Elon University men’s club volleyball team found historic success in its last season, coming in second at the Eastern Collegiate Volleyball Association East Coast Championship and making a run at nationals in 2021. But that success turned to struggle at the end of the season, when the team graduated five seniors.
Senior and team president Lucas Reilley has been on the team since his freshman year and said he has taken on the task of rebuilding the team.
“It affected the team chemistry a lot, having to rebuild from virtually nothing,” Reilley said. “But the guys that did come in are some great players, some really, really well developed, and overall just good people.”
Sophomore outside hitter Mason Kaiser said the team has had to adjust for changes in some of its most important positions.
“We have also had guys who have changed positions, just because we needed them,” Kaiser said. “We’ve got a new setter. The setter is a huge position, it's kind of who leads the team. We have a new guy that's a freshman, so just kind of getting to learn with him and having him learn how we all hit.”
Reilley said this group of incoming freshman players is showing a promise for success, and he hopes to lead and mentor them just like how he was mentored three years ago. Reilley said community and brotherhood are two of the most important messages the team wants to instill in its new members.
This message has been felt by freshman player Chris Holt, who played football throughout high school and decided to give volleyball a try when he got to Elon. After meeting some current volleyball players, he said he was excited for tryouts and experiencing the team’s culture.
“Everyone just forgets about their school work, and they are just here to have a great time and everyone is excited to be here,” Holt said. “No one really ever wants to miss a practice. Everyone wants to come and bring good energy.”
All three players highlighted how much they appreciate each other and the community the team has become for them at Elon. Reilley said the games matter to the team, but leaving an impact on the younger players is what’s most important.
“I make sure that they are all positively impacted by what we do today, or any other practice — always try to leave on a positive note,” Reilley said.
Grace Stetler contributed to the reporting of this story.