A few years ago, the College expanded its club volleyball program to include a male team. Colby wanted to offer players a higher level of competition and the opportunity to travel to new schools and meet new people from colleges across New England.
This past season, the Colby men’s club volleyball program made significant progress in team chemistry and tournament performance. Despite losing many seniors from the 2022 season, including both captains and many outstanding players, the team focused heavily on rebuilding and setting up the club for success in future seasons.
In the fall, cuts were made after several weeks of open practices and evaluations by club captains Mason Groves `23 and Riley Chenard `23. After the team was finalized, an emphasis was put on learning how to adjust to playing with new people and honing in on areas where each player specialized. Libero and setter for the season Tatar Anurakwongsri `26 reflected on the time the team spent on improving in the early stages of the season.
“I think everyone was very rusty in the beginning of the season, so it was definitely harder to work together as a team. We weren’t great on defense due to poor communication, and our offense was not very well-rounded,” Anurakwongsri said. “However, as the season progressed, we got better at talking and listening to each other and started to mix up the offense more. We definitely got better mentally as well, picking ourselves up to fight back when things got tough. I think that we grew a lot as a team but also individually as well. There were many players who had just started playing, so there was a learning curve to get over.”
After months of practice, the team had its first tournament at the University of Southern Maine during Jan Plan break. Despite going 1–5 on the day, the tournament was a great opportunity for everyone to get touches and start to grow familiar with the pace and intensity of tournament play. The team played significantly better than the record showed for the day, and overall it was a really solid effort.
A week later, the team prepared for the second tournament at Assumption University. The team played at an incredibly high level and managed to make the semi-finals of the tournament despite the adversity they faced.
“I thought our tournament at Assumption University was our best despite facing the worst-case scenario of losing our best player to injury. On that day, all of us stepped up to do more than we usually did in our individual roles. Our best game of that tournament was probably against Middlebury, where we fought back after losing the first set to win the game. I believe that game was the most focused and disciplined we have been the entire season. We made incredible plays, but more importantly, we did the small things right. Very little went wrong in that match which I see as proof of our best volleyball,” Anurakwongsri said.
The team concluded the season on a very positive note, ending the final tournament with several strong performances. Overall, it was a great season with a group of talented players and good people. Morgan Selby `23 was a massive help to the team’s progression this season, returning to coach and facilitate practices for her second year. Additionally, Chenard was a key component of the team’s improvement, offering support to the younger guys and serving as a role model for everyone both on and off the court.
Looking ahead to next year, the majority of the roster will be returning, undoubtedly ready to pick up where they left off this season and continue to develop. Ryan Moore `23, middle blocker and crucial leader for the men’s team, discussed the future of the program.
“I’m really excited for the team next year because we have a lot of underclassmen talent and some really strong upperclassmen leadership to go along with it. The team is just a good group of guys and I know they’re gonna kill it and have fun doing so next year.”
~ Mason Groves `23
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