BY LAUREN REEVES
The McKendree University men’s volleyball team would like to keep their winning streak going. The team had a three game winning streak behind them as they topped Barton College in five sets. However, the McKendree University men’s volleyball team fell 3-1 to Ball State University last Saturday evening in Muncie, IN. The loss moves McKendree to 9-10 overall on the season and 4-8 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.
This season our men’s volleyball teams has really been on the run. The team has competed in numerous matches on the road this season. Our Cats have traveled to each corner of the United States, but will return to us at home April 1st and 2nd for matches against Ohio State. The men would really love your home crowd support at each match.
Head Coach Nicolette Sanlin is very proud of the men’s performances as they continue their journey on the road. Coach Sanlin has some expectations for her team. “We have to stick to the process and put the team first. If we continue to have a strong work ethic, respect our opponents, and be appreciative of the work the man next to them is putting in then our tangible goals will be achieved.”
Not only is their coaching staff ready for the upcoming games, but the men are ready as well. Sophomore outside hitter Nolan Rueter says that they are ready for the games coming up. “We’ve been putting in work during practice. Nickie and Duck do a great job on the scouting reports and our film sessions.” Even though the team has encountered a few losses, Rueter has been optimistic this season. “The season has over all been very positive. We’ve lost a few matches that I think we could have won but we gained positives out of the losses.”
Junior middle blocker, Wyatt Patterson, is also excited to see the team heat up as their season continues. In mid season, Patterson suffered an injury, but is ready to get back on the court to prove why our Bearcats are number one. “I’m excited to get back to conference games and get a chance to move higher in the conference.” Patterson like his other teams and supporters are ready to hit the courts to compete with the games ahead. “My favorite thing about the game is the competition itself. All the teams we play challenge us, so no match is an easy win. Good competition is always fun.”
Besides the nerves before the games, we wanted to know what really gets the Cats going before a game. Rueter and Patterson took time to recall what really goes on in the locker room before a game. “We like to take our time in the locker room before games and listen to music and goof around with each other. Once it’s match time we like to play with fire,” accounts Rueter.
The locker rooms this season have not been their own this season, but the boys certainly make some interesting memories in them. “Rowdiness really rallies up the guys. It’s a way that helps us perform better on the court. We don’t have anything in particular that we say or do, we just let our outlandish personalities take over,” says Patterson.
Though the team pumps themselves up while on the road, they are excited to come home. The men and coaches are ready to be with their fans at home on their own court. “For the team to be successful versus extremely tough opponents we need our fans to be behind us 100%,” remarks Coach Sanlin. “I would love for the campus community to get to know myself and the team, so they feel that they have a personal stake in the outcome of our matches. I’ve seen the Bearcat fans lift up our sports teams when they need an extra push, I’d like to see that same atmosphere versus a nationally ranked Ohio State team.” She wants the McKendree to come out and shout out the men’s volleyball team for the first home match on April 1st and 2nd.
On behalf of the team, Rueter really wants to let the fans know that they are a big part of the experience. “My favorite thing about the game is the people you get to meet,” says Rueter. “but also it feels good when you make a good play or hearing the crowd get behind you after big points.” The team really wants to let the fans know they mean a lot to them and the overall match experience.
Don’t forget to come out and root for your Bearcats at the Statham center on April 1st and 2nd for exciting matches against Ohio State!