Last Friday the men’s volleyball team had an exhibition match at 8:00 p.m. as part of the homecoming celebrations. The men won all three sets during the 45-minute scrimmage versus Lawrence Technological University.
Men’s volleyball is a new addition to Goshen College athletics this year, with the idea for the program coming from Josh Gleason, director of athletics.
“We were in the process of putting together a strategic plan…of how athletics could be a tool for recruitment [and] how it fit our mission,” stated Gleason.
Gleason saw that volleyball was a popular sport in many of Goshen’s recruiting regions and recognized the potential.
“There are roughly 40 high schools in the state of Indiana with men’s volleyball programs that’s in addition to big hotbeds in Chicago area, Grand Rapids area, Toledo area, basically all areas within our recruiting base,” he said.
But the players aren’t just from Indiana. The team has a wide variety of members from different states and territories in the United States.
Jim Daugherty, head coach of the men’s volleyball team, said that the team has players from Colorado, Arizona, and Puerto Rico, in addition to the ones from Indiana.
The team is made up of nine players right now, with Daugherty stating that “there will be several others from the basketball team that will be joining us after [the basketball] season is done.”
When asked about the chemistry of the team, Daugherty mentioned the group’s work ethic. “They get along, they work hard, they push each other, and when they get [to practice] they get right to business,” he said.
As of right now, the team does not play in a league because the Crossroads League does not have men’s volleyball, but they have been invited to join the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference as an associate member, as well as the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
According to Daugherty, the team practices three times a week, but after Christmas it will ramp up to four days a week as they prepare for their first game on January 20. Next year he hopes to have five practices a week, and six if the team is playing a game that week.
Despite them being a first-year team, Daugherty is hopeful for the team’s prospects, especially after the exhibition game this past Friday.
“We walked out there and I thought we [would] struggle a little bit since it was our first real competition against another men’s team. But we came right out and went right to it,” he said.
Nick Yutzy, a first-year, had positive feelings about the game as well.
“I thought the game went very well considering it was our first organized game,” Yutzy said. “We all did something well [that helped] to contribute to the victory.”
Daugherty is more than qualified to coach the men’s team. He has been playing volleyball since he started in high school in 1972, and has not quit since. He started coaching in 1984, when he was asked to coach a high school team by a member of his club team.
He has played many sports though the years but, “[volleyball] has caught my attention and has held it for over 30 some years because of the fact [that] there’s no game…that’s alike.”
Daugherty encourages students to come out to the volleyball games.
“From a guy that’s played basketball, baseball, [and] football in high school, and other times in his life, volleyball is one of the most unique games,” he said.