April 5, 2016
By Christopher Sich
The Dominican University Men’s Volleyball team currently has a 16-7 record and is looking to finish strong in their final two games of the season against conference rivals Lakeland College and Marian University.
With the players being busy with school and volleyball, it is important to give them rest and give them a mental refresh.
“I sort of taken pride in where I put myself in your [student-athletes] shoes; when I need a mental break, I can only imagine how [players] need a mental break, we try to make sure that we keep their bodies fresh and give them time off,” said Head Coach Daniel Ames. “We haven’t played in two weeks and last week we had only two practices, and I can tell that a few of the guys, after they had those four days off, came back jumping better and a little bit more agile, they just seemed fresh.”
The Stars have lost a couple starters for the year, freshman Adam Eboli who had knee surgery and junior Zach Sim who wound up getting a medical waiver, so it is important to keep everyone healthy.
“Junior Jeremy Royko has done an amazing job of stepping up and has probably been our team MVP up until this point, and sophomore Luke Spicer has stepped up as well and has been very strong, so that has helped,” Ames said. “The thing we have struggled on is having that guy like Zach on the outside to put a ball away when you need it; he was a player of the week, and then missed the rest of the year.”
This much needed break came just in time as the end of the season approaches.
“Our goal is to win the conference tournament, but first we have to get in and win this weekend,” Ames said. “The ball is in our court, we need a little bit of health, but first and foremost we have to care of our business.”
The team’s passing and strong defense have been present throughout the second half of the season since the two injuries, and the Stars hope to continue their strong defensive play against Lakeland.
Having already played Lakeland and won three sets to zero, the Stars expected to come out victorious on April 1, as they faced the Muskies in the second to last game of the season. The Stars though suffered a disappointing loss and were swept three sets to zero. The Muskies now moved ahead of the Stars in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League standing into a three-way tie for third, as the Stars fell to fourth.
After the tough loss to Lakeland, all the team can do now is focus on their next match on April 2 against Marian University.
“Marian is a first year team that has had some ups and downs, they are a two-horse team that if we can stop their two-horses, it will make it a little easier on us,” Ames said.
Regardless of how the season ends, the team has steadily improved each and every day.
“My goal this year was to not look back and have a couple losses we shouldn’t have, and there is a couple,” Ames said. “But I am happy where they have progressed, every year they have gotten better and continue to get better.”