The Eastern Mennonite University men’s volleyball team is off to an impressive start in the Continental Volleyball Conference. The team travels almost every weekend, anywhere from New York to North Carolina. The team finished 22-11 last season, tying the current program record for wins. With a 4-2 record, the team continues to improve and adjust to the 2018 season.
In her first season at EMU, Coach Danielle Lickey has taken the opportunity to begin as a head coach on the collegiate level. In her last coaching position, Lickey was an assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team at D-II University of Charleston W. Va., which happens to be her alma mater.
EMU’s Director of Athletics, Dave King, is excited to add Lickey to the coaching staff. He described her role as head coach, stating, “Danielle’s position will provide great leadership to the men’s volleyball program.”
Knowing some of the players from their early days of playing has helped Lickey transition. Junior Christian Taylor looks forward to this season because he has known the new coaches, Lickey and Assistant Coach Jack Wilson, for the entirety of his volleyball career.
This year’s roster of six seniors and five juniors has great experience, but the underclassmen are still making regular impacts, encouraging juniors and seniors to work harder.
In his time here, senior Tim Callahan said, “having three different head coaches has been a whirlwind of emotions, from good to bad. Each coach brought something different that made the team grow exponentially.” Senior William Ragland also explained, “the team still goes out every season with the same intention to win, and it doesn’t matter who is your head coach.”
Assistant Coach Jack Wilson is also new to EMU this year. He recently graduated from George Mason University, where he played for their Varsity Men’s Volleyball team. During his senior year at GMU, he was honored with multiple accolades. After graduating, he was invited to train with the USA Olympic team, before moving to Finland to play professional volleyball. A shoulder injury ended his professional career early, when he announced he would be returning to the states. Wilson talked about his expectations for the team: “I am looking forward to watching the team grow because of the potential each player has.”
Junior R.J. Ocampo described this year’s program saying, “I do not believe this men’s program has ever had the privilege of attaining such knowledgeable and experienced coaches until this year. The IQ Coach Danielle and Coach Jack have for the game is beyond our own and is perfect to get us where we need to be.”
Last year, after losing the CVC Championship in the fifth set, the Royals are ready for revenge and will do whatever it takes to get there. Through strong leadership, they will build on last year’s success.
Up next, the Royals travel to Greenville, Pa. to take on the Thiel College Tomcats on Feb. 2.