The men’s volleyball team defeated the Rutgers-Newark Scarlet Raiders in the Continental Volleyball Conference (CVC) championship on Saturday, April 9. The team is set to play third-seeded Carthage College in the first round of the NCAA Division III men’s volleyball tournament at Nazareth College on April 22.
“This season so far has been a huge success. Our team’s goal was to win the conference and we did just that,” said head coach Steve Grossnickle. The Mustangs (25-7) hope to continue their triumphant season in the national tournament later this month.
RALLYING AGAINST RUTGERS-NEWARK
The team suffered what Grossnickle called a “tough loss” to Rutgers-Newark on March 25. “Going up there and playing poorly was difficult,” he added, noting that the Mustangs has previously beaten the Scarlet Raiders at home in February. Despite the loss a week prior, the Mustangs came out on top defeating the Scarlet Raiders 3-0. Grossnickle added: “We knew they were going to be the team we had to beat… it was pretty incredible.”
“It was such a rush of adrenaline and happiness that can only truly be felt when you are part of a championship, it was a dream come true,” said setter Kyle Johnson.
Now, the Mustangs are more focused than ever. The team hopes to pull out wins during the NCAA tournament.
“I believe getting past Carthage will spark the confidence needed to beat any team in the tournament,” said Johnson. He hopes the team will “focus on one game at a time, play each point as though it could be our last, and stick together… if we do this, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.”
According to Grossnickle, the team has been running scouting practices and watching film of their opponents in order to prepare for the tournament. The Mustangs are not thinking about next season until this season has come to an end, he added.
“We don’t plan to stop now that we made the tournament. Getting to NCAAs was our primary goal this season, just like [it has been] the last few,” mentioned outside hitter Nick Gross. He added the team plans to fight as hard as they can for the national championship.
Fans can follow the men’s volleyball team as they make their inaugural appearance in an NCAA tournament. For more information, visit the team’s news page on GoMustangSports.