The University of Wisconsin-Stevnes Point men’s volleyball club has faced adversity this season and hopes to finish strong at nationals.
The team has been on campus since the 1990s, and is the first men’s college volleyball club team in the state. The team has seen recent success finishing fifth in the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation Division I-AAA tournament.
The team consists of nine players and plays in one of the best conferences called the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference. The WVC consists of the University of Wisconsin System schools, Marquette University, and Wheaton College out of Illinois.
Club president Jon Tuttle and club treasurer Jeremy Gaveske, members of the team for four years, consider the WVC to be one of the toughest, possibly best conferences, in the nation for club volleyball.
“The WVC is known as the top conference in the nation,” Gaveske said. “ It is such a hard conference, that it is easy to beat non-conference teams.”
“It is the toughest Division II conference. It is a humbling experience when playing conference opponents,” Tuttle said. “ Anytime out of conference, we do well.”
After a tough season of conference play, the team is making another trip back to the NCVF national tournament. This year the tournament is from April 2-5, in Reno, Nev.
Both Tuttle and Gaveske feel the tough conference schedule will help them when it comes to playing at nationals.
“I think we will finish in the top half of teams this year,” Tuttle said.
“Being in a tough conference gives us an advantage over teams in conferences that aren’t as big,” Gaveske said.
This year has been tough for the club as they have faced many adversities. Early in the season they lost players due to injuries and players leaving.
“It has been a season of adversity,” Tuttle said. “Our setter didn’t comeback, our middle quit, and we have three new guys on the court.”
Finding new players that have played before is a challenge for the club.
“Volleyball isn’t big in Stevens Point. It is hard to find players,” Gaveske said.
“It’s tough not having experienced players, and teaching new ones. Other players in other schools have played before,” Tuttle said.
To find players, the team usually recruits through intramurals and also utilizes the volleyball bash at the beginning of the school year to find new players.
“We take anyone we can get. Lot of momentum beginning of the year to get players,” Tuttle said.
Preseason activities begin in September, with the main part of the season beginning in second semester. The team plays 12 matches with four at home in Berg Gym. They also play in five tournaments. The season usually ends the first week in April after the national tournament.
Anyone is free to join the club team and Tuttle has hopes for new players and for the team to succeed in the future.
“I hope we get some new talent next year. We have four guys graduating, and need some young guys to step up,” Tuttle said.