Motor MVB: John Speraw

Motor MVB: John Speraw

Motor MVB is creating opportunities for males to play volleyball competitively in the Unitied States and North America. The group is lead by John Speraw, Lloy Ball, Paul Tashima, Kelly Goodsel, Wade Garard, and Marin Gjaja. We were lucky to speak to US Men’s National Team Head coach and UCLA Head Coach John Speraw to learn more about this great project.

The United States has had a lot of success internationally including their recent Bronze Medal at the Rio Olympics and the well document success of their 1984, 1988 and 2008 Gold Medal Teams. What makes their success even more impressive is they rely mostly on the small NCAA school system for athlete development. Currently there are less than 45 schools competing in men’s volleyball at the Division 1 and Division 2 levels.

We asked John what Motor MVB’s plan was to increase the number of male athletes playing the sport.

“If you had everything at your disposal in terms of what you need to do to grow a sport, you’d have 2 focuses.  Growing it at the top end, division 1 and 2, how you are increasing the number of scholarships to incentivize the number of athletes playing.

Then you have to have a grassroots effort to spread the exposure of the game to a lot of boys when they are making a decision at 12, 13, 14 for what they are going to do for a sport.  

We call it the top down, bottom up. We are learning what the best strategies are. We’ve realized we need to increase the number of talented boys playing and we need scholarships available at the top.”

Fans of the NCAA have seen the growth and popularity of volleyball into new areas of the United States affect the sport. Traditionally teams from California have dominated the NCAA Title picture but recently Ohio State and Loyala have combined to win the last four championships. 

“Top to bottom the MPSF is still the toughest. The depth of talent has definitely changed.  You see more players are coming out of the Chicago area. Over the last ten years key players have come out of Flordia.  The success of Loyala and Ohio State demonstrates that there is talent good enough to win all over the country.

We’d like to continue to expand in the North East. There lots of boys that play in New York and Pennsivania and not enough opportunities at the D1 and D2 levels to play.

I think there is real opportunity in the Mid West. Because of the talent and success of the teams that are already there. We’d like to grow in the Big 10 and Pac 12, that is the ultimate goal.“

Boys volleyball is on the rise in Canada and the US. If male athletes can see how exciting and powerful the sport is we will continue to grow our sport. Speraw shared Motor MVB’s plan for the next 10 years with us. 

“It’s exciting. If you look at trends in growth of sports. It is one of the fastest growing youth sports in the US over the last few years. 12% more boys are playing. And it gets great ratings at the Olympic games. There are some signs there that there are opportunities.

We ultimately need to do 2 things. We need to raise money and meet people who are interested in growing the men’s game that have the leadership and financial resources to grow the game. It’s about how we can help athletic departments fund and manage their volleyball programs.”

Then we have to figure out a way to encourage clubs and high schools to get boys to play the game. We need more boys to play and more places for them to go get scholarships.

The third pillar of this would be a pro league. If there was a pro league where good Canadians and Americans could stay close to home or at home that would really be great for everyone and grow the sport for everyone in NORCECA. That’s ultimately the short version of what we need to do.“

When you look at the popularity of volleyball it’s fair for some fans to ask why their isn’t already a professional league on the men’s or women’s side in North America. Coach Speraw shared his thoughts on what it takes to run a successful league in North America.

“I think people look at the sports market in North America and see all of the money that is there and think it’s easy to start a league. I think it is really hard to break in because of the media focus on the major sports.  It’s really hard to break into the conversation. Even if you look at the universities that are so impactful on the sport culture in the United States it’s about one thing, football.

When you start looking at the financials and it looks real big and there is all this money in sports and volleyball would only cost “X” number of dollars why isn’t this possible? It’s really hard to get on TV and generate enough television revenue and get it on ESPN, so it becomes a topic of conversation every night.

When you look at MLS they started it when the world cup was in LA in 94. They launched the MLS and it didn’t make any money for 10 years and that is soccer with a focus around the World Cup. Now they are doing fine and they have learned a lot. We can learn a lot from the MLS that we are looking at. You have to find the right people, right markets, and get it on TV.”

