By Daniel Kimmer, Contributing Writer
It was a cool, breezy Saturday night at Melvin Price Convocation Center (MPCC) on McKendree University’s campus. The men’s volleyball game was about to start, hosting Lewis University. Lewis University was ranked No. 10 in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) coming into the game. It was going to be a tough game for the Bearcats needless to say.
I walked inside MPCC directly towards the gymnasium, and the music was loud, volleyballs flying all over from teams warming up as the crowds in the stands were slowly starting to fill just before game time. I located my seat for the game, right in the middle section, second row, a stellar seat (I felt) to get the best experience for the game.
As I was sitting in my seat looking at all the action that is going on around me, I watched the two teams as they finalized their warm ups before the start of the game. Each team was huddled up, receiving a pregame pep-talk from their coach just before the start of the game. For the teams, there was a minute left on the clock, so they knew they were about to get started. As the two teams were getting in their positions, our men’s soccer team comes walking in as a group into the gym, chanting loud and clear, “Lewis, you suck! Lewis, you suck! Lewis, you suck!” As they were walking in and chanting, I glanced over at the two volleyball teams. McKendree was excited and amped up the soccer team was there to hackle Lewis as well as just to be loud and obnoxious during the game to bring them extra energy. On the other hand, Lewis University players were all laughing at the chant especially the reserved players on the bench. They eventually started chanting back, not making clear of what they were saying, but both teams were energized and ready for the game to start.
As the game got underway, the gymnasium was roaring and chanting, with hollering and yelling coming from everyone. It was so energetic and thrilling that my anticipation for this game was high and definitely ready.
McKendree and Lewis were smashing the volleyball back and forth going point for point with each other. All players were serving aggressively, setting up plays, and spiking the volleyball with great enormous force attempting to get a point for their team. The guys were hitting the volleyball so hard my eyes couldn’t keep track of it being hit back and forth at times.
Once the first set was completed, the Bearcats defeated Lewis University (25-22), with the game (set) being played to 25, with the team having to win by 2 points. During the intermission between sets, the gym was roaring with loud music as well as fans moving around talking with each other. The atmosphere was energetic inside MPCC.
Unfortunately, the next 3 sets, Lewis took them all (21-25, 15-25, 24-26), as well as completing and winning the match against the Bearcats.
And it was the final set, set 4, that was most exhilarating! Both teams going point-for-point the whole set not giving up on any play, diving and running trying to save every volleyball while giving it all they’ve got. With the match being 24-24, Lewis took the next point, making it the game and the match point for them. They served the volleyball forceful towards the Bearcats, who volleyed it back and forth until unfortunately the Bearcats hit the volleyball out of bounds, giving Lewis the point as well as the victory to the match.
Once the set was over, our men’s volleyball team all gathered within the court, facing the fans who attended; they all clapped and thanked us all for the support during tonight’s game. The game was not what I had expected it to be, and it was more than I imagined. The atmosphere during the game was something that immediately grabbed onto me to want to attend another game in the future, to be in the stands hollering and chanting to help support our McKendree Bearcats onto victory!