The Daemen College men’s volleyball team kicked off just its second season in program history by competing impressively against some of the nation’s toughest championship teams. For a team almost entirely comprised of underclassmen, the Wildcats held their own against three national powerhouses: UCLA, Pepperdine, and Harvard. Head Coach Don Gleason made sure the team was well prepared to host these NCAA Division 1 opponents.
The regular season opener took place on Jan. 2 against No. 2 ranked and 19 time national champions, UCLA in a sold out Lumsden Gymnasium. The Wildcats fell to the Bruins in straight sets, but held their own putting up solid points each set. Coach Gleason then got his team ready for No. 8 ranked Pepperdine. Pepperdine, which holds five national championships (second only to UCLA all-time) in its storied history, did not run away with any of the sets. Coach Gleason’s young team once again continued to put up points and proved they belong on the court with the country’s best talent.
The season opening stretch was capped off with yet another impressive showing from the Wildcats taking a set from Harvard. The ambitious scheduling of Head Coach Don Gleason proved to be an effective way to show his team that they can compete with anyone. An added benefit was having all three matches played before capacity—or near capacity—crowds at Lumsden Gym. The team will have a breather until Jan. 26 when it travels across town for a match at D’Youville College.