As the pioneer of the Kingsmen volleyball program at California Lutheran University, Head Coach Kevin Judd said he is excited about the upcoming fifth season.
“For a young program, the senior class right now will be our first true four-year generation of athletes through our program,” Judd said.
There are currently eight seniors on the team who have been with the program since the beginning.
“Chemistry is something that I look at very closely, and I feel as though the chemistry within my group of guys is stellar,” Judd said.
Judd said the team will face challenges this season, but he hopes to grow from them.
One of the most difficult things the team will encounter during its season is traveling all over the country for matches.
Senior libero Alec Bennett, who has been on the volleyball team for four years and is one of three captains on the team, said he is looking forward to away games.
“This year we have some exciting trips to Santa Cruz, Chicago and two to the east coast that will bring us to some great competition. I’m excited for the chance to compete, and fight for a spot in the NCAA playoffs,” Bennett said.
The team must be one of the top eight teams in the region to have a chance at a post-season and make it to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.
“We have been grinding for four years now, going into our fifth, and we have not had a post-season yet,” Judd said.
One goal is to achieve more audience turnout and get more support for players, Judd said.
“I’m hoping in the few home games that we have, that the student body kind of gets behind to support the guys,” Judd said.
Bennett said the team is senior-heavy, but they are meshing well with the underclassmen.
“It is a tight knit group. We hang out a lot outside of just playing volleyball together. Strengthening our bonds off the court will lead to success on the court,” Bennett said.
Bennett is excited for the chance to play University of California, Santa Cruz again, since they lost two close games with them in the past few years.
“Beating them would be a huge win not only for our team, but for our men’s volleyball program. We have never beaten them, but have come close multiple times,” Bennett said.
Senior night will be special for the seniors who have been a big part of the program’s success.
“The closer we are as a team, the better we will play on the court. Our strength has always been with our blocking and defense. If we continue being strong on defense, our offense will be able to run efficiently, and hopefully result into key wins,” Bennett said.
Bennett said a key factor this season will be getting the new first-year setters used to their style of play and finding strengths in a familiar, yet new line up.
“I think we are a more mature team than years past, and are prepared to take on top fifteen teams around the country,” Bennett said.