Posted by Jeremy Pittenger on February 28, 2018
The opportunity to contribute to the rich history and tradition of Spartan Athletics has attracted 33 student-athletes to compete in two new sports this year: women’s hockey and men’s volleyball. Representing six states and three countries, the group of undergraduates has already experienced success and looks to build upon the lessons learned during the first season of play.
Women’s hockey coach Grant Kimball sees a lot of growth in his players. “I think our team has understood that success isn’t always a straight line; there are peaks and valleys,” he said. “One constant throughout the entire season has been a ‘never quit’ attitude no matter what the score has been.”
The team is certainly working on its resolve and ability to stay positive throughout the season. The players had opportunities to build off the momentum from their debut game, in which they scored the first goal. It was also their first win, a shutout against Northland College at home.
The players are also carrying on the tradition of Spartan excellence off the ice. They exceeded a team goal GPA of 3.0 with an overall team GPA of 3.1.
Now in midseason, the new men’s volleyball team hopes to match the positive attitude and determination of the women’s hockey team.
“We have a group of young men who are competitive and full of energy,” said Rob Wolter, head men’s volleyball coach. “Because this new program is made up of almost all freshmen, they have to get used to the speed and style of play at the collegiate level. These players will have to grow faster and mature quicker than student-athletes who walk into an established program.”
Fortunately, in the spirit of “We Are One AU,” the Spartan community is behind the team 100 percent. Many fans were on hand for the first home matches against Augustana College and Illinois Institute of Technology. The team won both sets by 3–0 scores.
There’s a reason for the early success and optimism for the future. “Our goal is to work hard, take care of each other and strive to get better daily,” said Wolter.