Men’s volleyball team begins season

Abby Starkenburg — Staff writer

As Dordt University’s Men’s Volleyball team begins the new season, it is implementing many changes from last year. One of the main things the team has worked to improve this season is their trust in each other.

“The trust is so much higher,” Chad Hanson, Head Men’s Volleyball Coach, said. “[It is shown in] how we pass and do every other skill on the court.”

Hanson said he is most proud of his team for not backing down when the sport gets rough: specifically by trusting each other. It allows for a lot of problem-solving moments, which Hanson said are the “greatest hallelujah praise the Lord experiences.”

While there has been improvement, the team is not done yet. The team hopes to build such great trust in each other that it becomes instinctual.

Andres Guzman, or as he calls himself, “The Pretty Face of the Team,” plays as an outside hitter.

“I think that we are in a good spot, more prepared than ever, but we are not there yet,” Guzman said.

The team has focused on character and community development as much as improving their technical volleyball skills.

“The mental shift that the team has had has been huge,” Guzman said. “It’s not all about volleyball. You need to care about your faith, classes, and social life.”

One of the ways the team worked on their team development was by camping together in Hawarden on a team-bonding trip.
“It was brutally cold, but it was so much fun,” Carter Raiche, a defensive specialist, said.

Madilynn Scarpantonio, one of the managers for the team, said the team’s greatest strength is the community they have built.

“[They are] very uplifting, and take criticism very well,” Scarpantonio said. “They are a great team, and seeing the guys grow community is awesome.”

A large part of the effective team building they are pursuing comes through communication.

“We are expected to be loud even in drills,” Raiche said.

The team has had the opportunity to showcase their communication skills in their recent matches, with hardly a silent moment from them on the court.

Team members put in a lot of preparation before the season, with practices, lifts, and team meetings almost every day. Many returning players said the time commitment has increased since last season.

In almost every practice, the team sets goals to help challenge and unite them.

Goals are helpful because they are “numerical so that you can quantify it,” Guzman said.

The team has three official matches under their belt so far.

In their first competitive match of the season, they won all three sets against Central Christian College.

In another recent match against the Kansas Wesleyan University team, the Defenders won 3-0 again. During this match, Dordt took time to honor the seniors on the team for their contributions and personal character.

Dordt’s most recent match, against the University of Jamestown, went to five long sets. In set four, the Defenders battled to a 30-28 set win. The team battled hard but ultimately lost 2-3.

The team will play next on Friday, February 10 in Jamestown, North Dakota at the Jamestown Classic.

Photo credit: Dordt University Athletics

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