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The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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COD Men’s Volleyball Goes 1-3 in Chaparral Invitational Tournament

The Chaparrals hosted an invitational tournament and played against four different institutions.
Rachel Wagner

The College of DuPage men’s volleyball team held the Chaparral Invitational tournament, playing a total of four games on Feb. 17 and 18. The Chaparrals closed out their weekend with one win and three losses, making their overall record 4-8.

“I actually thought we did very well,” head volleyball coach Tolis Koskinaris said. “The two matches that we were really gunning for were the Finger Lakes and Monroe matches. We played them very close, but they both were just a little bit ahead of us. We still have two months to go until the national tournament; so we’ll see where this thing ends up.”

COD will host the NJCAA Invitational Tournament for the second consecutive year April 12 and 13.

Game One VS Judson College Junior Varsity (10-7)

Freshman libero Ben Hoover goes in for an overhand jump serve against the Cougars. (Rachel Wagner)

The Chaparrals started the tournament with intensity, landing a team total of 12 service aces. COD also jumped 14 total blocks (two solo, 12 assisted) to keep control defensively. With their first home win of the season, the Chaps flew past the Eagles 3-1. The final scores of the sets were 25-20, 30-28, 23-25 and 25-17.

“That was a dog fight,” assistant men’s volleyball coach Braden Woods said. “We did a good job. We came out hot right away, and that was very good and even [playing]. Then we started to get a little more hot and cold. Our adrenaline started to mess with us just a little bit, but we were able to close out very strong. Our offense was a highlight. Defense was an area that we struggled in that kind of started in this game and then carried throughout the weekend. We never quite made that adjustment.”

Freshman middle hitter Justus Barbel spiked 11 kills on 16 attacks and led the team with three service aces and seven service errors. He also jumped five total blocks (one solo, four assisted) and made three set assists. He said he wanted to set the tone for the Chaps in hopes of a consistent showing throughout the tournament.

“I was just trying to make a statement for the weekend and set an example for the team,” Barbel said. “I feel like in the past we kind of just coasted. We’d never had a dominant performance over [another team]. I was just trying to play my hardest for the team, so we could have some energy to bounce off of and push forward through the tournament.”

Sophomore setter Phurin Kosumapinun was the starting setter through all four matches. He notched the most set assists against the Eagles with 36. In game one, Kosumapinun landed one kill on five attacks with two errors and one service ace. He also made one dig and matched Barbel’s blocking efforts with one solo and four assisted blocks. He said the game against Judson wasn’t his best performance, but the win helped the team’s confidence early in the tournament.

“Statistics-wise sure, I put up great numbers, but [Judson] wasn’t like the stronger teams we faced in the tournament,” Kosumapinun said. “Coming out with a win right off the bat made us confident, and we played with more energy. It allowed us to break away from our record and play the best volleyball we could’ve.”

Sophomore left side Mike Fenley matched Barbel with 11 kills on 25 attacks but made six errors. He also made four set assists, one dig and scored with one service ace.

Sophomore left side Mike Fenley makes an underhand receive to start an attack against the Lakers. (Rachel Wagner)

Game Two VS Monroe College (12-3)

COD split their matches against Monroe College 1-1 in New York at Monroe’s invitational tournament last month, winning the first one in three sets and dropping the second in five. The Chaps looked good offensively after winning the first set by six points, but the Mustangs regrouped and took back control through the next three sets. COD kept fighting on the offensive side of the ball, but their defense couldn’t stay consistent. The Chaps fell to the Mustangs 1-3 (25-19, 23-25, 23-25 and 21-25).

“Our best complete match even though it was emotionally the hardest was against Monroe,” Koskinaris said. “[Considering] enthusiasm and energy, definitely the Saint Xavier match, but that has a different feel than the conference matches. You feel a little more pressure with those. We tactically did very well; Monroe was just able to edge it out in the last three sets. It was close, good volleyball.”

Sophomore outside hitter Blake Huberty led the team, spiking eight kills on 24 attacks with three errors. He also jumped five total blocks (one solo, four assisted) and made three digs. He named the Mustangs as the team’s hardest opponents but said the game was their best of the tournament.

