By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter
Baylor men’s club volleyball kicked off their season with the conclusion of their tryouts on Sept. 11. This year the club created two teams instead of the typical one because of the number of players that tried out. The 20 players who made the team will be divided up into the two teams.
The teams are members of the Southern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (SIVA) and they play against schools such as Texas A&M, University of Texas and University of Oklahoma. Toward the end of the season, the teams will play in the Southern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournament, which will give them the opportunity to win the conference championship.
Last year’s team fell to the University of Texas-San Antonio in the semi-finals.
Cypress senior and club president Trevor Orcutt said that he believes in the potential this year’s teams have.
“This season, I think we are going to win the SIVA championship,” Orcutt said. “We picked up a much more knowledgeable coach, which will help us. We have the ability to go far this year.”
The new head coach, Mitch Casteel, is a volunteer for the team. Orcutt said Casteel has over 20 years of volleyball coaching experience.
Cypress senior Branson Smith said he is thankful for Casteel and the impact he has already had on the team.
“Not only do most teams not have a coach, but he’s a renowned coach. In his three practices with us, he has already cultivated more change that other coaches,” Smith said. “Normally it’s one of us [players] doing the best we can. I think he will be a big help, especially for newcomers.”
Both teams will also compete in a national championship in St. Louis during the spring semester, which will feature hundreds of teams from across the country. Last year, they tied for ninth place at the tournament. This year they are expecting to use last year’s momentum and the addition of Casteel to propel them to the next level.
“At nationals, I expect us to at least finish in fifth, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we get to the final four,” Orcutt said. “Our coach has so much knowledge. To learn from someone who has all that knowledge will help us reach those goals and place higher at nationals.”
The volleyball club is much more than just members on a team. Orcutt said the club is full of great guys who like to hang out outside of the club. They are a brotherhood that loves volleyball and likes to have fun. He described the club as “a fraternity without all of the big commitments.”
Although tryouts are over, the club is still accepting new members. The experience level on the team varies greatly with some having played throughout high school and others having never played.
Orcutt encourages anyone who want to try to come to their practices and see what volleyball is all about. The team practices from 7-9 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday in Marrs McLean Gym.
The club’s first tournament is Sept. 30 at the University of Texas. They will host their own tournament on Oct. 7 in the McLane Student Life Center.