“I think for the first time we have a real organized, disciplined, purposeful system for trying to grow the game in North America. I think it’s going to be exciting to see what we can do. It’s going to take time. This is a 10-year project for us. We have to understand that this is a challenge for all of us that love the game. It’s worth the time and investment to see how far we can take our game.“

If you’re interested donating to Motor MVB or learning more about their plans to grow the men’s game please visit their website http://www.motormvb.com/

NCAA: Coach Hanson

NCAA: Coach Hanson

The Ohio State Buckeyes repeated as NCAA National Champions this year in front of their home crowd in Columbus Ohio. Combined with their 2011 Championships and Loyola’s 2014 & 2015 Championships, Eastern teams have won the last 4 NCAA National Championships and 5 of the last 7. Penn State made history in 1994 being the first school based outside of California to win an NCAA Championship. Coach Pete Hanson from the Ohio State Buckeyes took the time to meet with us about his programs success and the growth of men’s volleyball across Division 1. 

“I think boys volleyball is growing nation wide in the US.  If you want to be successful at this sport you can go anywhere across the country and have a high level of success collegiately. 20-30 years ago if you wanted a better than average chance to win you had to go to the west coast. I think that’s definitely changed. “

When asked about Motor MVB’s Project to create more opportunities for boys volleyball in the United States, Coach Hansen said “We would love to see growth at the division 1 level. I would love to see the Big 10, Pac 12, ACC or SEC or any of the power conferences. Getting it to be a little more on par with where the women’s game is in terms of being a main stream sport in those conferences.” 

One area of the game that Ohio State has invested in that has contributed to their success is their world class serving. Ohio State was very aggressive from the service line this year with standouts Nicolas Szerszen, Miles Johnson, and Christy Blough. “It’s easy to potentially deal with 1 server, but when you’ve got 3 that keep coming at you. It eventually wares you down and breaks you. It’s a relentless amount of pressure.“ When asked how coaches can instill this philosophy with their own teams Coach Hansen said “We decided as coaches we needed to buy into this. We need to turn these guys loose and allow them to do this and understand if we’re on we’re going to be great and if we’re off some there is a chance we lose or things don’t go well. But it’s worth the risk.” 

The need for getting teams out of system contributed to the patience Ohio State had with this serving philosophy.  “When the setter is on the net with all options and the back row guy is available they are going to score at will on you when they are in system. You have to find a way to minimize that and serving has become a component of that.” Over the season the Ohio State players managed their errors and continued their relentless level of pressure. During the season Ohio State earned 225 aces while their opponents earned 98 against them.

Canadian fans are aware of Ohio State’s playing style. The Buckeyes have had a relationship with McMaster University over the last few seasons. “Coach Preston’s team plays a great level of volleyball. They beat us pretty good and that was good for us. There was some differences for us and we didn’t respond to the situation very well.” Fans can get excited, McMcaster has announced their schedule for the 2017-2018 season that includes a two matches against the Buckeyes October 21 and 22. “Our experience with Coach Preston and McMaster has been extraordinary and we’d like to continue it. I like to play different opponents and different styles of opponents. I think it’s good for both programs. Now we just have to find a way to beat these guys.” 

Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Ohio State will have a good core of players including Nicolas Szerszen return as they compete for their 3rd straight national title. If the Buckeyes capture their 3rd straight title they would join the UCLA Bruins as the only two teams to hold this record in NCAA Men’s Volleyball history.

NCAA: Nicolas Szerszen

NCAA: Nicolas Szerszen

For the second straight year the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated BYU in the NCAA final. Nicolas Szerszen lead the Buckeyes with 16 kills on 24 attempts, 8 digs, and one block. This year the Buckeyes captured the title in front of over 8200 fans at home at the St. John Arena in Columbus Ohio. Nicolas credits the success of the Buckeyes to their focus and preparation. “There is only one reason: the hard work. It goes through taking each game as seriously and as important as the other. Coming early to get extra reps.” Nicolas added “I also think we all were a group of friends who enjoyed to play together.” 

