From being started by a group of students in the spring of 2019 to going to tournaments and making it to the finals last semester, the men’s club volleyball team at Montclair State University has been going strong since day one.
They exceeded their expectations when the semester started. Their roster is double the number in comparison to 2019, and their tryouts this past September were extremely successful. President of the team and senior outside hitter/right side hitter Tyler Tavernier was glad to see the expansion.
“There were actually more boys that tried out this semester than last semester, we had more than 40 boys try out in comparison to last semester which was 20 boys,” Tavernier said. “It was amazing to see more boys being interested in joining the club.”
Senior defensive specialist and libero Jorge Ascencio had the thought one day to start something special.
“It was me and a few of my playmates who had the idea of starting the men’s volleyball club,” Ascencio said. “We thought it was a great idea to start one because Montclair [State] didn’t have one at the time.”
Montclair State never had an official men’s volleyball team or club here on campus before, but the school does have a varsity women’s volleyball team. Ascensio gave his take as to why.
“I believe the reason why there was never a men’s volleyball team or club here is that they wanted to make an equal opportunity for the girls here,” Ascensio said. “I heard there weren’t as many women’s teams here before.”
Tavernier broke down his side of the story.
“We have tried numerous times to start the men’s volleyball team actually, but Montclair [State] believed there were more mens’ [teams] than there [were] girls’ [teams],” Tavernier said. “I didn’t think it was fair at all at the time, but now it seems like more men’s sports teams are starting to happen here on campus which is a good start for the future.”
The team started playing games in the fall of 2019, but they were minimal. Spring 2020 was their “first official season” but the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut it down and the club, unfortunately, couldn’t get their first real season as a team. Ascensio is happy everyone stuck with them through the process.
“Although it took us a year to get the club established, we never gave up on the sport and team,” Ascencio said. “We are all glad we didn’t because we are proud of how we are today.”
From the start of 2021 to today, the club has had numerous victories. During the fall semester of 2021, they were in the Stockton tournament, and after facing different universities from around the state, they made it to the finals.
They won their first-ever home game as well against the University of New Haven.
In the next semester, they defeated Stevens Institute of Technology, Princeton University and Drexel University.
With this season underway, the team has doubled the roster which allowed them to have two teams, an A team and a B team. Recruiting helped the club become more known on campus.
The club is built on dedication, determination and brotherhood. With no coach or advisor, the whole team is relying on one another when it comes to raising money for their own uniforms, and their own transportation to games and they are all doing this while being full-time students at the university.
The men’s volleyball club recently had a “Pie Us” fundraiser to help raise money for their club, a fun way to get exposure and more attention to the team.
“I hope our name gets out there,” Tavernier said. “I want to come back and see the club become an official men’s volleyball team.”