By Dylan Powell, Head Sports Writer
Photos taken and collected by Sadie Miyler
McKendree athletic teams have been on a roll to start 2022. With the new year, spring sports kick off, one of those being men’s volleyball. The team is currently starting at a 2-3 record, playing four of those five games on the road.
Athletes know that success can sometimes come from location advantage, and it is not an easy task to travel and play in other gyms and stadiums. Playing at home brings an edge, which is what is coming in the next few weeks as the Bearcats will be taking on three opponents at home from Feb. 4 through Feb. 12 in matchups against Maryville University, Ohio State University and Ball State University.
The men’s volleyball team boasts two graduate players and four seniors. The squad’s offensive attack by the upperclassmen has been another excellent factor in their recent games, led by graduate students Patrick Ross and Ethan Carroll. Another set of redshirt seniors, Tommy McGrath and Ryan Serrano have also contributed highly to the offense. On the defensive side of the team, senior Francisco Comas has led the way in digs for each of the last two games, setting season-highs in the matchups against King University and Lincoln Memorial University.
One new Bearcat has been making his presence known on the court, too! Freshman outside hitter Kevin Schuele has been on a roll, posting 25 kills and 23 digs in a four-game span.
Speaking with redshirt senior Ryan Serrano, he told me the competitive spirit is the driving force of the team’s successes so far: “I think what has contributed to our early success is how competitive our practice gym is. Our coaches push us hard every day to achieve our goals. Everybody shows up to practice with the intent to get better, making the others around them better.”
This season is still very fresh for the Bearcats, and there is a lot of home volleyball action coming to McKendree over the next few weeks. The team would be thrilled to have a large support in their home matchups through the spring! The dates for upcoming games are listed below:
– February 10 @ 7 p.m. vs. Ohio State University
– February 12 @ 7 p.m. vs. Ball State University
– February 24 @ 7 p.m. vs. Loyola University-Chicago
– March 4 & 5 @ 7 p.m. vs. Pepperdine University
– March 12 @ 2 p.m. vs. Lincoln Memorial University
– March 19 @ 5 p.m. vs. Lewis University
– March 26 @ 5 p.m. vs. Purdue University-Fort Wayne
– April 7 @ 7 p.m. vs. Lindenwood University
– April 9 @ 5 p.m. vs. Quincy University
There is a lot of optimism and buzz around campus about many of our spring sports, and men’s volleyball is no stranger to that. Excitement and high expectations will keep the Bearcats rolling, as they will find ways to win on the road and at home. When I asked Ryan about the team goals for the 2022 season, he commented, “Our goal for this season is to win Conference and make an appearance in the NCAA tournament. We have set ourselves up to achieve this goal and it is up to us to make sure it happens.”
It is highly recommended to anyone to go catch a game if possible. Let’s stack the stands this semester and support the Bearcats!