The Illinois State men’s club volleyball B team beat out nearly 30 teams at the 2013 Hardwood Classic and is using the momentum and confidence gained from that victory to power through the rest of the season.
In November, men’s volleyball teams from across the Midwest gathered at Michigan State University to battle toward the end of the bracket. Illinois State bested teams such as Xavier, Lewis University, Michigan Tech and the University of Illinois on their way to victory.
“The highlight of the classic was probably beating Illinois in the championship round,” team member Joe Duda said. “We lost to them last year and we know some of the guys on the team, so it’s all fun and games, but there is still a big rivalry there.”
During the Classic, there are three rounds, consisting of Pool Play, a Challenge round and Single elimination bracket play. It was during the final round of bracket play that ISU defeated Illinois 26-24, 25-22.
“The best feeling was going through Pool Play and not giving up a single game,” team captain Joseph Bolek said.
Prior to the 2013 Classic, the ISU men’s club volleyball team has attended this event several times and emerged victorious three years ago.
“The biggest difference this year was that we went into it acting like we were going to win, and instead of giving up, we put in our full effort and finished the job,” Bolek said.
Duda added that the extra confidence led to a more fun atmosphere out on the court and a better team experience all around.
“We went in with the mentality that we should win and tried to have as much fun as we could,” Duda said. “We play our best volleyball when we have fun and act like we own the court.”
In order to keep their winning streak going, members of the team are committed to working hard and continuing to practice in preparation for their next event.
Both Duda and Bolek hope that the momentum from the Hardwood Classic will carry the team through to Nationals, which will be held in April in Reno, Nev.
“Winning is an awesome feeling,” Bolek said. “And to go to Nationals and be able to compete with all the other schools who are playing at their highest levels would make it even better.”