With another season underway, XUVBC has kicked off the first half of the year in full force. With nine returning members and six newcomers, we have a vast array of weapons that allow us to succeed not only on the court but off as well. At the beginning of the year team meeting, we established seven team goals: 1. Get into the Gold Division at the National Championships; 2. Win at least one tournament throughout the season; 3. Lead all clubs in service hours again; 4. Fundraise $6000; 6. Become Nationally Ranked; and 7. Win the Best Club of the Year Award.
Our main focus has always been our on court performance, but XUVBC prides itself in giving back to the community. Last year, we accumulated 350 service hours amongst eight guys, setting us far a part from the rest of club sports! In this first semester alone, we have already surpassed our total service hours from last year as we have over to 500 hours already! To date, we have volunteered at our annual Week of Welcome Sand Volleyball Tournament, Class of 2015 Manresa group leaders, the Reggae Run, the Xavier Graduate Student Association Charity Ball, the Holiday Project: Adopt-A-Family, X-treme Fans, and heck we were even sentenced to another day in prison!
On November 5th, 2011, XUVBC was fortunate enough to scrimmage Luther Luckett Correctional Complex (a medium security prison) for a second straight year. For the returners, knowing what to expect we couldn’t wait to head down to Kentucky and play some volleyball. For the newcomers, it may have been a nervous experience walking into a building surrounded by several layers of barbed wire and watchtowers, but they didn’t turn back. The LLCC team remembered XUVBC from last year and were more than excited to play us. We won both matches, but the outcome of the game was not our motive; we wanted to embrace the opportunity and learn something form the experience. During our intermixed match, where we split our team up and played alongside the inmates, we had the opportunity to teach them some skills and strategies to the game, which they were beyond grateful for. After playing, we had a chance to speak with the inmates about their decisions in life and how they have dealt with the choices they have made. At the end of the day, both sides benefitted from the experience: we gave the inmates some solid competition, and they provided us with valuable life lessons.
As for our goal of fundraising $6,000, we have raised more than 2/3 of what we projected. Through our Domino’s Fundraiser, the Inaugural Xavier Open, donations, and gear sales, we have raised close to $4,500. For second semester, we have a number of opportunities lined up in hope of generating some more funds for the club.
Let’s not forget why everyone joined the team though: to compete. XUVBC has competed in two tournaments and two scrimmages. In our first match of the season, we traveled down to the University of Kentucky. Playing in two matches, we lost the first match 2-1, but came back strong in the second and won 2-0. Over family weekend, we hosted the Inaugural Xavier Open! In hosting the first tournament in the club’s history (of which many more are to come), ten teams from across the Midwest competed as the entire day was jam packed with thrilling games. XUVBC finished 3rd overall, losing a three set barnburner to Ball State’s A team. For our first tournament action, we definitely set the predecessor for a great season! A few weeks later we went down to LLCC. LLCC prepared us mentally as the following weekend we made the drive up to East Lansing, Michigan to compete in the annual Back to the Hardwood Classic at Michigan State University for the second year in a row. Dominance on day one led to an undefeated pool play performance as we went 4-0. Capturing one of the top spots in the Gold Bracket, we squared off against the University of Michigan on the second day of competition. Dominating Michigan placed us in the quarterfinals against Ohio State for the second straight year. The Buckeyes got the better of us again though, and we ended up taking 5th place out of 26 schools.
If this first semester is any indicator of how the season will turn out, then we cannot wait to lace up the shoes and hit the courts. Keep an eye on XUVBC next semester, because the next time you look, we might just be holding up some hardware and be nationally ranked! I would like to thank all of our family, friends, advisors, and fans for helping us through every thing so far this season. Whether it was through donations, helping us run our tournament, or the undying support we’ve received, we are beyond grateful. Without the help of so many people and my right hand man, Mike Czopek, I couldn’t run this club to where we have brought it today. Thank you all for everything and I hope everyone enjoys the holidays with their families Xavier Nation!
- Brandt Bernat
President | Xavier Men's Club Volleyball
* Thanks to Kenny Walter for helping write this newsletter