Nicolas grew up in France and made the decision to attend Ohio State University to study engineering. If he had stayed in Europe he would have had to focus on playing professionally or continuing his studies. Ohio State was the perfect fit where he could continue his studies and compete at a high level with the Buckeyes. Nicolas isn’t the first player from the France National Team to have a great career in the NCAA. Kevin Tillie was a starting outside hitter for UC Irvine where he won two NCAA National Championships in 2012 and 2013 before joining the France National Team that won the 2015 World League. A bigger influence on Szerszen decision to join the NCAA was his sister Anna, who still ranks in the top 20 for career kills and points as member of the Ohio State Women’s Volleyball team from 2006-2010. 

“The NCAA is more physical. It's more of a power game I would say. The European game is more technical.” 

Nicolas started volleyball at age 6, which is early compared to many North American athletes. His high level of skill and knowledge of the sport can be seen with his hitting efficiency and his world class serves. In 2016 Nicolas was awarded the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year while hitting .384, with 516 kills in 34 matches, adding 63 aces, 206 digs and 57 blocks. He is the first recipient in Ohio State’s history. Szerszen joins former winners and top international players Taylor Sander, Taylor Crabb, Kawika Shoji, and Matt Anderson. Nicolas has represented France on the U19 and U21 National Teams. It’s only natural to compare him to one of the best outside hitters in the world and fellow countryman Earvin Ngapeth. “He's definitely a crazy player. He's doing things that are unseen and amazing. I think everyone should watch and learn as I do.” 

Nicolas is one of those rare athletes that has the million dollar arm, he can hit it an extraordinary high rate.”
- Coach Pete Hanson on Nicolas Szerszen’s serve. 

When asked about the Player of the Year Award Nicolas said “It feels good to be recognized and I'm glad I could help my team.“ Nicolas has one year remaining at Ohio State where they will challenge for their third straight national championship. Looking at what he has accomplished already in the NCAA it will be exciting to see his performance in his senior year and how he transitions into his professional career. 

NCAA: Sophie Bukovec

NCAA: Sophie Bukovec

Sophie Bukovec added to her already impressive resume by winning her third straight NCAA Beach Volleyball National Championships with the USC Trojans. Bukovec graduates USC with a degree in sociology where she was named to the Dean’s List and won a Marks Scholar Award. Sophie has also won two PAC 12 Championships and been named an All American twice. Her overall record at USC was 103-3. 

Bukovec originally joined the NCAA as a member of the Long Beach State 49ers  indoor volleyball team where she helped win the NCAA Big West Championships. Before joining the NCAA Sophie played one year in the OUA at McMaster University. That season Mac won the OUA Championships. Bukovec won the Final 4 MVP, McMaster Rookie of the Year and was a member of the OUA All Rookie Team and OUA First Team All Star. On the beach Bukovec won the 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships with Tia Miric and the 2013 Canada Games with Ali Wooley.    

With so many accomplishments before she joined the Trojans it is impressive that Sophie continued to improve at such a high level, something she credits to the practice environment at USC. “Practice at USC, is unlike any practice that I have ever been apart of. My coaches and teammates have created the most competitive environment that is still all about the learning process. How those two can co-exist so perfectly at our practices, still blows my mind.” 

The NCAA uses a best of 5 format for beach volleyball where each school ranks their teams 1 to 5 and you compete against the same ranked team from the other school. The first school to win 3 matches wins the dual. What some fans may not know is that teams can improve or lower their ranking based on exhibition matches against your teammates in practice. “Having 5 separate pairs within a team creates an interesting dynamic. If you want to move up in your seeding, you have to consistently beat the pair above you. That brings out the fire in my teammates every practice. Every person on my team hates to lose more than they like to win.” Add in the tradition of excellence at USC with guests such as April Ross and Misty May stopping by practice makes the environment at USC one of a kind. “It has created the best environment for me to train in, being such a competitive person. I feel like I have improved so much at USC. I have been able to spend years out of my comfort zone. “

Sophie isn’t the only international athlete to experience success in the NCAA. Canadians Megan and Nicole McNamara have experienced lots of success at UCLA. A total of seven international athletes competed at the 2017 National Championships. As the sport continues to grow in the NCAA look for more international stars to play their post-secondary careers in the NCAA. “The sport is growing so rapidly in the U.S, with phenomenal coaches developing programs and creating strong competitive athletes. Many of the players in these top schools have competed in AVP’s, NORCECA’s, at World Championships for their respective country and some FIVB’s.” For any Canadians interested in pursueing a NCAA scholarship for beach volleyball Bukovec offers the following advice. “It is definitely scary to drop everything that is familiar, and live in a completely new place for four years. But it is so worth it. You not only find yourself, but you will make long lasting memories and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your lives. She also added “A big thing that I learned while playing NCAA is that, you have the choice to create an environment that is right for you. Where you feel like you can improve, feel safe, feel comfortable, where you will make some of the best memories of your life. It is okay not to know what you want right away, but it is worth exploring!”

