Men’s club volleyball to restack with rookies

Zach Lamm takes on two blockers as Claudio Martinez, left, and Tanner Syftestad, right, look on. Photo courtesy of Claudio Martinez.

With only four returning players, Chico State’s men’s club volleyball team will have some holes to fill.

The team’s president, Tanner Ruhlen, said he plans on having a roster size of 12 to 14 total in January. That means over half the team will be new recruits.

“We are hoping to have a good pull from the freshman class,” Ruhlen said. “We are also looking at those guys who haven’t been with the program but play with us at open gyms.”

The four returners consist of three seniors that have been with the program since they were freshmen. Ruhlen and Zach Lamb will be playing middle blockers and Jake Brown will be counted on as an outside hitter.

“It has changed a lot since freshman year,” said Mb, the team’s senior treasurer. “We lost our coach that we had freshman and sophomore year, so we had to find a new coach last year. We are looking for another coach again this year.”

The team competes in the Northern California Collegiate Volleyball League. In league play, the team matches up against Sonoma State, Sacramento State, UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

Despite such little experience on this year’s squad, Ruhlen still has his eyes set on winning league and getting a high speed going into nationals. This is understandable being that the team was ranked 37 in the nation last year, Ruhlen said.

“When we play in nationals, we play in Division 1A,” Ruhlen said. “It’s the highest division and (we) compete against huge programs. We will see teams like San Diego State and Ohio State.”

Fresno State is a target for the ‘Cats this year seeing as the Bulldogs have just edged out Chico State two years in a row.

“Its important to win out all of our home games,” Ruhlen said.

While it’s important to win games, the team also spends time fundraising to make its trips possible. Trips to nationals can be anywhere in the country, with Dallas serving as the most recent host.

“We are looking to do the most we can for fundraising,” Ruhlen said. “We want to promote our team with shirts to get support from the community.”

The team always strives to win games and promote their name, but an overall goal is to keep the program running smoothly.

“Each year everyone always progresses and gets better, which is always good to see,” Lamb said.

Ryan Grady can be reached at [email protected] or @RyanGrady23 on Twitter.