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Men’s Club Volleyball Team Shows Strong Potential at N.Y. Tourney

The Penn College men’s volleyball club team competed in its first tournament of the season Saturday, finishing in a tie for third in the Meliora Invitational at the University of Rochester. The team “started off flat … against Ithaca College (22-25,13-25), then came back to win against Syracuse University (27-25,25-16) in our second match,” coach Bambi A. Hawkins said. Syracuse then beat Ithaca after a tough match in which both sets went past 25 points.

“We were third in our pool and got reseeded into a pool with both Rochester teams,” the coach said, noting that Penn College beat Rochester B (26-28,29-27,15-8) and lost to Rochester A (23-25,23-25). “Josh Jones was the dominant player in those matches as he came on strong – digging, hitting and (he) even had four blocks in one set,” Hawkins said.

The level of competition resulted in some give-and-take on how many teams would advance, Hawkins said: Cornell pushed for four, while Rochester (knowing “I really wanted my guys to get to play more instead of going home after driving three hours”) wanted the top eight. After the compromise landed on six, “We played the Ithaca team we had lost to at the beginning of the day, but with a different result: We won 25-23, 25-21!”

She said the team got some “jaw-dropping action” from all of its hitters: especially Jarred Barch and Michael Shirey II, but with a powerful assist from Hugh Convery, Joshua Jones and Jordan Smith. The team then moved on to the matchup that Barch had anticipated all day.

“Unfortunately, our guys were looking rather beat up by that point after so many long and intense matches,” Hawkins noted. “However, Jarred still got his wish of finding out if he could hit against Cornell … as he put a dominating kill down over their triple block. Defensively, Dan Jones moved into the libero with solid defensive play and Brian McKeon Jr. was a consistent defensive player as a back-row sub for Convery. The first-round playoff match was definitely where we saw the potential that our men’s team has. The support of videotaping and other duties by our bench was great, as well.”

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