Men’s volleyball bounces back

Brady Van Deurzen

The UW Oshkosh men’s volleyball team went on the road to participate in a tri-meet at Michigan Tech University on Feb. 27 and defeated both Michigan Tech and UW-Eau Claire. The wins in Michigan marked the Titans’ first win since their loss to Marquette in the Midwest 10 Tournament Championship on Feb. 21. Captain Travis Hudson said he didn’t see the championship loss negatively; he saw it as a major weight off an undefeated chest. “I think that this loss has shown us what was necessary,” Hudson said. “Going undefeated comes with a lot of expectations, but because that is out of the window, we can just play now.” Junior left-side hitter Sammy Pedersen said the wins in the tri-meet were a stepping stool they needed to get themselves back to their winning ways. “Coming off a tougher weekend playing at Midwest 10, we didn’t play to the level we expected of ourselves,” Pedersen said. “So we were able to use our wins to get us back on track and heading in the right direction.” Pedersen is just one of the many players on the team to contribute in both wins over the weekend. Pedersen’s contribution is a must for the Titans due to health issues the team has withstood so far this season. “Injuries have been a big factor this year,” Travis Hudson said. “The past couple years they weren’t as big of an issue, but this year they have affected us. A couple of injuries have kept some people from playing, others have been nagging injuries that stick around and cause us to take it a little easier.” Despite the injuries and loss to Marquette in the championship, the Titans pushed back and regained momentum, partially because of the leadership from Hudson. “It is expected of a captain to make sure everyone is on the same page towards the same goal,” Hudson said. “When everyone is working together it makes things easier.” With the season in its final weeks, head coach Brian Schaefer said players and coaches are looking for improvements they can make to better prepare themselves for a National Championship. “Right now were trying to develop some plays, that will isolate our hitters,” Schaefer said. “We really need to work on defense and blocking so that’s been more of a focus in practice.” Schaefer said the team’s health and preparation will be key to their success for the remainder of the season. “Nationals are always something that you’re not sure of because so many factors come into play for you to win a national championship,” Schaefer said. “Because we’ve won two in a row that makes teams gunning for us even more. Hopefully we’re motivated and dedicated to give our best effort for a three-peat.”