- Evening, Weekend & Online Programs
- ALUMNI RELATIONS
- GIVING TO LAKELAND
- ABOUT LAKELAND
Since moving to the Division I level of club volleyball, the Lakeland Muskies have experienced nothing but success. Two years ago, Lakeland finished 21st in their first year of Division I, and last season the Muskies took third place. This season, the Muskies look to continue their success and compete for a national championship once again.
"Our eventual goal is to win the Division I National Championship," said head coach Chad Schreiber. "Our goal from here on out is, now that we got to this point, to be one of those teams. Not that our season is a failure if we don't win the national championship, but right now our goal is to put ourselves into a position to win the whole thing if we can."
The Muskies are strong on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. But this year's team doesn't have any true standout player, but a collection of solid players all-around.
"When I talk to other people about us, they all say something different," said Schreiber. "The feedback I get from people isn't, 'Oh, you're a great offensive or defensive team' or that 'he's your best player.' One team thinks that (sophomore) Avdo Omerbegovic is our best player. Another one thinks (junior) Matt Martin is our best player. Another thinks our freshman Joe Julkowski is one of the best player's in the conference already. Every time I talk to someone, they throw out a different name.
"One team thinks we are a great team because of our diverse offense. Another team thinks we are the best blocking team in the conference. I think the fact we don't have any standouts makes us a pretty solid all-around team."
Lakeland will be relying on senior Adam Plach, a second team All-American last season, and Martin, who Schreiber thinks should be among the top three or four players in the conference, to lead the team this season.
The Muskies are an extremely young team as they are carrying 11 freshmen on the squad this season and they will only lose one player, graduate student Mike Smolinski, to eligibility next year. So Schreiber hopes this group of players can be competitive for the next several seasons.
"Our expectations of our younger guys are that they push the guys ahead of them and get to the level of our starters as soon as possible, so we can reload every year instead of rebuild," said Schreiber.
The Muskies are members of the Wisconsin Conference and Midwest 10 Conference, which features the top three teams in the nation from last season -Marquette, Oshkosh and Lakeland finished in the top three at the national tournament last season. The Wisconsin Conference has seven teams total, and four of them are ranked in the top 25 in Division I and two of them are ranked in the top 10 at Division II.
"We have good competition because we are going to see them in both conferences and see them at every tournament we go to," said Schreiber. "I think outside of California, this is the toughest area to play volleyball in."
Lakeland is also a member of the MIVA, which also includes Illinois, who finished fourth at last year's nationals.
Lakeland hopes that facing these teams in conference and tournament play will help prepare them to bring a National Championship back to the Lakeland campus.