Club volleyball hosts first tourney

| Senior Sports Editor
Junior Ross Barthold spikes the ball against the College of DuPage at the Bears Classic on Oct. 17.

Junior Ross Barthold spikes the ball against the College of DuPage at the Bears Classic on Oct. 17. (Johann Qua Hiansen|Student Life)

While the girls are away, the guys did play.

For the first time in at least four years, the men’s club volleyball team, which is reestablishing itself on the club scene, hosted a tournament in the Athletic Complex.

The tournament

The Bears, heavily affected by teammates who went home for Fall Break, picked up one set win and dropped seven in the day. “We got a good look at what skills they bring to the table,” co-captain senior Ryan Winograd said.

Wash. U. saved some of their best volleyball for their first round elimination match against the College of DuPage. After tying the game at 18 each, Wash. U. was unable to sustain the momentum and fell 25-19 in the first set. The Red and Green stayed competitive throughout the second set. Down by seven points, the Bears clawed back to net the game at 21-21 by taking advantage of DuPage errors. DuPage escaped with a 25-22 win.

The tournament featured pool play in the morning with teams playing two sets of 21 points apiece. Later in the afternoon, teams competed in an elimination round. Schools represented in the seven-squad tournament included the College of DuPage, SIUE and Missouri S&T.

The program

“We like to keep an intense program as best we can,” Winograd said. “We don’t have a coach. We don’t have all the resources.” But the team has heart, practicing on South Campus for four hours a week on Monday and Thursday evenings.

Unlike in previous years, the club team has three captains. Winograd is in charge of Sports Club Federation interactions, senior Brad Pelz handles practices while junior Adrian Lee takes care of external duties such as entering tournaments. “It takes a group of people to work,” Pelz said.

The club men’s volleyball squad represents a wide diversity of both skill levels, ages and locations. According to the captains, some players have been playing competitive volleyball since middle school. The squad is composed of everyone from freshmen to some graduate students.

The Bears also come from a wide array of backgrounds. Pelz is an electrical engineer major while Lee looks to graduate with majors in finance and economics. Winograd is an economics major. Despite their workloads and other time commitments, the team makes time for volleyball.

“You can always make more time in the day if you really want to,” Winograd said.

In another sign of improvement, the Bears competed at Nationals for the first time in four years last season. Last year’s Nationals hosted more than 400 squads with some of the top teams in the country. “If you love volleyball, you want to be at Nationals,” co-captain junior Adrian Lee said. “You want to be in it.” The Bears are slated to compete in three tournaments in November and aim to compete in Nationals in the spring.

The next step for the Bears: “Practice on Monday,” Pelz said.

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