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Men’s volleyball team makes headway

February 18, 2008

They’ve got double the team. They have 16 fit guys ready to pounce. They are strategically placed for maximum performance. UW-River Falls doesn’t have an official men’s volleyball team, but the two men’s volleyball club teams have been heating things up this winter.

On Feb. 1, the UWRF men’s volleyball teams played their fourth tournament of the season in Mankato, Minn. at the Otto Arena. It is one of 11 tournaments that will be held this season before the conference in late March.

UWRF was one of only two universities in the tournament that has two teams. RF Red made it to the silver bracket at the tournament and RF Black did well in the gold bracket.

“The place was packed. There weren’t a lot of our friends there [in Mankato] but we were doing well. We had beaten three or four teams that we have never beaten before,” said Jack Dunn, UWRF student, and men’s volleyball club president.

Winona State University, Michigan Tech, MSU-Mankato and Bethel University were among those that the RF Black defeated. In their third season, the team is glad to have all but one starter back from last year.

“Everyone has gotten better and better,” Dunn said, “We’ve started out well. I have high hopes for this year.”

The men’s volleyball teams are still recruiting players if anyone is interested in joining a great, athletic volleyball team through the University. Practices are held twice a week in Karges Center, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

The team is also interested in hosting a home tournament on campus in hopes of sparking more of an interest in upcoming games throughtout the campus community.

“We want people to know that anyone is welcome. We would love to have fans attend the games,” said Damon Liberatore, UWRF student and RF Black coach.

The interest to host a volleyball tournament on the UWRF campus is held high for the team, but they have struggled with the administration for an arena and the funds.

“We’re not able to schedule tournaments here. Varsity and intramurals always come first. It’s like we’re treated like third class citizens by being a club team instead,” Liberatore said. “Although Kurran [Sagan] is amazing. He’s helped us out a lot.”

After competing in MSU-Mankato’s two-year-old modern courts, which have treadmills in the skyways above their heads and are fully equipped with flat-screen computers, the team wonders why they cannot even obtain a decent hour to practice. 

“If we are going to have club sports, we need Karges to be open for us to practice. 10 p.m. to midnight at Knowles is not an ideal time to practice, but that is the only time the space is available,” Liberatore said.

With limited gymnasiums and a tight budget, the University must provide the facilities that will be contributing the funds to keep the buildings and the organizations running.

“This issue exists at most universities. It’s a sad fact. We only have two buildings here to accommodate so many teams,” Sagan said. “To use a facility off-campus would be pricey.”

What the men’s volleyball team essentially needs is the support of the student body.

“Even though we have two teams, there is always room for more. We would love to have people join us. Even if you don’t think you’re any good at volleyball, we have amazing coaches. If I can learn how to play the game, then anyone can,” said Brandon Frank, UWRF student and RF Red team captain.

Editor’s note: In the article “Men’s volleyball team makes headway” published Feb. 15, the practice location was incorrectly listed. The article said the team practices at Karges, but they actually practice at Knowles.