This summer Sophie will play with Olympian Jamie Broder. The pair won the latest Volleyball Canada Norceca Trials, earning the the right to represent Canada at the upcoming Norceca events. The pair will also travel on the FIVB World Tour. “I have been lucky to have the opportunity to compete against some of the best beach athletes in the U.S every day at practice, which has definitely prepared me for the world tour. You learn to manage relationships, travel, prepare and compete which are all necessary to be successful on tour. I am excited to finally become a professional athlete and compete on the world tour.”

2015 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship

2015 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship

For the fifth consecutive year, we are hosting an NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship Bracket Challenge.  Check out the full bracket below and be sure to fill out a prediction.  Prediction entries close when the first game of the tournament takes place.

The tournament begins on December 3rd, 2015 with the regional finals taking place on December 12th.  Regional hosts are: San Diego, Lexington, Austin and Des Moines .  Tournament finals will take place in Omaha, Nebraska on December 17th-19th.

Last year ColoradoKid won the tournament with a score of 155 and 54/63 correct picks.

Cover Photo: Asten

Tournament has begun so predictions are now closed.  Enjoy the tournament!

Bracket


Live Streams

Thursday December 3rd, 2015

Friday December 4th, 2015

  • American vs. Kentucky - 4:30 p.m. EST (CSL)
  • Coastal Carolina vs. Creighton - 4:30 p.m. EST (GoHeelsTV)
  • Southern Illinois vs. Illinois - 5:00 p.m. EST (ESPN3.com)
  • Dayton vs. Villanova - 5:00 p.m. EST (CSL)
  • UNI vs. Marquette - 5:30 p.m. EST (Gopher Sports)
  • Kansas State vs. Wichita State - 5:30 p.m. EST
  • TCU vs. Hawaii - 5:30 p.m. EST (ESPN3.com)
  • UNCW vs. North Carolina - 6:30 p.m. EST (GoHeelsTV)
  • Robert Morris vs. Ohio State - 7:00 p.m. EST (BTN2Go)
  • Arizona vs. Western Kentucky - 7:00 p.m. EST (TheW.tv)
  • Belmont vs. Louisville - 7:00 p.m. EST (ESPN3.com)
  • Purdue vs. Texas - 7:00 p.m. EST (Longhorn Network)
  • Florida State vs. Florida - 7:00 p.m. EST (ESPN3.com)
  • Howard vs. Penn State - 7:30 p.m. EST (CSL)
  • Jackson State vs. Minnesota - 7:30 p.m. EST (BTN2Go)
  • Texas A&M C.C. vs. Texas A&M - 7:30 p.m. EST (SEC Network)
  • Missouri vs. Kansas - 7:30 p.m. EST (ESPN3.com)
  • Michigan State vs. Arkansas State - 8:00 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Live Stream)
  • Harvard vs. Nebraska - 8:00 p.m. EST (BTN2Go)
  • Santa Clara vs. Michigan - 8:30 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Live Stream)
  • Iowa State vs. Wisconsin - 9:00 p.m. EST (BTN2Go)
  • Ohio vs. BYU - 9:00 p.m. EST (BYUtv)
  • San Diego vs. USC - 10:00 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Live Stream)
  • Loyola Marymount vs. Stanford - 10 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Live Stream)
  • Denver vs. Washington - 10:30 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Live Stream)
  • Lipscomb vs. UCLA - 11:00 p.m. EST (Pac-12 Live Stream)

Saturday December 5th, 2015

  • Michigan State vs. Washington
  • Marquette vs. Minnesota
  • Dayton vs. Penn State
  • Hawaii vs. Texas A&M
  • Western Kentucky vs. BYU
  • American vs. Ohio State
  • Michigan vs. UCLA
  • Illinois vs. Louisville
  • UNC vs. Creighton
  • Wichita State vs. Nebraska

Friday December 11th, 2015

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

  • Texas vs. Minnesota (ESPN2)
  • Kansas vs. Nebraska (ESPN2

Saturday December 19th, 2015

NCAA: Loyola Chicago Goes Back-To-Back

NCAA: Loyola Chicago Goes Back-To-Back

The Loyola University Chicago Ramblers defeated the Lewis Flyers in a match for the ages 

Jaeschke netted three kills and a block to take the Ramblers to a 15-9 lead. 

