By: Chase Gardiner/GCU Staff
As Fall Break rolled around on Grand Canyon University’s campus, most students made plans to visit friends and family. For nine athletes on the Men’s Club Volleyball team, however, there was one stop that they had to make before they could go home for the holidays.
On November 18, the men’s team traveled out to San Diego, California to pick up a couple of games before the holiday break officially set in. The Lopes started off the day with a tough matchup against the tournament’s top seed, University of California, San Diego, falling just shy of a three-set victory, 21-25, 25-16, 12-15. The next matchup ended in similar three-set fashion, with GCU falling to University of Arizona’s B team, 25-14, 22-25, 11-15. However, in the last game of pool play, the men’s team turned the tables, defeating San Diego State in three, 18-25, 25-19, 15-11.
After advancing past pool play, the men’s team snagged one more win against California State University, Fullerton (25-17, 25-13) before ultimately being eliminated at the hands of California State University, Northridge, 25-20, 20-20, 16-18. Although the Lopes certainly hoped for better results, the lessons learned from the defeats were invaluable.
“We had opportunities to put teams away, and we made unforced errors,” noted Lopes Head Coach Chuck Hunter. “We would go through strings of 2-4 hitting errors in a row, and that does not work against good teams.”
While these unforced errors were a glaring issue during the team’s weekend bouts, Hunter pointed out the importance for his athletes to find ways “to play at a consistent level throughout the match. [But] that will come with experience and the guys learning to trust each other.”
Hunter had plenty of positives to take away from his team’s weekend play as well.
“I saw that we were able to side out effectively. We played solid team defense, and our serve-receive did a great job staying consistent,” added Hunter. “This tournament helped show the young guys that they can play at this level. When we add our other team members that missed, I believe that we can be competitive at a high level in our conference and hopefully the national tournament in St. Louis.”