Club team gives men opportunity to compete with other colleges

TEMP ORARY November 14, 2012 0

A few years ago, the idea of a men’s volleyball team at Elizabethtown College was only a dream for many students. A team that had been initially created at the College in the ‘70s had been out of commission for many years. This was the case until Keenan Schaffer and Doug Summerson resurfaced the program five years ago. Though there had not been enough interest to create a team before, interest has grown considerably. The team, which only began with seven players in 2007, now has 22 men on the roster.
At the beginning of the program’s re-inception, the club was not very successful, but over the past five years the club has not only been growing in numbers but also in skill. Junior Chris Hartman, who has been on the team since his first year of college, talked about the growth of the club over his time at Etown. “We’ve only gotten better over the three years I’ve been here. We have a lot more guys than we did when I first got here,” Hartman said. “It also helps that many of us are friends and hang out off the court as well.”
The club’s first match of the year came against York College. The match went very well for the Blue Jays, with them coming out victorious, winning three sets to one. This match was also the club’s DIG Pink match, in which the team helped to raise money for breast cancer research in partnership with the women’s varsity team.
The victory over York was fostered by a strong senior presence on the Jays’ roster. The team has five returning seniors on the roster, including Adam Thompson, who spoke about the win over York. “We play really well as a team,” Thompson said. “It really helps that we now have a coach that can help us when we practice.” Former volleyball player and senior Kayla Timmer has been coaching the team this season, with the help of junior Melissa Dorsey.
Over Homecoming, the club decided to sell shirts at the Midway Fair to raise funds for the club’s jerseys and travel expenses. The shirts were so popular that the team sold out. “Since we are a club we have to buy all of our own uniforms and equipment, but our fundraising helps with the costs,” Thompson said. Also during Homecoming Weekend, some alumni approached current team members who had played on the club team in 2000, and now both parties are in the works of setting up a alumni game during the spring season.
This past weekend, the club made its way to Messiah College for the first tournament of the year. The club played four matches while at the rival college. Although the team did not come out victorious during the tournament, it was not without the full effort of the team and its leaders. “It was good experience but we played some very tough teams. We were missing our all-star setter and libero so we struggled at times, but we still learned from our mistakes,” Hartman said.
The club’s next tournament will be held here at Etown Nov. 17. This will be the second year in a row that the Blue Jays will host a tournament on their home turf. Some of the teams that will be in attendance include Temple University, DeSales University and St. Joseph’s University. In all, there will be 11 different schools competing in Thompson Gymnasium on Saturday.
“We just want for people to come out and support us at our games like the tournament on Nov. 17 to see how far the men’s club volleyball team has come along and improved,” Hartman said.
With the growing success of the team over the past five years and an increasing interest from the campus community, the club can look forward to a bright future.

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