This weekend, Casady Men’s Volleyball will travel to Saint Mark’s in Dallas, Texas to compete in the SPC tournament. The team enters the tournament with a solid 5-3 North Zone record as well as the third seed in the tournament. The Men’s Volleyball team has reached the championship game for five consecutive years and were SPC champions in 2016. In preparation for the upcoming tournament, I interviewed three Men’s Volleyball players (Dillard Bowie ‘19, Ryan Johnson ‘19, and Cooper Jones ‘20) to gain insight into their feelings about this year’s tournament.
Question: What has the mood in practice been this week leading up to SPC?
Ryan Johnson: The mood has been good. We are all motivated to win because of the tough losses we’ve had, and want to prove that we are the best.
Dillard Bowie: Well, the mood has been pretty good. We have been extra focused and readying ourselves for the pressure.
Cooper Jones: We felt very confident this week knowing that we made it to the championship the past five years […] we know what it’s like, so we’re used to the pressure.
Q: After a few unexpected losses throughout the season, how has the team regained their confidence going into SPC?
RJ: We watch film, look at our mistakes, and we try our best to correct it, so we know how good we can be.
DB: Well, we know we are the better team, so those setbacks are our fuel for the big games, and they remind us we must play with all we [have] got.
CJ: We’ve regained our confidence knowing that the last time we had a major tournament with every team there, we came out on top at the Houston Zone Cup.
Q: How has this previous year’s loss shaped the team’s mindset for this upcoming SPC tournament?
RJ: We know what it’s like to lose, and we know what it takes to make it to the finals. We just need to execute.
DB: Just like the losses we took earlier this season, we use them as a reminder that we need to take care of business and not take anyone lightly.
CJ: After last year‘s second-place finish, we feel a responsibility to finish the job, and do it for our coaches and seniors.
Q: In what ways is this team similar to the 2016 SPC Champion team?
RJ: We have lots of weapons and we can dominate just like that team did.
DB: We are similar in the way that there are times we can just be purely unstoppable with Grant Johnson ‘19 hitting over everyone, me being a threat on the outside, and Ben Nguyen ‘19, our setter, who, when he gets hot, is on another level.
CJ: We have some similar skills and weapons to the 2016 championship team and we have people with the experience of that championship run.
Q: In what ways is this team different?
DB: We have more heart and we work more like one than the past team. We build off of each other.
CJ: Despite having three players that were a part of that team, our roster seems fresh and ready to go out and establish our own championship team. We’ve been to the championship game, so we know what the pressure is like, and we’re all tired of getting second.
Q: One stat mentioned often about the volleyball program is the fact that in the past five years, the team has made it to the championship game, but has fallen short each time except once. How do you think this year will be different?
RJ: We are always looking to win it all, and we take pride in just being able to make it to the finals. So that helps us in the long run because we know what it feels like to play in those high-intensity games.
DB: This year is really in our hands and we can have control over our own outcome. We just have to go get it.
The team seems more confident and determined than ever to not only regain their title but also leave an example for future teams to aspire to. This team knows what it feels like to win and their minds are narrowed in on the ultimate goal: SPC Champions. We wish them luck as they travel down to Dallas for the weekend. Go Cyclones!