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Experience, new energy helps men’s volleyball thrive

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Club volleyball's

Club volleyball's "A" team won the Purdue Invitational tournament.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Club volleyball's "A" team won the Purdue Invitational tournament.

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The Marquette men’s volleyball “A” and “B” teams have aced the start of their season, going undefeated in the first three weeks.

Before winter break, both teams played in Purdue University’s fifth annual Boilermaker Classic to determine final preseason rankings. After facing some of its toughest competition, the “A” team won the tournament, defeating Purdue in its final matchup, while the “B” team went 5-1.

The Golden Eagles have now begun their regular season this semester with perfect 6-0 starts. Last weekend, the A team hosted a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament, crushing in-state rival University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 25-17, in both games.

This is not the first time Marquette has thrived on this stage. MIVA hosts a multitude of tournaments, the biggest of which is the MIVA Conference Championship, which the A team won for the first time in club history last year. They went to nationals and came up just short, finishing third overall after falling to Ohio State.

“A” team captain Chandler North is optimistic about the team. The senior in the College of Engineering attributed this early success to a more mature group with strong leadership.

“We have a strong senior class that knows what has to get done,” North said. “A lot more scrimmaging and learning and growing as players, which allows us to not do as many slow, boring drills all the time.”

Tommy King, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the “B” team captain, has noticed increased energy from some of the newer players on the team, particularly freshmen Joey Cable and Robbie Lauer.

“When you get new people on the team, you don’t know how they are going to fit in,” King said. “(Cable and Lauer) are always open to trying new things on the court and always willing to adapt. They are very vocal and enjoy being a part of the team.”

Cable’s role as setter makes it particularly easy for him to get involved in big moments. “Being a setter, it’s easy to assume a leadership role, which has helped out a lot,” Cable said. “I contact the ball on every play, and I determine who gets to swing, so having a good relationship with those guys and knowing that (any player) will put the ball down and get a kill is important.”

Even though he is new this year, Lauer has thrown himself into the experience of playing for one of the top club teams in the country.

“Our club team is probably one of the most competitive in the nation, and it is overlooked how competitive it gets with club,” Lauer said. “I think each team and each player brings his own level of leadership experience, and I don’t want to just be an observer.”

The task for both club volleyball teams is simple: compete for a national title. So far, they’re off to a good start.

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