue team go 8-0 to take the title while the orange team finished in a respectable ninth place.

“Our team is doing pretty well I think,” said senior Jim Covert, a member of the orange team.

“We took ninth at this last tournament against a bunch of (Division I) teams. We took down No. 6 Utah Valley State, so that was a really good time,”

This Saturday is a chance to see Illini men’s volleyball in action.

The blue team will be playing Purdue at 7:30 p.m., followed by the orange playing Illinois State at 8:30 p.m. in the Kenney Gym Annex.

“Both teams are ranked in the country right now, so it’s a great chance to see really competitive volleyball,” said Burchett.

Because the teams play in so many tournaments on the road, their excitement is even higher with the chance to play for the home crowd.

“Besides our home tournaments, this is like the only thing that we have here this year,” said Covert.