Men’s Volleyball Team Bests Nationally-Ranked Stevens


Photo Courtesy of Misericordia Athletics

Brian Ross, senior outside hitter for the men’s volleyball team, hits the ball over the net in an attempt to keep it away from the opposing team. Ross contributed 13 kills, 10 digs and one ace to the team’s first match against Steven Institute of Technology on March 6, helping the Cougars earn a 3-1 win.

Connor Cusick, Sports Reporter

The men’s volleyball team pulled off off a win against Stevens Institute of Technology March 6.

The Cougars came into the match with a recent loss against Messiah University, so they were nervous to go up against a team ranked sixth in the nation. However, Assistant Coach Landon Shorts said all of their practice paid off during the match, as they beat the Ducks with a final score of 3-1.

“Beating any nationally ranked opponent is an accomplishment,” Shorts said. “Our guys have been working very hard in the practice gym, and it showed that day after beating Stevens.”

Austin Cervasio, sophomore middle striker, said it was an unforgettable day for him. He said this win helps validate all of the skill and hard work the team has put into the sport.

“Beating the number six team in the nation was great, not only for myself, but every single player on the team,” he said. “It really shows how our program can compete with any team.”

The day’s second match was well-fought on both sides, going into five sets, but the men ended up losing by two points for a final score of 1-3. Shorts said while this was a disappointing ending to a tough battle, he was pleased to see how hard the team fought in both games.

“I was very pleased with the way that our team played. It’s very hard to beat another team twice, especially when playing the other team the same day,” he said.

Cervasio prefers not to focus on the team’s losses and instead to focus on the progress players have made.

“Regardless of the second game loss, my team and I worked diligently for every single point during that match,” Cervasio said. “The loss does not define our hard work and effort put into the matchup.”

Shorts said he is especially proud of the team for earning the win with the added pressure caused by the pandemic.

“It’s been a challenge, but the team is running very smoothly. Our guys had to adapt to playing and practicing with a mask on, which is out of the norm for an original year of NCAA volleyball,” he said.

Cervasio said adapting to Covid guidelines was a big adjustment at first, but it became second nature once training began.

“I would say the biggest restriction that impacts us the most is competing and practicing with masks on,” he said. “It was a bit annoying at first, but it didn’t take long to get used to wearing them during our training sessions.”

After seeing the team emerge victorious against a tough competitor, Shorts said the Cougars have a good chance at making the NCAA conference tournament.

“I am very confident in our group of men,” he said. “If we continue to work hard in the practice gym and win most of our upcoming games we have a great shot at making the conference tournament and competing for the championship. That’s our ultimate goal.”

Cervasio also expressed his optimism for the remainder of the reason, saying he looks forward to proving himself in rematches.

“We will be able to compete against the teams we lost to in the first half. But before we get there, we have to focus hard and prepare for the remaining matches,” he said.

The Cougars will be face off against Widener University at home in the Anderson Center March 31 at 7 p.m.