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The Communicator NEWS & POLITICS

Men’s Volleyball Team Off to Successful Start

Vargas, Gago, Stone

Photo credit: Aaron Johnson

Vargas, Gago, Stone
Written by: Communicator StaffFebruary 27, 2018

Written by: Emily Anderson

The Fort Wayne Mastodon men’s volleyball team has won nine of their 11 games this season. The team is grateful for their loss against Penn State because it provided an opportunity for them to see what they need to improve on.

The team’s first loss happened on Feb. 3 against Penn State University. After missing out on a few point set opportunities in the first set, gaining the lead in the second set, and keeping up with PSU the entire third set, the Mastodons ended up losing to PSU 3-1 in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

“(Tony) Price and (Pelegrin) Vargas have been healthy this year, our team is very mature this year, and players have improved themselves and their game through adversity,” said Ryan Perrotte, head coach of the men’s volleyball team.

Perrotte credited three areas for the team’s success this season: health, maturity, and team cohesion.

Perrotte also said a few players have stood out to him. Michael Keegan, a junior from California who has earned defensive player of the week twice this season, has handled his position as a setter very well.

KeeganColton Stone, a junior from Virginia, has also improved his service game, contributing to overall improvement for the team’s offense.

Tomas Gago, a freshman from Chile who joined the team in January, is leading the nation in blocks per set and has been “dynamite for the team offensively,” Perrotte said.

As the team is approaching conference play, Perrotte said conference teams are bigger and more skilled, so even though they have won most of their non-conference games, they are working to improve.The team’s main focuses for improvement are serving, passing, blocking and offensive consistency.One of the most statistically successful players this season has been Pelegrin Vargas, a sophomore from Puerto Rico. Vargas said he played volleyball for 11 years in Puerto Rico and it was his dream to come play in the United States. He returns home for the summers, where he has practiced with a national team and learned a lot that he said he has brought to his team here.

“It’s been awesome. People are seeing that we have potential and we aren’t graduating anyone so everyone’s excited and I’m having a blast. The fans have been awesome, I value that a lot,” Vargas said. “Hopefully we all stay healthy. It’s been a great year. We gotta keep working, we are never satisfied with what we are doing, we always go for more.”

Leadership within the team has been spread pretty evenly since there are no seniors on the team this year. Perrotte said he appreciates that there is collective responsibility, as he doesn’t think that one person can handle the pressure and accountability to be the sole leader.