Men's Volleyball -Big Fish in a Big Pond
March 3, 2003
One of the best things about club volleyball is the opportunity it presents for Lakeland to compete with the largest and most athletically prestigious schools in the nation. This weekend was an example of that and the Muskie men's volleyball team shocked the volleyball world. The team took second at the Hoosier-Illini tournament at Indiana University consisting of 28 teams, 16 of which are ranked in the top 25 in the nation. Key defeats of the weekend include the Division I 6th, 7th and 8th ranked teams, Penn State, UW-Oshkosh and Ball State, respectively.
Their biggest victory though, came in the semifinals when Lakeland knocked off the #1 team in the country Indiana University in a tight, three-game match (25-23, 28-30, 19-17). Coach Chad Schreiber said, "the match was the best college match I've ever seen" and states that despite intimidating factors including Indiana's home crowd and their impressive ranking, "The guys acted like class individuals . . . and focused like winners."
After the win against Indiana, Lakeland fell to the DI #21 ranked University of Illinois (25-22, 25-16) in the finals to take second overall in the tournament.
Middle hitters Chris Gornik and Pat Klinkert were named to the All-Tournament team for their performances over the weekend. Gornik had 10 kills and 5 blocks against Indiana. Klinkert was also named Player of the Week for the conference for his efforts this weekend. Schreiber also credits outside hitters Dave Koch and Jon Lewicki as major contributors to the victories over the weekend.
Dmitry Batishchev played his last matches with the Muskies on Sunday. The 3-year starter will be sorely missed, but the combo of Mike Smolinski and Mark Johnston has already begun to fill his shoes with some playing time this weekend.
On the year, the team is hitting an impressive .329 and according to Schreiber, "That kind of hitting percentage is only possible if you have five guys who are putting the ball away and a setter who is making good decisions and distributing the ball well." Lakeland, it seems, has all of these things and continues to prove just how solid their team is.