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Volleyball club moves past 0-3 start

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Published 2013-02-13T02:45:00Z”/>


Emily Duran

Echoes of cheers and whistles flooded Shurmer Gym last month, signifying the start of the season for the Chico State men’s club volleyball club.

The team fell to Sacramento State, UC Davis and UC Berkeley in its opening Northern California Collegiate Volleyball League games during the weekend of Jan. 25.

“It was rough,” said Stu Chapman, a senior outside hitter. “We weren’t playing as a team, but we worked really hard in practice to turn it around.”

The team has since channeled its energy into focusing on defense and basic fundamentals of the game, because the members hope to dig themselves out of the 0-3 season start in the conference.

The next test came in a match against the Sonoma State Seawolves in Sonoma on Feb. 2.

With improved serving and effective blocking, the Wildcats defeated the Seawolves in three sets, 25-22,25-22 and 25-21.

The team improved play overall, and standout performances from middle blockers sophomore Tanner Ruhlen and freshman Zach Hanlon allowed the Wildcats to clinch the much-needed first win of the season.

“Winning should be the expectation,” Ruhlen said. “It’s what we should be doing. It shows us how our practices are working, and it shows our progress.”

Despite only having one win so far, it is early in the season and the team remains optimistic about the rest of the season.

The five seniors on the roster have embraced this year as a time to welcome the younger players to the program.

“We have some guys who have played together for a while,” Chapman said. “As an older guy, integrating the freshmen and watching them progress and get better — it’s fun.”

With their senior leadership and a range of talent distributed throughout the roster of new and returning players, the Wildcats expect to compete at the National Championships held April 4 to 6 in Dallas, senior setter Richard Thao said.

“If we get on a roll as a team, we can build a fire quickly and build off of it,” Ruhlen said. “With that and good players stepping up, we are really strong.”

The team has shifted its attention toward raising money to cover the costs of the trip it hopes to take to nationals.

The team members are in the process of planning multiple fundraisers over the course of the season. They are selling T-shirts and calendars and will host fundraiser nights at local businesses to earn money for the trip.

Chico State will begin the first of two tournaments on the road this weekend at Fresno State, followed by next weekend’s tournament at UC Davis. The team will then return home to play in another match against Sonoma State on Feb. 22.

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<strong>Emily Duran reached at </strong><a href=”mailto:[email protected]”><em>[email protected]</em></a>


  1. Netting a win
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      Volleyball club moves past 0-3 start