But Lewis came back in large part from the strong, physical play of their outside hitters, with Petty scoring a huge pipe hit to make it 13-15. Lewis tied it up at 19 after a series of tough spin serves and rallied from there. 

Lewis ended up winning the first set after a kill from Petty, who ended the set with an astonishing 7 kills. He also hit at a .667 percentage rate as Lewis got rid of early-game jitters to take control.

The second started out more subdued, with teams playing a smarter and more accurate game. But Lewis took an early 9-7 lead, due in large part to high-efficiency attacking and scrappy defense. 

Still Loyola couldn’t seem to find rhythm, with Peter Hutz and Cody Caldwell failing to connect on numerous occasions. But after a 19-14 lead seemed to guarantee Lewis the set, Loyola tied it up at 21-21 on a kill from Cody Caldwell.

Jendryk and Jaeschke closed out the second set with a team block to shut down Petty. They took the set 25-23.

 Photo: Phil James

Photo: Phil James

In the third set, Loyola got off to a 7-0 start and controlled play to finish the set with a commanding 25-20 lead. Loyola also started stepping up their blocking game and shut down any hint of offense from the Flyers. Nicolas Olson closed the set off, as the Lewis middles had trouble keeping up with the 6’11” Wisconsin native. 

The Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association has never achieved this much success at a national championship. On top of the 1-2 finish, Thomas Jaeschke was named AVCA men’s player of the year. He also won his second consecutive MIVA player of the year award.

Lewis gained an 15-11 lead but Loyola caught up to tie it at 15-15, in large part because of the middle blocking and Jaeschke, who dominated in the front and back row. At 16-16, Lucas Yanez made a miraculous dive to help put his team up, as Lewis brought their signature scrappiness to the fore. 

After exchanging points up to 23, Loyola went up with a match point, but failed to close the gap as Schmiegelt scored to keep it alive. Geoff Powell, playing better and better as the game went on, aced the Ramblers to take the 4th. 

In the fifth, both teams played neck and neck, with Gevis and Jendryk shutting down Lewis at the net. But with neither team willing to budge,

The two Illinois Universities exhibited a physical style of play, with finesse plays like tips and rolls rarely played by both team’s attackers. 

Yanez saved the game at 14-13 with a desperation tip, and from there on, the teams went back and forth with several match points on each side. Olson thought he had won it with a block at 18-17, but the Ramblers had to leave the court after celebrating prematurely. But at 22-21 Loyola blocked Petty, 

Jaeschke was named tournament MVP, finishing the game with 20 kills three aces and 3 block assists. 

NCAA: Lewis Sets Up MIVA Re-Match in Saturdays Final

NCAA: Lewis Sets Up MIVA Re-Match in Saturdays Final

Lewis University is only an hour’s drive away from Chicago’s Loyola University, but they will be facing each other 2000 miles away for NCAA volleyball supremacy. The Flyers won the game (25-20, 25-22, 16-25, 25-20) in a game filled with high flyers and big blocks. 

The 2008 NCAA champions fought hard to keep up with Lewis’ physical play, but failed to control outside hitters Eric Fitterer and Greg Petty, who combined for 26 kills on Thursday night at the Maples’. 

Lewis won the first set in large part because of 6’9” middle Bobby Walsh, who finished the game with 11 total blocks and hit an error-free game at 7-0-12.  

Lewis played in their signature heavy blocking, heavy serving style to put Penn State on their heels. Geoff Powell, a senior out of Claremont, California, lead the Flyers with TK kills.

Aaron Russell fought through Lewis’ big block while the Romeoville, Illinois, based team made several unforced errors. They finished out the set with a 25-22 victory.

