The senior-laden Men’s Volleyball squad is setting high expectations for themselves this season. A new coach brings a fresh approach for the five seniors who have seen three different coaches in their careers. “He’s a lot more intense and I think he adds value in our practices,” says senior right-side Greg Knight about new coach Gary Moore. “He’s created a new outlook for the team,” furthers outside hitter Chris Moise, senior.
Rounding out the senior class are setter John Barry, libero Travis Riesen, and middle John Grove. These seniors have achieved quite a bit individually. Barry comes into the year third on EMU’s Career Assists list while Moise can move into the Top 10 on EMU’s All-Time Kills list. He also led the team last year in kills, but close behind were Knight and Grove averaging 2.15 and 1.89 kills per game, respectively.
Urgency seems to be the buzz word surrounding this team setting to graduate almost half of the squad.
“There is definitely that now-or-never sense, at least for us [seniors],” explains Moise. “I think we have a new perspective of success this year that will meet our own expectations.”
“Coming to EMU, we were expected to bring success to the program,” adds Grove. “We haven’t quite lived up to what was expected. This year’s team has really refocused on developing a winning program. I think past teams have just been too relaxed. There was no sense of urgency.”
The system is a familiar one, but the way in which they operate has been revamped. “The processes are different, but the way in which we operate is basically what we have done before,” notes Greg Knight.
The impression the team wants to leave this year requires practicing with the focus of a game, something that has not always been achieved with past years’ teams.
Attempting to eclipse last year’s record of 11-14, this year’s team wants to and believes they have to place higher than the preseason rank of seventh out of the 8 teams in the Continental Volleyball Conference.
“I think we will surprise a lot of people with how we finish this year,” states Knight. “I’m confident this year will be the beginning of a new direction of the success of this program.”
The team has begun with wins in the annual alumni match and against Gaulladet with a resounding 3-0 victory. Moise and Sophomore Marc Lovell led the way with seven kills each and Barry had an astounding 24 assists. The Royals next play on the 26th at the Thiel Crossover Tournament in Greenville, Pennsylvania.
-Cutter Chisnell, Sports C0-Editor