“Monroe has been a grudge match for us,” Huberty said. “[Last season] they’d beat us every time we’d play them. This time I think we had a little something we didn’t the last couple of times.”

Barbel landed seven kills on 18 attacks with two errors. Continuing his defensive consistency, he also led the team with five total blocks (two solo, three assisted) and made two digs. He agreed with Huberty’s assessment that COD’s best game of the weekend was against the Mustangs.

“I feel like last week in New York when we played [Monroe], we had the grit in our latter sets of our matches,” Barbel said. “This week I feel like we came locked in, focused and ready to pound them into the ground.”

Freshman middle hitter Justus Barbel smashes the ball past two Monroe blockers. (Rachel Wagner)

Game Three VS Finger Lakes Community College (18-3)

The Chaparrals looked to start off day two of the tournament with a win over Finger Lakes Community College after getting shut out by the Lakers earlier in the season. COD’s defense once again struggled to keep up with their offense, and the Lakers kept momentum throughout the match. Finger Lakes reminded COD why they’re the defending national champions, shutting them out for the second time this season. The final scores of the sets were 22-25, 20-25 and 27-29.

“Finger Lakes does things that go against our strengths,” Koskinaris said. “We just have to make a few adjustments when we play them. Finger Lakes is a good team and a great ball-handling team. We just have to change our style when we play them.”

Freshman outside hitter Osiel Cruz led the team with nine kills on 14 attacks with two errors through the four sets. Additionally, he made three digs, one solo block and four block assists. He said he connected with Kosumpiinun on the court for offensive plays.

“I feel like I just locked in with [Kosumapinun],” Cruz said. “He was setting to me constantly and giving me good sets the entire time. We were practicing a lot over the week leading up to the tournament. We practiced a lot of go-balls and other combinations between the middle [hitters] and the setters. All of that really clicked in the tournament.”

Fenley spiked six kills on 20 attacks with three errors. Fenley also jumped one solo block, made one dig and one set assist. He said the Lakers’ discipline as a team made it hard for the Chaps to execute.

“Finger Lakes gave us the toughest time,” Fenley said. “They play very good volleyball. They’re very mature about their volleyball too. Their whole program is a very good program. They didn’t even do anything special, it’s just that they’re so disciplined that it kind of messed with everybody else. I think we have the most potential on our team alone. In our program, we just need to get that maturity and get those pieces together.”

Game Four VS Saint Xavier University Junior Varsity (6-6)

Sophomore left side Erik Perez leaps up to spike the ball past a Judson blocker. (Rachel Wagner)

After suffering a loss to the defending national champions, the Chaparrals shook up their lineup before battling the Cougars. COD’s bench tried to give Saint Xavier a different look, but they adjusted and kept offensive control. Although the Chaps brought intense energy on the court in the beginning, they couldn’t back it up defensively throughout the match and lost 0-3 (21-25, 18-25 and 15-25).

“What an energetic game and a serious effort game,” Woods said. “There were no questions in my mind about the level of effort put forth on the floor on either side of the ball. [The team] brought it. They played at 100% the entire time, which is something as a group we haven’t always been able to do. Even though not all of our typical starters were in, they put a very competitive product on the court. Even as a loss, that was a great match.”

Sophomore setter Bo Parker led the team with seven kills on 14 attacks with two errors. Parker also led with three service aces but made five service errors. Additionally, he made four digs and one set assist. He said he wanted the team to play more relaxed in their game against the Cougars in hopes of finding their spark.

“After that loss we had against Finger Lakes, which was the team we played before, we had a conversation about how we should be playing,” Parker said. “I said that we have to play for each other because volleyball is a team sport. It’s physically impossible to play this sport by yourself. As a team, we played phenomenally. Even though we lost, I wasn’t mad at all. I had a blast. I know everybody on the bench had a blast and everybody playing had a blast.”

The Chaps look to settle the score against the Cougars at 5 p.m. on Feb. 28 on Klaas Court.

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