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Rallying Home

By: Cole A. McMahon

Photo By: Simpson University Athletics

The Men’s Volleyball team is perfect in the Cal Pac conference.

After a road trip to Southern California that started on Feb. 19, Simpson University Men’s Volleyball swept both St. Katharine University and Westcliff University. However, both dominant wins come shortly after the Men’s team shockingly lost their head coach about a week ago. Taking over as head coach is Mike Haworth, the head coach of the Women’s Volleyball team.

“We have gelled really well since then and the switch has been smooth and seamless. Coach Mike has done pretty well so far,” Freshman Quinn Wright said.

Freshman Cody Baker had some positive insight into Coach Haworth’s coaching style.

“He doesn’t sugarcoat things so if you do something wrong, he’ll let you know which is what our team needs,” Baker said. “He is the best person to lead this team in the right direction for the rest of the season.”

Coach Haworth lead the Men’s Volleyball team to sweeps against St. Katharine and Westcliff on the trip.

Wright believes that the quick success under the coaching change has to do with “a lot more freedom” Coach Haworth has given to the team.

“He doesn’t want to step on our toes too much because he’s a new coach,” Wright said.

As a freshman in college athletics, it can be difficult to get locked into a game. Wright went over his mental preparation before going into a game explaining, “I just try to stay as calm as possible and just work really hard. I give it my all on the court.”

The Red Hawks had their first home game on Feb. 25, hosting UC Merced as it looked to stay undefeated in conference play. A tough opponent to start conference play, the Red Hawks were able to take the win 3-1, extending their win streak to 3-0 in conference.

Wright was especially excited to play “in front of the fans at home and to feel the atmosphere.”

The atmosphere was electric at the Men’s first home game. Crowds were formed and the stands were filled. After the men won their first set, the whole gymnasium erupted with cheers and applause. The team now has only lost one set in the past three games.

This hot (now) three-game stretch according to Wright “shows we can be a really good team no matter who we play.”

Three of their players won conference Player of the Week awards three weeks ago. Steven Brasher won Defender of the Week, Nikos Kalagasidis received Setter of the Week, and Jordan Mills won Attacker of the Week! This accomplishment for the three players made history for Simpson as they swept the Player of the Week Awards!

“Our expectations are obviously to go to the national championship, but our main goal is to win conference this year,” Quinn said.

Be sure to go and support our Men’s Volleyball team at Simpson’s home gym on Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5 as they take on Benedictine University at Mesa and Park University Gilbert as they continue their hot streak in conference play.

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