By: DANIELA PEREZ LEAL / DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
On Saturday, April 22, 2023, history was made, and LIU men’s volleyball took first place at the inaugural Northeast Conference championship.
“The emotions from the game were amazing! We were not the favorites to win the game and we were playing in front of the SFU home crowd so it was not easy, but the team atmosphere on the court and on the bench was incredible. We all work together to get the championship,” said Arthur Sueur, LIU volleyball athlete.
The Sharks were undefeated against the number one team of the conference, Saint Francis University, winning the set of games 3-0 in the first inaugural final in the conference’s history.
“When we won, I personally had a feeling of amazing accomplishment and proudness for what we just did and what we’ve done all season long to get to that point. Everybody was hugging each other and celebrating on the court, it was amazing,” said Sueur.
According to the LIU Athletics website, during the final, “Three Sharks reached double-digits in kills: Livan Moreno (12), Caden Satterfield(11), and Luke Chandler (10),” and the athlete Giomar Collazo(4) had 12 digs.
During the awards ceremony, Chandler received the tournament MVP, and Moreno, Satterfield, and Chandler got the all-tournament team.
On Wednesday, April 19, LIU won the first round against Merrimack 3-1, taking their pass to the semifinals.
On Thursday 20, the Sharks booked their ticket to the finals, after going undefeated against Daemen University.
After an unforgettable night, men’s volleyball closed the season with a 19-11 overall record in only the second season in the program’s history.
On the other hand, behind this big accomplishment is a history of hard work, discipline, sacrifice, and passion.
Since the beginning of the season, the Men's volleyball team has been working to get better weekly.
“The growth that we have is phenomenal. We are not the best team in the country right now, but we can be,” said Kai Dugquem, head coach of the team.
During the season, men’s volleyball had the following records, 6-3 in home games, 11-7 in away games, and 2-1 in neutral games, giving this a total of 19-11 overall season record.
Despite these awesome achievements, the team does not stop and continues to search for consistency, which is one of the biggest challenges in volleyball.
“In volleyball as a sport, consistency is the big challenge. Being able to keep doing the work and get the same results. We have to be consistent in what we do,” said Dugquem.
Likewise, as these athletes seek consistency they become passionate volleyball players who grow more and more each day and this definitely makes them special.
“Men’s volleyball players are different. These guys have to choose to play volleyball, despite the opinion that other people can have because volleyball commonly is a women’s sport, however, these guys choose to play volleyball because they love it, and I think you build a different person when you are passionate about the things that you do and that makes you special,” said Dugquem.
In the same way, this passion and love for the sport have led this team to promote how much fun it can be to watch a volleyball game, making every home game full of excitement and support from the entire LIU community.
Each game is more exciting than the last, and without a doubt, seeing the team so united and with so much energy on the court and on the bench makes this an unforgettable experience.
“We have one of the best benches in the country, they are fun and they make me laugh. They love each other and they celebrate each other's victories, and that is what our team is,” said Dugquem.
More than a team, men's volleyball is a big family full of energy and motivation to continue working together with discipline and dedication to achieve great goals.
In addition to succeeding on the court, the Sharks are doing great in their classes, the team has a 3.33 GPA from the last fall semester.
LIU is proud and celebrates the accomplishments of this team that won the hearts and support of the campus community through its joy and unique personality.
Certainly, this is just the beginning of many victories and successes to come for this team and program.