Men’s volleyball wins Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Championship

Brady Van Deurzen

The UW Oshkosh men’s volleyball team participated in the Las Vegas Open on March 18 and 19 and the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Championship at Purdue University on March 26, where they took second and first place. The Titans began the two-tournament stretch in Las Vegas where they played five matches over the span of two days. The Titans won four out of its five matches in Vegas. The team beat Stanford University (25-13, 25-14), Salt Lake Community College (25-17, 25-14), Chapman University (25-23, 25-15) and University of Arizona’s ‘B’ team (25-19, 25-21). UWO’s only loss of the tournament came in the championship match against University of Arizona’s ‘A’ team with scores of 25-23, 21-25, 13-15. The loss to Arizona marked the Titans’ first loss in almost a month, when the team fell to the Marquette Golden Eagles. Despite the loss to Arizona, junior right-side hitter Allen Grunert thinks the Titans have a lot of strength. However, there is still work that needs to be done. “I still think we are a tough team to beat,” Grunert said. “I wouldn’t say unbeatable because that would mean we have no reason to work hard or improve. There are always improvements to make and there is always someone else trying to work even harder than we are. We still need to go to the gym every day and try to get better.” The loss to the Arizona Wildcats was the Titans’ fourth loss of the year and brought their record to 32-4. The Titans continued its tournament streak as the team traveled to Purdue University to take part in the MIVA Championship. After the loss in the Las Vegas Open, the Titans prevented a losing streak by beating their first competition, the Purdue Boilermakers, with scores of 25-20 and 26-24. The Titans continued to be victorious by winning all seven of their remaining games including the championship game against the University of Illinois (26-24, 25-23). The Titans improved its record to a 40-4 on the season and Coach Brian Schaefer said he could not be happier with the Titans performance throughout the year. “Our team left it all out on the court and came home champions,” Schaefer said. “This entire season we have battled injuries and illnesses and to win [MIVA] shows the grit this team has and will have the rest of the season. I am extremely proud of the team and their efforts.” Tyler Range, a senior middle-blocker, agreed with Schaefer and said that the Titans are playing very in sync. “We feel that if we are all healthy and can play with high energy, then we can play Oshkosh volleyball and everything will come naturally,” Range said. “Every time we play together, we grow as a team and gain more and more trust with one another. This tournament was huge for us and it is an awesome step going into State this weekend and Nationals next weekend.” With the state tournament and the National Championships just around the corner for the Titans, preparations and healing are the top priority for the Titans, Range said. “We are really focusing on the health of all the players; being sick, injuries, doing rehab programs, icing, etc.” Range said.