The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Men’s volleyball seeking NCAA tournament

The Mississippi State men’s volleyball team is one with a mission: to have  success that exemplifies the greatness volleyball instills. 

The team is fairly new to campus, starting in 2014. The team formed under Head Coach and Michigan native Kaitlyn Schoeppner, a 14-year volleyball veteran who is excited to lead the men on the team. 

“I absolutely love getting to go into the gym and help these guys meet their full potential,” Coach Schoeppner said.  

“They really do have so much ambition, and they work so hard. I am so excited to see everything they accomplish this season.” 

As a fresh face in the sports community, the team is taking baby steps to reach their goals and make a notable name for themselves. 

Team president and outside hitter Jimmy Kidd said the team is still growing and moving forward surely but slowly. 

“When I first got here, I was just another player,” Kidd said. “As president, I’ve seen us become a close group in comparion to other teams in the league, I’ve seen us actually get much better.”

 When the team first formed, the club sport was taken as a hobby to pass leisure time. The team has turned into a much more serious, dedicated group since their 2014 debut. Coach Schoeppner acknowledged their growth under her upbeat personality and intense and motivating coaching. 

“The men’s team was, for better lack of word, frankly kind of sad,” Schoeppner said. “There were about seven guys and about only one or two of them could really play. Now, I get to come in to a gym full of guys who are not only experienced but committed to getting better with every chance they get.”

Competing against other teams, the Bulldogs are slowly inching toward greatness with tournaments, leading to the overall prize of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

 “Competition wise, beating Georgia Tech was our true notable win as a club,” Kidd said. “Our confidence as a team boosted.”  

The team’s most successful tournament achievement was at the University of Georgia’s spring tournament earlier this year. They earned second place in the silver bracket. While having a club team, the dedication to forming a solidified court volleyball group is a task they have to tackle. Beach and court volleyball have small variations of how to execute to win the game. Drew Clawson elaborated on the transitions for collaborating beach and court teams.

 “One of the main types of players we get are beach volleyball,” Clawson said. “We take beach volleyball players and turn them into court ones. Teaching them the different techniques of offensive and defensive positioning is actually a cool bonding experience.”

The club sport brings people together from all over the world. The teammates had back stories of their hometowns and interesting stories of where their love for volleyball derives from, whether it be from family histories, dedication to the sport like, cliché beach pickup games or nostalgic P.E. class- they all share a dedication the game. The close knit team keeps each other in high spirits at all times.

 “We always high five and lift another player up to make sure they’re thinking positive, so when another point comes their way they think positive, still fighting for the win,” Clawson said. 

In spare time, the team performs good deeds in the Mississippi community. Their philanthropy focuses on giving veteran volleyball insights for the Heritage High School girl’s team. 

“It’s a really good experience,” Clawson said. “We’re all here for our dedication for volleyball. It’s a ‘big brother, little sister” bonding.’ 

The Mississippi College for Women received beneficial feedback from the club team also. On campus, their philanthropy expands to a campus tournament for Breast Cancer awareness. The team hosts a tournament in the Sanderson to raise money for Breast Cancer. 

All in all, the team is still blossoming into the powerful team they strive to be.

 “They have so much potential,” Coach Schoeppner said. “And the fact that they are trusting me to guide them along this path is so awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. We’re a force to be reckoned with.

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Men’s volleyball seeking NCAA tournament