After three seasons, volleyball team still not set

By Sports & Health Reporter

Changes in leadership and a failed attempt to join a competitive league have contributed to a disappointing year on the sidelines for the Renegades volleyball team. 

The team was unable to play competitively this year. The Renegades joined the co-ed Players Sport and Social Group, but because the season’s first game occurred during Spring Break, the Renegades were no longer eligible to compete, according to Vinny Cavello,  a co-captain and a senior business & entrepreneurship major. 

“We had to leave the league because we missed the first game due to our Spring Break, and no one was able to participate,” Cavello said. “After that, we weren’t able to play because once you miss a game, you’re not eligible anymore.”

The team had originally pursued participating in a fall league. However, the team did not have an official roster by the start of the season, Cavello said. The schedule proved problematic when the Renegades registered for a spring season. 

“It was a little bit of a bummer but we tried to keep going because we are all very passionate about volleyball,” Cavello said. “This semester, we continued and signed up for a league, but unfortunately the league didn’t get enough people to sign up, so they pushed us further into the spring.”

Despite being unable to compete, the team has continued to practice weekly throughout the year. Cavello attributes the team’s persistence to the passion of its members. 

“When you have a love for something, especially at Columbia, everyone has their understanding of what their passion is about [and] you can keep playing regardless,” Cavello said. “We have that team mentality. We love the sport. We want to keep going together. Hopefully in the fall, they can really build it up and bring it to its full potential.”

The Renegades parent organization have provided support throughout the year, according to Michael Sempek, Renegades President and junior television major. 

“We helped them transition between leadership,” Sempek said. “There was leadership that wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as productive as it could have been. We helped find other players who would fit the role of a leader.”

The Renegades ensure communication between the organization and teams through meetings in order to provide support through whatever challenges may occur. 

“Our vice president, Scott Wilson, is in charge of teams and handling all of their issues,” Sempek said. “Every other week, he has a one-on-one meeting with a captain from every team and he asks them what they’re up to and how things are going and gives suggestions because he’s been a captain for baseball in the past.”

The Renegades hope to see new students join in the fall who will bring new life to the team, according to Sempek.

“I just want to see them get more people. They’ve been a strong team in the past,” he said. “I’d like to see them become more where they used to be.”

The team is focusing on retaining and expanding membership, as well as creating a strong foundation for next season.

“The team’s goal from now until next semester is bringing in new participants and bringing in the captains [to lead next season],” Cavello said. “[Current captains are] trying to instill the idea that the team is what you make of it, so if we can all pull together, we can make it a really amazing experience for everybody.”

Freshman television major Brooke Lundquist was captain of her high school volleyball team and hopes to lead Columbia’s team in the coming years.

“Volleyball is a pretty big part of who I am,” Lundquist said. “I think carrying that over to college is important to me.”

The team is currently struggling to publicize itself, according to Lundquist. She said she understands that several students are occupied with schoolwork and other responsibilities but said she hopes the volleyball team can serve as a fun outlet for students.

“Next season, I’m hoping that more people will get involved,” Lundquist said. “[I hope] we’re actually able to get ourselves involved with leagues. We’re actually a team that gets together and goes and plays a game every week and, it’s a positive place to go somewhere you can put your time and get rid of stress. I want it to be something people can come and enjoy.”