Men’s Volleyball Misses Out on their Third National Title Run

The sun was shining through the newly constructed McCann addition at Marist College
and all was well in the world. Birds were chirping, students were just starting to spend
time outside in the nice weather, and the pristine gymnasiums were filled with people
trying to get some last few crunches in before spring break.

The funny part about all this is that a lot of the occupants in the gyms were seniors. That
is, seniors just trying to take full advantage of the new building just before they graduate
on what they thought would be a Saturday, May 23rd.

The sad part about this picture is that many of those same seniors never thought their
spring break would be extended by a week…and then another week…and then another

But there were also some seniors at Marist college who especially missed out on a lot.
Specifically, the seniors on the Marist men’s club volleyball team. They had been
blossoming into one of the better teams in the conference, and the season was shaping
up to be a memorable one, The 2020 NECVL (New England Club Volleyball League)
tournament was quickly approaching.

In fact, the Marist squad was on its way to another run at a national title in
the NECVL.

Instead, the season, semester, and college careers of many were cut drastically short
due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. The question many athletes, including the senior volleyball players found themselves asking is: what do we do now?

Well, for starters, binge watching all those shows on the ‘must watch’ lists can finally come to
fruition. But for the men’s volleyball seniors, that’s simply not enough.

According to senior libero and defensive specialist Brad Mobeck, the team joined in on
the infamous ‘pushup challenge’ internet trend. Aside from that he’s been staying in
shape by doing home workouts. He’s even been able to stay sane by doing a unique
form of art called ‘hydro dipping’. “You get a layer of water in a bucket, and you put spray paint over it,” Mobeck said. Then you dip an item in there and it covers it in paint in a really interesting design.”

Another senior, outside hitter Reno Williams, his time off has been all business…and
some pleasure. “I currently work a job with my cousin in Oregon,” Williams said. “I also do little workouts here in there. I’ve been running a lot more, binge watching a lot of TV shows, YouTube, and Tik Tok.”

While these hobbies and pastimes do alleviate some of the quarantine blues so many suffer from, the social distancing is definitely taking its toll on the team. The team
aspect of sports and the camaraderie formed is something that many athletes do not take
for granted, and team bonding is a constant in nearly all sports.

With that being said, Marist students come from all over, not being able to see fellow
teammates certainly does not help the volleyball withdrawals, especially for people like
Reno Williams who live on the other coast of the country.

“The worst part about not having volleyball has been not being able to see my
teammates,” Williams said, “I miss them a lot, I was with them for literally four to six
days of the week for two hours at least or more”

As far as volleyball goes, lots of members of the team were looking forward to the
intensity that comes from playing against rival schools in the NECVL tournament, a
couple of which strongly dislike Marist.

Mobeck said, “It’s either UConn B or the Community College of Rhode Island. Both of
those teams have a vendetta against us. A lot of teams don’t like us.”

Unfortunately, since Marist was unable to physically compete in the NECVL tournament
this year, the club volleyball team was forced to explore other virtual alternatives.
About a week and a half ago, a poll was released on Instagram by the National Club
Volleyball Federation (NCVF) account, which Marist participated in. Fans, students, and
players alike were able to vote on their predictions for what could have been.

Marist advanced to the championship round in the poll and lost, but not for a lack of
trying. Given the fact that Marist was en route to a three-peat, the outcome in real life
may have been different.

All in all, nothing can substitute for playing the actual game but Mobeck will always
appreciate the support for his club team. “It was really nice to get the support from everybody,” said Mobeck. “But it also would have been nice to actually go and take home a championship for them.”

For now, all the men’s volleyball team can do is keep in touch from home over video
chat and text, along with the simple medicine of cherishing the memories from the past
four years at Marist.

Reno Williams certainly will not forget the successes of the team anytime soon though.
The success in a virtual poll doesn’t even come close to the feeling of gratitude for a
successful campaign on the court.

His favorite memory?

“Probably nationals last year,” he explained. “We were bronze winners which is
amazing to do at a national level playing against several other teams all across the

The reality has become alarmingly clear to some, just after spending a mere month in
quarantine: nothing can replace real-life sports or real-life interaction. Nothing compares
to the chills of going to nationals or even being at practice with best friends, otherwise
known as teammates.

And for the Marist men’s volleyball club team, nothing sure as hell beats the idea of
winning a third straight NECVL title. As the seniors close out another chapter of their
life, they will be watching next year’s team from a far, at least until quarantine is over.

Edited by Lily Caffrey-Levine

Header Photo Courtesy of Rich Kelly

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