Mens Volleyball, a First for NDA

Chris Wolcanski

Women’s volleyball has been around for years. When people think of this sport, they think of it as a sport mainly for women. But not anymore. Starting this year, a Notre Dame Academy boys varsity and JV volleyball team was pioneered.

Now, and for the foreseeable future, Notre Dame Academy men will have the option to play football, soccer, volleyball or run cross country in the fall, not to mention fall baseball for all the baseball players out there.

Even with all these competing fall sports, volleyball compiled enough athletes to assemble two teams: JV and varsity, granted that some players are able to play on both teams like many other high school sports programs.

Some players even prefer splitting their talents to play on both levels such as Will Campion, a junior volleyball player: who said “Iit’s pretty sweet., I am able to play a lot and hit balls around on JV, but can still have fun and hang out with the guys when I don’t have to play so much on varsity.”

But volleyball is not all fun and games. There is also lots of hard work and sweat that goes into the sport, not only in practice but in the games as well.

Mentally, volleyball is challenging as well. There are many instances that come up throughout the games that players must dive on the hard gym floor in order to keep the play alive.

But perhaps the most daunting task ofat all is not laying out for a ball or getting spiked on. “It’s playing against the girls,” Campion said. “They’re so good; we normally lose.”

Although it is the same sport with the same rules, club volleyball is slightly different for girls and guys. The guys’ net is about half a foot taller than the girls’ net and the strategy is different because the guys are able to hit the ball much harder than their female counterparts.

As for continuing to play volleyball in the future, both Campion and Jacob Zeise, also a junior, look forward to playing their newly adopted sport on the beach as well as next year as seniors with teammates Jacob Elmer, Alex Koehler, Joe Sladek and Isaac Hingtgen.  Zeise even went as far as to say, “I’ll continue playing until I die.”

Zeise encourages prospective players to go out for the volleyball team in years to come: saying it’s “It’s a really fun experience so why not give it a shot?”

Ingrid Hirte, a junior girl who has become manager for the men’s team and serves as the assistant coach, gave advice to younger volleyball players:  “Never lose hope, focus on the good things and give it your all.”

Hirte commented on how well the team has played in its first year, considering its inexperience: “I think they’re doing great for their first year! I have seen so much improvement in them since the first week of practice. At some of our tournaments, other coaches couldn’t believe that this was our first year in the program.”

Although volleyball is very demanding, the fun-loving team finds ways to make things interesting and enjoy themselves. Talking about how much fun being with all the guys is, Hirte said, “I love my team. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”