Penn College Men Seek Volleyball Championship
Pennsylvania College of Technology men's volleyball coach Wes Strayer is fired up going into Saturday's Mid-Atlantic Club Volleyball Conference championships, and he wants his players that way, too.
On Thursday night, the Wildcats were swept 25-19, 25-15 and 25-23 (after leading the last game 23-19) at perennial power Messiah College in a match that decided the West Division title, and it left a bitter taste in Strayer's mouth.
"We're too good for that," the coach, in his fourth year, said. "We went into Messiah about as flat as you can be. We've got to get some emotion on the court. Messiah was pumped up to play us because they knew what was on the line. You have to have emotion and share that emotion with your teammates."
The Wildcats (11-3) begin pool play at 9 a.m. Saturday at DeSales University against College of New Jersey (6-4). Later in morning pool play, Penn College will face Stevens Tech (10-6) and Kutztown (9-2). All pool-play matches are best of three, with the top two teams in each of four pools advancing to single-elimination playoffs. In all, 16 teams are entered in the tournament with Penn College, Messiah (16-3), Rowan (12-0) and Temple (10-1) the top seeds in their respective pools.
"I'm going to challenge my kids to go into pool play and come out of it undefeated. There's no reason not to. There's only one team that should give us a challenge and that's Messiah and we have the players that can beat them," Strayer said.
"I'm very confident that we will bounce back. We've got to go in and let (other teams) know that Penn College is here to play. They've got to go into it with the mind-set that nobody is going to beat us; that nobody is even going to be in the gym with us," the coach continued.
"These guys have to realize that they're not kids anymore; they're men. They've got to step up and play like men. They've got to make up their minds whether they want to give everything they have or whether they want to give 40 percent. And 40 percent's not going to win," said Strayer, whose team finished second to Messiah at the championships a year ago.
Once out of pool play, Strayer's advice to his players will be simple:
"You don't leave anything on the court. You don't take anything home with you. You give everything you've got and if you get beat, you get beat. But, let's get beat playing as hard as we can."
(Complete rosters and schedules are available on the college's Athletics Web page.)