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Men’s volleyball has successful season

April 24, 2008

  The UW-River Falls men’s club volleyball teams just capped off their best season in the club’s three-year history.

UWRF Team Black, the club’s first team, was one of the best teams in the 18-team Northern Intercollegiate Volleyball Conference (NIVC), notching a match record of 15-3, according to the NIVC Web site. The NIVC is composed of teams from upper Midwestern schools such as Bethel University, North Dakota State University and Michigan Technological University.

Two years worth of hard work finally paid off this season for Team Black.

  “The first two seasons were a building process for us, so it felt good to finally have a successful season,” middle-hitter Kevin Schmidt said.

  Team Black was recognized by the NIVC for its outstanding season by having three players named to the NIVC all-conference team. Right-side hitter Damon Liberatore, left side hitter Dan Rusk, and the team’s setter Trevor Fletcher, received the accolade.

“It was nice to finally be recognized, but it would have been nice to have been recognized a couple of years earlier,” Liberatore said.

  Liberatore is Team Black’s co-captain and one of the club’s founding members, along with Team Black’s other captain, libero [defensive specialist] Jack Dunn. Liberatore is the team’s senior member at 30 years of age, and he said that he felt that he was more in his prime a couple of years ago and would have liked to have been recognized as one of the most outstanding players in the NIVC then.

  UWRF’s second men’s club team, Team Red, also improved on their record from last year.

“I hoped we would have done better than we did, but I’m proud of what we did,” Team Red co-captain and middle-hitter Brandon Frank said. “We lost some close matches, but we were able to get some wins.”

  Team Red posted a 3-10 overall match record in the NIVC, according to the NIVC Web site.

“We had a lot of untapped potential,” Frank said. “If we would have had a couple more players it would have helped a lot.”

  Team Red had problems getting players to commit to the team for the entire season, and subsequently had to shuffle the lineup over the course of the season, so it took longer for the team to gel, Frank said. 

  The volleyball club combined members from its two teams to compete in the national tournament in Dallas, Texas April 10-12. The National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association [NIRSA] organized the tournament.

  “The tournament didn’t go as well as we would have hoped, but it was a worthwhile experience nonetheless,” Team Black middle hitter Kyle Schaffer said.

  This year the team was one of the first teams eliminated from play, but last year the team competed in the same tournament in Austin, Texas and they were champions of their bracket.

  The club is always looking for more players, and the need to bring in more players next season is more than evident since the teams have five graduating seniors.

  More information for those interested in learning about or joining the club can be found on its Web site at http://www.uwrf.edu/mvbc/welcome.html.