Nearing the halfway point of the season, the members of the men's volleyball team—this week’s feature team—have already come together not only to record big victories over opponents, but also to raise big money for two missions benefitting from CJ’s Lenten Mission Drive.
After losing six seniors from last season and returning only five players to the varsity team, the Eagles responded this spring by posting a stellar 9-2 record over their first 11 games of 2011—improving from the team’s 6-5 start just a year ago. According to senior captain Kyle Foley, the key to his team’s success has been their ability to overcome adversity.
“We’ve got a lot of new people, but I think we’ve been adapting pretty well,” he said. Five juniors and three sophomores anchor the roster with Foley and fellow senior captain Connor Sullivan, who have played a combined eight years of CJ volleyball, accounting for half of the four seniors. Their veteran experience coupled with a unique team chemistry has helped the Eagles compensate for a lack of height.
“We know each other well, we communicate well and we try to stick together as a team,” Sullivan said. As the only current member of the varsity team to also have played on the 2009 squad that finished the season as GCL North champs and state semifinalists, he hopes to follow up with a winning record this season and another deep playoff run.
Tuesday night the Eagles will be tested against a postseason-quality opponent as they take on Division 1 Elder at home in the feature game of the week starting at 7 p.m. The match against the Panthers won’t be the first time CJ has welcomed the color purple to home court for a spotlighted contest.
On Friday, April 1, the Eagles volleyball team hosted Carroll for the Digging for Dollars fundraiser in support of CJ’s Lenten Mission Drive. More than $1,100 was raised for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur working in Brazil to combat human trafficking and for the Marianists’ MIRACLE program, a vocational school for orphans of AIDS in Malawi. Those in attendance from both schools wore neutral purple to show solidarity, including the Eagles players who donned long socks dyed purple.
“Digging for Dollars was one of the best things I’ve seen for us because tons of people came to that game,” said Sullivan. “So being the feature team I think will really get people excited to come out and support us.”