Lewis got off to a quick start in the third set and took over with a comfortable lead for nearly the whole way. Walsh continued his blocking rout and Eric Fitterer stepped up with three kills and two blocks. Russell and 6’4” senior Christ Nugent kept the Nittany Lions in the game, but their efforts weren’t enough to stop Lewis’ attacking.

Russell stuck it out in the 4th set, getting a huge pack on Eric Fitterer early on. Despite the close game, both teams played tentatively in the fourth, trading points for most of the set, with Lewis keeping a small lead until the end, where they won 5 of the last seven points. 

The Flyers will now face Loyola University in the finals on Saturday. This re-match of the MIVA Final will be the first all-Illinois Men's volleyball Final in history. In fact, Saturday's match is the first Final without a team from California.  

NCAA: Loyola Chicago Returns to Championship Match

NCAA: Loyola Chicago Returns to Championship Match

The Loyola University Ramblers defeated the University of California - Irvine Anteaters 3-0 in a one-sided match held at the Maples Pavilion at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

The Ramblers won 25-22 25-19 25-17 in three sets, and never really lost control for more than a few points. Imposing power and consistency against the Anteater's sloppy play, Loyola will be returning to the national final for a second consecutive year. 

Despite a show of heart and a strong showing from Huntington Beach, California native Zack La Cavera—could not contain the consistent serving, blocking and attacking from the Chicago-based University. 

In the first set, sloppy play gave Irvine an early lead, but Loyola’s power proved too much for Irvine, who were outmatched in weight and size. 

In the second, Irvine caught up from an early deficit, but a pair of service aces from #3 Wisconsin native Trevor Novotny stopped any chance of a comeback. 

Lead by 6’10” Junior Nicholas Olson (7 blocks) and AVCA Player of the Year Thomas Jaeschke (9 kills, 3 blocks), Loyola owned the Southern California team at the net and on the baseline, consistently forcing passers off balance. 

Hitting errors also dogged Irvine, as they finished with 23 errors, more than double Loyola’s 11. 

Loyola’s win will make this year’s national final an “all-East” matchup in a sport traditionally dominated by west coast teams. Irvine were the only California representative of this year’s 6 competitors.  For the first time in history, the NCAA men's volleyball final will not feature a 

The Ramblers will play the winner of Penn State and Lewis University on Saturday. 

NCAA: Bukovec Named All-American as USC Wins Championship

NCAA: Bukovec Named All-American as USC Wins Championship

The USC Trojans team has captured their first AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Team Championship this weekend with a 3-0 against Long Beach State in the finals. 

The win was especially sweet for Sophie Bukovec (Toronto, On) who was a member of LBSU for the fall semester during the indoor season, then transferred to USC in January for sand season. Her and partner Alexa Strange bowed out of the Pairs Championship against USC's top team, and eventual winners Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes, in the quarterfinals and were an instrumental part of the Team Championship as USC-2. 

The Trojans went a perfect 28-0 this season on route to their first team championship in the sport, but Claes/Hughes are the third-straight Trojan team to take home the pairs title. For Sara Hughes, it's here second championship in a row, having won it all in 2014 with Kirby Burnham. 

NCAA: Bailey Transfers to Michigan State

NCAA: Bailey Transfers to Michigan State

One of the top Canadians playing in the NCAA, Autumn Bailey (Burlington, On), has transferred to Michigan State and will be eligible for the 2015 season.

The 2014 Big East Player of the Year playing for Maquette set a school-record with 576 kills last season and average 5.15 points per set in her two years with the Golden Eagles and led them to the second-round of the NCAA tournament last season. 

Bailey will be joining former club and Assumption High School teammate Alyssah Fitterer (Burlington, On), who will also be in her Junior season with the Spartans. The pair won gold at the 2013 Canadian Open 18U Championships with Defensa, adding to the silver they won in 2012. 

Read Michigan State's story here. 

Video: John Oliver on the NCAA

Video: John Oliver on the NCAA

"The NCAA doesn't pay athletes because they consider them amateurs. The NCAA considers them amateurs because they don't get paid."

