The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

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Men’s volleyball still working through some kinks

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Frank Novak
“Skillfully, we have grown so much, along with understanding we are a new team, but the importance of building culture as we have, now we need to keep developing skills, and we can be a seriously good program.”

Simpson College added the men’s volleyball program in 2022, along with Head Coach Kakailoa Palea, who gathered and recruited 12 athletes to play for him in the 2022-2023 season. This season, the team is made up of 14 athletes.

The men’s season did not kick off as planned, with the men losing their first matchup of the season. 

The team has also been forced to forfeit a couple of games due to injuries and the low number of players on the roster. 

“Our team this year is more developed,” Palea said. “For many guys, it was their first time playing volleyball. Now we have players with way more experience, including recruits we’ve brought in.” 

Max Robinson, a junior and member of the men’s volleyball team, has been playing volleyball since he was a senior in high school and jumped at the chance to join when Simpson started the program.

Robinson said, “Skillfully, we have grown so much, along with understanding we are a new team, but the importance of building culture as we have, now we need to keep developing skills, and we can be a seriously good program.”

Palea said the team lost a few players from last season, but recruitment has been good for them as they added five freshmen to the program. 

 “It has definitely been difficult trying to get competition because, obviously, we are a new program, but we do not have a conference yet and are still seeking to join one like CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin),” Palea said. “But we are stuck waiting for the NCAA to pass a new rule, being that our record for the next five years will not reflect on the conference we join.” 

With the Storm going 0-8 last season, it may be hard to find a conference until then, the Storm will continue to play in tournaments and against other teams when Simpson can fit into their schedule.  

Coach Paela has a vision for the program, including recruiting players with more experience. He said he is bringing in a few international students who have been playing volleyball for a long time in countries like Brazil and Portugal.

For junior Anthony Potratz, it was his first time playing volleyball, but he has already been named  “Most Improved Player” and earned a letter starting for the Storm in all eight games last season. 

“I just wanted to get involved. I played all types of sports in high school and have different accolades, but I’ve never played volleyball and thought it would be fun,” Potratz said. “ The team is getting better practice by practice, and I am glad just to be a part of the growth of the program and see how truly good we can be.”

Coach Palea also spoke about how great it was to see students and other athletic teams showing up and supporting the new program. Although they didn’t have a great season, students still showed up to support, and the program is thankful for that. 

“We are all learning and teaching each other how to really play volleyball, and I have no doubt in my mind that we can be a successful program within the next few years,” Robinson said.

The men’s team will take the court at home on Tuesday, Feb. 13, against Mount Mercy College.

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