Last season, the California Baptist University men’s volleyball team went head-to-head against some of the nation’s top ranked teams in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Known as the toughest conference in the country, this year the team faces the challenge of not only another year in the MPSF, but also having a fresh and young team.
Having essentially a team creates advantages on the court. One of only two remaining seniors, Jonathan Tuttle, senior opposite hitter and mechanical engineering major, said having new players on the team is a positive step.
“The new guys are eager and driven to excel in our difficult division,” Tuttle said. “They work extra hard to compete at such an intense level.”
As a senior, Tuttle takes on a leadership role and encourages the younger players to be a strong team.
“I try to connect the team through encouragement. We’ve meshed well together and we were able to connect as a family early in the year,” he said. “It has helped us grow stronger together.”
Being a young team creates disadvantages for the Lancers, as well.
“We are a little young, but we can compete if we stay disciplined,” said head coach Wes Schneider. “Our game has its ups and downs, but we know we’re there.”
Giovanni Rosa, sophomore mechanical engineering major and outside hitter, said the team stays disciplined by bringing a hard-working attitude to every practice.
“We make each other better by bringing our best to practice and focusing on what is ahead of us,” Rosa said. “We all want to be the best we can be.”
Along with hard work, the amount of talent on the team is a big contributor to their team dynamic.
“All of the new guys are very talented,” Tuttle said. “When they have more experience under their belt, we will be great.”
More experience in the MPSF will benefit the young team in the future as they prepare for what the next few years has in store for them. Although the conference is a tough one, the team is excited to play.
“I love the conference we are in,” Schneider said. “We get to play the biggest teams in the nation, and it is nothing but excitement. We just come out and know what we need to do.”