We here at Volleyball Source are big fans of John Oliver and his HBO show Last Week Tonight.  This past week, he discusses something we have a lot of experience with: college athletics.  While volleyball isn't a moneymaker at the level of football or basketball, this video is a good watch for those unfamiliar with how much money the NCAA and schools actually earn and spend.

Asics CanAm Challenge

Asics CanAm Challenge
  Malibu, California - Home of Pepperdine University (Photo: Wikipedia)

Malibu, California - Home of Pepperdine University (Photo: Wikipedia)

Canadian volleyball teams travelling to the US at this time of year isn't something new.  NCAA men's volleyball starts in January and it has become common for American schools to invite some of their Canadian friends down for some pre-season scrimmages, practices or matches.

This year Pepperdine University based in Malibu, California is hosting The Asics CanAm Challenge.  There is limited information about this "event" but from the looks of it, it's just one exhibition match between The Alberta Golden Bears men's volleyball team and The Pepperdine Waves.

Live Stream

Pepperdine vs. Alberta - 8:00 p.m. EST (Live Stream)

NCAA: 2013 Women's Championships

 Wisconsin takes on Penn State in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship later today.

Wisconsin takes on Penn State in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship later today.

Tonight sees the 2013 NCAA Women's Volleyball championship match in Seattle, Washington.  The Key Arena is hosting the final four and it has already been quite the event.

Thursday saw Penn State defeat the host, Washington, in three easy sets (25-14, 25-13, 25-16). This only confirms the year long buzz around this year's Nittany Lion squad.  A Cinderella story continues for Wisconsin.  After going through California, Florida State and Purdue, Wisconsin kept their dreams alive as they defeated last year's defending champions, The Texas Longhorns.

Live Stream

Wisconsin vs. Penn State - 9:30 p.m. EST

Two live streams are available for the final tonight on ESPN 2.

Of course, as always, Canadian viewers looking to watch the stream can do so on the free live stream, or find a way to watch the better stream *wink wink*.

The Volleyball Source Podcast: Episode 69

The Volleyball Source Podcast: Episode 69

This week on the show we speak with Jen Cross of the Michigan Wolverines. Jen talks to us about this year's NCAA women's volleyball tournament and her career at Michigan.

Wanna ask Jen or us a question during the show?  Send us a tweet below, or leave a comment on YouTube.

NCAA: December 5th First Round Webcast Schedule

NCAA: December 5th First Round Webcast Schedule
 The Texas Longhorns will start their run at defending the NCAA title tonight

The Texas Longhorns will start their run at defending the NCAA title tonight

It's finally here, the start of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament. Only eight matches on the schedule tonight, with the action going down at only four locations. 

Thursday December 5th - First Round

University of Texas

UTSA vs. Texas A&M - 5:30 p.m. EST

Texas (1) vs. Texas State - 8:00 p.m. EST

Stanford

Alabama vs. Oklahoma - 7:30 p.m. EST

Stanford (7) vs. Hampton - 10:00 p.m. EST

University of Southern California 

Colorado State vs. CSU Northridge - 8:00 p.m. EST

USC (6) vs. New Hampshire - 10:30 p.m. EST

University of Florida

Georgia Southern vs. Florida State - 5:00 p.m. EST

Florida (5) vs. Jacksonville - 7:00 p.m. EST

 

 

 

The Volleyball Source Podcast: Episode 68

The Volleyball Source Podcast: Episode 68

This week on the show, we are all about NCAA Women's Volleyball. We preview the bracket and speak with Penn State Assistant Coach Steve Aird. Coach Aird returns to the program to discuss Penn State's #2 seed and their expectations heading into the tournament.

Ask us, or Coach Aird a question, by tweeting to @VolleyballSM.  Use the link below:

NCAA: Canadians Ready To Shine At NCAA Tournament

NCAA: Canadians Ready To Shine At NCAA Tournament
 Caroline Jarmoc of Kansas is one of the Canadians who will be expected to carry a heavy load once the tournament starts on Thursday

Caroline Jarmoc of Kansas is one of the Canadians who will be expected to carry a heavy load once the tournament starts on Thursday

 
 Calgary's Caroline Jarmoc

Calgary's Caroline Jarmoc

Caroline Jarmoc - Kansas

Calgary, Alberta - Senior

Conference: Big 12

National Ranking: 12th

AVCA Ranking: 23rd

Record: 22-6

This 2012 Second-team All-American has already led her team to a second-place finish in the Big 12, which is the best result the Jayhawks have ever had. j She’s already making a strong case at being the best player Kansas has ever seen, and making a deep run into the tournament would cement her in that title.

