Written and Media by Tymber Gabbert
The Greenville College men’s volleyball team faced both Lakeland College and Marian University at home this weekend.
The Panthers fell short against Lakeland on Friday night losing 0-3 but came back the next day to defeat Marian 3-0 on Saturday. “We had a good weekend overall, Friday night we were a little sluggish and didn’t play as a team, but we responded well on Saturday and played one of our best matches of the year,” states head Coach Tom Ackerman. “When we play together and enjoy ourselves, we are capable of beating everyone.”
Greenville wasn’t able to match up to the Lakeland Muskies as they ended the first set with a 19-25 deficit. After losing the first set, the Panthers maintained a high intensity but couldn’t close the gap losing the second set 23-25. The third set proved to be a struggle as the Panthers fell short once again losing 16-25.
Although Friday night didn’t go as planned, the Panthers came back on Saturday against the Marian Sabres and showed their true colors. The first set remained close but Greenville came out on top winning 25-23. The Panthers kept the momentum going as they won both the second and third set by an identical 25-18 score.
“We are still working on limiting our errors and keeping our energy high. With such a young team we are always working on improving in several areas. Starting all freshman is exciting and we have an amazing freshman class. When they learn to play together more consistently we will beat a lot of teams,” informs Ackerman.
Milabu stood out to Ackerman for playing exceptional games over the weekend. However, Ackerman knows that in order to succeed, everyone must perform. “Volleyball is the ultimate team sport and we need everyone to contribute for us to win.”
Freshmen Daniel Bilinski remains on top of the conference in kills per set with an average of 4.02. Bilinski is also ranked third in points per set with an average of 4.5.
With the end of the weekend comes the end of the team’s home matches. “We went 10-5 at home. HJ Long was good to us,” states Ackerman. But the Panthers aren’t done yet. “We have six matches left and if we can win two of the six we will finish year one with a winning season, which is unheard of. We are currently 8th in the MCVL which was also one of our goals this season. The only new program ahead of us was Marian and we beat them on Saturday. We are in a good place right now.”
As the season will soon end, Ackerman is already looking to the future and is excited for what this program can accomplish. “We are extremely excited about the future of the program and we already have four commitments for next year. This program is going to take off fast and we have every intention of being one of the best teams in our conference and one of the top teams in the nation.”
Greenville will face Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal, Mo., on Tuesday, March 15 at 7 p.m.