King’s men’s volleyball team is out this year, despite an ACAA championship win just this past February.
“That OMG moment of calling all of the players that were planning on coming back, which would have been the nucleus of the team, and finding out that they weren’t coming back,” King’s athletics director Neil Hooper said, “That was the hard part.”
The men’s volleyball team has a history of coming close to being cut, but usually can either find a coach or more players. However, this year, without a coach or players available or interested, Hooper says he was unable to rescue the team.
Alongside the players’ lack of interest, Hooper says, there was no coach available for this year’s team. Only four players from last year’s team remain at King’s. The others either graduated or moved to CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) teams at other universities.
Geoffrey Stuart, the captain of last year’s team, says spirit will take a hit this year without the team. He says the men’s volleyball team made a point to go to other King’s sporting events to support their fellow athletes, and formed close friendships with other teams.
“There’s definitely going to be a difference,” Stuart said, “especially in the gym.”
First-year Sam Krueger didn’t consider the varsity team his main goal, but he was interested in trying out for the sake of team spirit and exercise.
“That was another chance for me to get involved with a team at King’s that’s no longer here,” said Krueger, who can’t play intramural volleyball due to time conflicts.
This isn’t the first time a King’s varsity volleyball team has been cut because of instability.
The women’s team was chopped four years ago because of trouble keeping a coach and lack of money. This year, the club team plans to apply for the ACAA’s (Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association) 2014/15 season.
Hooper wants to recreate that rebirth with the men. He plans to start a club team this year, and hopes to have players ready for ACAA in 2016.
“It’s certainly negative on the men’s side,” Hooper said, “but a program that many women over the years have enjoyed that was lost, and sort of a sore spot, has now become a rallying point.”