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Boys Volleyball: Can you dig it?

Kole Greene, Contributor

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“There was a lot of interest, which, wasn’t surprising,” said head girls volleyball coach Michael Dean on the creation of the brand new boy’s volleyball team here at Prior Lake High School.

 

For the first time in its history, Prior Lake High School has a boys volleyball team. The club played its first game and got its first win here at PLHS on April 9th, winning their first set 24-20. The club also consists of both a JV and a varsity squad.

 

The league has over 400 athletes competing, totaling 22 schools and is currently in the interest showing stage of becoming an official Minnesota high school sport. “It just has to be something that is logical and feasible, and I’m confident that will happen in the coming years,” said Dean.

 

The team totals 18 members, and when varsity starter Noah Benson was asked about how he felt about the team’s success thus far he had this to say: “We’ve had some ups and downs, but overall I feel we’re heading in the right direction.”

 

Prior Lake is one of many schools to start up a boys volleyball club this year. According to Dean, it all started with a question from Walt Weaver, a longtime head coach of the Apple Valley girls volleyball team. He and the University of Minnesota girls volleyball head coach and former men’s national team head coach Hugh McCutcheon (a Beijing gold medalist) were having a conversation which sparked the question about why Minnesota does not offer boys volleyball.

 

During the inaugural season, the boys played matches both here at home, as well as in Shakopee. With a record standing approximately around .500. The boy’s motivations and intentions for playing the sport vary. For some, it’s something to keep them busy while for others like Noah Benson play to, “be like my sister.”

 

The club has also come a long way from its first practice to now competitive level games. When Dean was asked about the boy’s progression he said: “the big thing that I’ve seen is that it’s gone from just wild and crazy to actually looking like volleyball. We’ve got teams that are working really hard to use three contacts (bump, set, spike) and we’ve got guys that are playing defense throwing their bodies around making plays. It’s really cool to see.”

 

Girls volleyball has become a cornerstone in Minnesota high school and college sports, and seemingly paved the way for the boys team. University of Michigan commit Kayla Bair and Bemidji State commit Haley Stolt were asked about their perspectives on the newly formed boys team.  Stolt remarked, “I think I speak for a lot of girls on the team, and when we found out there was a boys volleyball team we were all excited. It’s something you don’t see very much in the Midwest” Bair added, “I hope it becomes a more serious sport in the future. Right now it’s more of a East and West Coast thing, but it’s very exciting to see it starting up in Minnesota.”

 

The boys still have a long way to go before playing in front of sold-out crowds or in Xcel Energy Center like their female counterpart, but they’re off to a blazing start, and with many students eager to come back for another year and interest growing, Prior Lake is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

 

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Boys Volleyball: Can you dig it?