Men's volleyball at the Mount thrives with passionate players and dedicated coaches.

Male volleyballer in Mount jersey spikes the ball over the net

When asked about the game of volleyball, many people think of women playing the sport. But a lot of people don’t realize that there is a large number of men who also play volleyball. And it’s time that men’s volleyball teams get the attention they deserve! 

In case you aren’t familiar with the sport of volleyball, here’s a crash course.  The team is made up of hitters, a setter, and people in the back who specialize in passing. Play starts with a serve and a team is allowed three touches on the ball before they have to hit it back over the net.  There are six players on the court at any given time and these players rotate around the court so that they take turns serving the ball. Points are scored when the ball goes over the net and hits the ground on the other side while staying in the marked lines. Like any other sport, there are many more rules but these are the basics. Volleyball is a team sport so if there is a player missing you will truly notice it.

Jake Neiheisel is in his third year coaching the Mount Saint Joseph men’s volleyball team. The 2023 team currently has eight or nine players, which means they get a lot of playing time. Logan Essen is the Captain of the team and plays the libero position (according to a NCAA website, a libero “can be thought of as an extension of the defensive specialist…and is strictly a back-row player”).  He is a junior this year and has played for the Mount for three years. He encourages people to come out to the team especially because half the team graduated last year.

“It might not be a popular sport but it is something that you should check out,” he says.

Essen also noted that the team is struggling at the beginning of the season but they are growing as a team. The team needs to bond but he sees that there is a real connection between teammates so he can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.

Now if you're interested in joining the team but are worried about fitting it into your schedule, here's an example of what a day in the life of our men’s volleyball team might look like: Wake up at 6 a.m., be in trainers by 6:30 a.m., practice at 7 a.m., breakfast in the dining hall at 9 a.m., classes from 9:25 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner at 5 p.m., and then homework and hanging out with friends. This is just a sample schedule of someone who lives on campus.

Now let’s look at it from the perspective of an underclassman. JJ Rennekamp is a freshman here at the Mount and is both an outside hitter and a setter. He loves playing volleyball and encourages more people to come out and join the team.

When asked what it was like being a college athlete he responded, “It’s great. A lot of work but also a lot of reward between both my majors and my sports. It’s a packed schedule but there’s much enjoyment. Oh and…GO LIONS!”

Rennekamp agrees with Essen that currently the team hasn’t played the way that they should be playing, but he thinks that with a little more time and bonding pretty soon they will be playing like a well-oiled machine. The whole team hopes to see their fellow classmates out there to support them! Here is a link to their schedule: