The Highlander

New Men’s Volleyball Ready to Debut

Michael Diakunczak, Reporter

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Men’s volleyball is set to debut in the spring semester.  

The program marks the university’s fifteenth sport added since it joined the NCAA Division III  in 1992. 

The program now brings the number of intercollegiate offerings to 24. Men’s volleyball joined fellow Middle Atlantic Conference schools such as Alvernia, Arcadia, Stevenson and Wilkes.

Players took part in15 practice sessions in the fall as they worked out in the weight room over the summer to get prepared. Robert Wingert, head coach, built the roster. He was hired as a graduate assistant for both men’s and women’s volleyball teams in 2016. Wingert, a graduate and all-team volleyball player out of Stevenson University, was eventually named head coach of the new program.

Wingert said he is honored to serve. “It’s been amazing to see my vision for this program become a realization over the past 15 months since my hiring. I can’t begin to thank Dr. Botzman and Coach Edkins enough for trusting me with the responsibility of building this program from the ground up, ” Wingert said.

Wingert said his first goal is to establish a team culture of hard work and improvement. The second goal is to  compete within the Middle Atlantic Conference, and lastly he said he wants to introduce the campus community to the world of men’s volleyball. Wingert expects to be successful.

“I think we have the chance to be competitive within the region this year and become competitive on a national scale within the next three to five years,” said Wingert.

Wingert added that player chemistry is positive.

“The team chemistry has been nothing short of astounding so far. We have two ‘super’ seniors in Mike Trygar and Earl Chang who have stepped up as great leaders for our young program. On the court, our 10 freshmen have done a great job helping our newer players adjust to playing high level volleyball,” said Wingert.

Players are heading into the inaugural season with confidence, despite this being the inaugural season. Kaden Abreu, sophomore, said his emotions are high heading into play.

“I’m excited for this first season. We’re Brand new program in the league and want to make a statement for Misericordia off the bat. I expect us to do well..we have a lot of good, solid players, ” Abreu said.

Abreu said team has an edge and a chip on their shoulders that should help them succeed. 

Our goal is to just win and make a name for ourselves. We’ll be the underdogs since we’re the new program but I think we like that, get a chance to surprise people. We’ll just continue to work on our game and see where it takes us,” said Abreu.

Josh Donaldson, sophomore, said he is ready to compete.

“I believe we will be able to play at a high level from the start. Everything is great with the team. We all get along and compete each and every practice. I think we will be successful from the start.

He said he hopes to make the playoffs and be competitive in every game.

“I think with the help of [coaching] we will reach these goals,” said Donaldson.

The men’s volleyball season will debut January 19 against Neumann University in the Anderson Center.

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New Men’s Volleyball Ready to Debut