Lakers continue to improve and earn respect nationally in the polls.
March 22, 2017
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Valley State University Men's Volleyball has continued its rise in the Mizuno NCVF National Men's Rankings this season, climbing up to #19 after being an honorable mention selection in the previous ranking. GVSU is the only non-NCAA Division 1 institution recognized in the rankings. This recognition comes after the Lakers capped a 9-0 weekend (dropping only three sets) in Lexington, KY earlier this month with their second consecutive Great Midwest Men's Volleyball Conference (GMMVC) Championship, defeating top-ten opponent Miami University (OH) in the process.
"I say this all the time because I think it's really important and it's sometimes hard for people to really understand the significance," coach Jeffrey Pelc said, "but we have only one athlete in the entire program that played volleyball competitively before arriving at GVSU. Two of our starters just started playing the sport seriously six months ago. So this recognition really substantiates the hard work and commitment that these guys are making every day and also validates the things we do in our program to be competitive regionally and nationally." The state of Michigan does not sponsor boy's high school volleyball (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania do), so Coach Pelc says that very rarely does the program have the luxury of having experienced volleyball players on the roster.
"We just work. We work every day to close that experience deficit between us and the larger Division 1 schools from states that do have boy's volleyball in high school. The rosters for those universities are filled with guys who have experience playing the game in high school and in club. We don't have that luxury, so we have to work really hard and really smart to be competitive. I mean, we're often competing across the net from guys who had opportunities to go play varsity volleyball, sometimes on a scholarship. It's just crazy. Still lots to get better at, but I'm really happy for these guys that their hard work gets recognized. They're an incredible group." Coach Pelc says that he and his staff identify talent via their tryouts and on-campus recruitment process, but there is no formal or traditional recruiting in college club volleyball.
"We don't have a recruiting budget so we rely solely on social media and on-campus recruiting efforts to get athletes interested in college men's volleyball. I think we do a pretty good job identifying athletes with the potential to compete and men with strong character in order to be successful. I'm really proud of this program."
Looking ahead, Coach Pelc and his group is preparing for the 2017 MIVA Championships on April 1st and 2nd at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, and ultimately, the 2017 NCVF National Championships (April 13-15) in Kansas City, MO. First however, the No. 19-ranked Lakers look to avenge a loss from earlier in the season when they host conference foe Western Michigan this Sunday (Mar. 26). First serve is scheduled for 1:30 PM in the South Gym of the GVSU Rec Center.