The SUNY New Paltz Men’s Volleyball team started their season strong, rising above the competition in the United Volleyball Conference (UVC) East Division with a current season record of 10-2. The toughest challenge, however, will be maintaining their success.
“With volleyball, you have to minimize the fluctuations,” Co-Captain Mike Van Tyne said. “You got to keep the ups steady, and the downs minimal.”
New Paltz is part of the UVC East Division and is competing against 11 teams this season. The team will play schools such as Vassar, Nazareth and New York University. The first place winner at the conference will move on to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition.
One of the team’s main goals for spring 2012 is to clinch the No. 1 spot at the NCAA Div. III championship, Van Tyne and fourth-year Co-Captain Kevin Stross said.
“To get there, we would have to beat some very talented teams along the way,” Stross said.
Right now, the team is working on their mental strength. Stross said the focus is to get the younger players on the “same page” as those who have been on the court longer, and to push them to play “their hardest.”
Van Tyne said the upcoming matches will be difficult, but the team is “giving everything they’ve got.” Last weekend, the team played at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.
Van Tyne said in preparation for games, the team doesn’t “cut corners” when it comes to their training schedule.
“We practice like champions so we can play like champions,” he said.
Head Coach Radu Petrus said that at past matches, especially the 3-0 win at Elmira, he saw the team put “100 percent of their skills” into the game. He said being No. 1 right now in the UVC East Division is a “great thing for us.”
This is the first time the team has been on top in their respective competing rank, according to Petrus.
He said for the upcoming matches, anything is possible. Things can move very fast, and unexpected mistakes can occur even for the best teams.
The start of the season sees the team physically active for weeks. Petrus said there is a lot of “vertical” endurance with volleyball, and it’s important to constantly be moving. He also mentioned the “jumping dynamic” as being especially important for Men’s
Once the season is done, the training doesn’t stop.
“In the pre-season, we are looking to check our power and in this time, we are looking for more technical, tactical and [greater] chemistry,” Petrus said.
Van Tyne said there are 30 matches in total, with three more at New Paltz. The team is mostly on the road and those expenses are covered through the Athletic Department, including transportation and food.
This season will mark the last for both Stross and Van Tyne. Stross said this provides them with the conviction to give the game their all.
“Like a lot of sports, volleyball is a game of runs and when we have a good run, we must maintain that streak and when we make mistakes, like all teams do, we have to rebound as quick as possible,” Stross said.