By Luke Mich
After two years of being a club activity, the men’s volleyball finally became a varsity sport at Saint Vincent, with the team beginning their first official NCAA practices and workouts during the fall 2019-20 semester.
Coach Scott Wisneski believes that the team has done well, even if the team lost its first two matches.
“They’re just a great group of guys and the seniors are really helping me out,” he stated.
Wisneski was named the very first head coach for the men’s volleyball team back in March 2019.
Gage McCracken, a senior hitter for the team, said that the team can get better and improve from the slow start.
“The season hasn’t started off quite [as well] as we had hoped, but I believe that with more practice and time spent together as a team, we can get to where we want to be,” McCracken stated.
"The competition level is much higher in NCAA." - Gage McCracken
Another reason for the team’s slow start was its adjustment from playing volleyball as a club sport to what is now a varsity NCAA sport.
Randy Cochenour, a senior right-side hitter, said that the opportunity definitely makes it more competitive.
“The level of play for us has taken a step up from the club team but that just means a more exciting match for everyone involved,” Cochenour explained.
McCracken also stated that the competition level is much higher in NCAA.
“For club, we practiced maybe once a week and showed up to tournaments to play,” he said. “We practice 4-5 times a week now.”
Wisneski said the team didn’t really have a coach to train them when it was a club sport.
“They really just showed up when they could and played,” he stated.
In regards to how men’s volleyball went from a club to a varsity sport, Cochenour, who began the club two years ago, said Brother Norman was responsible.
“[The team] did not actually request to make this into a varsity sport,” stated Cocenour.
“However, Brother Norman took interest in creating a varsity team and when he heard about the club team, he requested we turn it into the varsity team we have today.”
Wisneski stated that in terms of team improvement, at this point, “[they] just [need to] play together and gel as a team.”
"Right now, at this point, [they] just [need to] play together and gel as a team." - Coach Scott Wisneski
Joshua Cantey, a freshman setter, said communication is something to improve on.
“We need to talk more and be louder on the court. There’s lots of times when the ball drops between two people due to nobody communicating,” he explained.
There is also some room for improvement when it comes to the season’s outlook.
McCracken said he thinks they will have a long season ahead, but if they continue to work hard in practice with everyone staying committed, they “will consider it a successful season regardless of what the record shows.”
Cochenour is optimistic about the team.
“We have no other expectations than to enjoy our year, get better, and hopefully, set a good record for the years to come in this program,” he stated.
Wisneski said he had some final advice to give to the team.
“Just keep playing, […] just keep having fun, win or lose,” Wisneski said.
The next game for the men’s volleyball team will be against Penn State Altoona at Saint Vincent College on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Carey Center.