 
 Can Jenn Cross and the Michigan Wolverines make another Final Four run?

Can Jenn Cross and the Michigan Wolverines make another Final Four run?

Jenn Cross - Michigan

Scarborough, Ontario - Senior

Conference: Big 10

National Ranking: 28th

AVCA Ranking: 23rd

Record: 18-13

This All-American helped the Wolverines get to the Final Four last year, can she better it in her senior year?

Michigan struggled this year, barely scrapping by to make the tournament, and putting themselves in a tough bracket with a possible second-round match-up with No. 3 Washington. If they're going to make another run, Cross will have to be at her best. 

Luckily for the Wolverines, Cross is playing her best this year, racking up 338 kills, while hitting a team leading .319, and chipping in defensively with 114 blocks and 109 digs.

 
 Burlington's Autumn Bailey is the Big East Freshman of the Year, if Marquette is to get passed the second round, it will be on her back

Burlington's Autumn Bailey is the Big East Freshman of the Year, if Marquette is to get passed the second round, it will be on her back

Autumn Bailey - Marquette

Burlington, Ontario - Freshman

Conference: Big East

National Ranking: 10th

AVCA Ranking: 24th

Record: 23-5

Marquette is going for their third consecutive tournament appearance in a row, and a lot of what they did this year is thanks to Freshman Autumn Bailey. The Big East Player of the Year has had a breakout year for Marquette, leading her team with an astonishing 430 kills, while hitting a .422. and adding a casual 335 digs. The Golden Eagles will surely look for her 4.82 points/set if they're going to make a run. 

 

Alexa Gray - BYU

Calgary, Alberta - Sophmore

Conference: West Coast

National Ranking: 29th

AVCA Ranking: 21st

Record: 22-6

Alexa Gray helped lead Team Alberta to a Gold Medal at the Canada Games this summer, and that success has continued along with the BYU Cougars. Her 414 kills this year helped BYU to a solid 22-6 record, could the Cougars surprise a few people and make a deep Tournament run?

 

Whitney Follette - Arizona State

St. Albert, Alberta - Sophmore

Conference: Pac-12

National Ranking: 49th

Record: 19-13

Follette played in 31 of 32 matches this year for the Sun Devils, and led the team with both a .328 hitting percentage and 114 blocks, while chipping in for 217 kills on the season.

 

Maddie Hills - College of Charleston

Toronto, Ontario - Freshman

Conference: Colonial

National Ranking: 65th

AVCA Ranking: -

Record: 25-5

Maddie Hills has had a solid freshman year coming off the bench for the Cougars

 

Shainah Joseph - Florida 

Ottawa, Ont - Freshman

Team: Florida

Conference: Southeastern

NCAA Ranking: 4th

AVCA Ranking: 6th

Record: 26-3

Appearing in only 5 sets this year, this freshman probably won’t see any tournament action for the Gators, but be sure to keep on eye on Mary Wise’s Garors as Joseph is bound to make a name for herself in the years to come

 

Alicia Ogoms – USC

Winnipeg, Manitoba - Sophmore

Conference: PAC-12

National Ranking: 6th

AVCA Ranking: 7th

Record: 24-5

Ogoms was an honorable mention to make the Pac-12 as a rookie last year, but hasn’t appeared in a match since September 6th, leading us to think she’s injured

Allyssah Fitterer & Jazmine White - Michigan State

Conference: Big 10

National Ranking: 27th

AVCA Ranking: 19th

Record: 20-10

Jazmine White – Oshawa, Ontario - Junior 

The Oshawa native plays a solid role for the Spartans, appearing for a set or two in every match they have played this year.

Allyssah Fitterer – Barrie, Ontario - Freshman

This freshman has played in every match for the Spartans, and has solidified her position in the starting rotation with 189 kills this year and a 2.60 hitting percentage. A breakout performance from her could mean a long run for the Spartans