Men’s volleyball newest Lakeland College NCAA Division III sport

Brandon Rooker, Sports Editor

Lakeland College’s Men’s Volleyball club team has had great success since their creation in 1996. With the recent announcement that they will become an official NCAA Division III varsity team, the Muskies will have new teams to conquer and rivalries to be made.

“We’ve got a very good men’s volleyball club,” said Lakeland’s Vice President of Athletics and Wellness Kellen Winslow. “We’ve got a great start. We’re not starting from scratch. It’s one of our more competitive teams. Moving into Division III was the right thing to do.”

The move puts Lakeland College’s Varsity team total at 18. In the 2013-2014 school year the Men’s Volleyball team will join the Continental Volleyball Conference.

Lakeland truly has dominated in the last decade amongst college club teams.

They won the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation title in 2008 defeating Illinois, and also made it back to the championship in 2010 before falling to Ohio State.

From 2001-2010, Lakeland finished in the top 10 rankings nine times. This domination amongst club opponents may be the key to why Lakeland has made the move.

“With the growth of the sport at the Division III level coupled with Lakeland’s strong tradition as a club program, this is a natural move for our men’s volleyball program and for the Lakeland athletics program,” Winslow explained.

Winslow also believes that Men’s Volleyball could be a key in making Lakeland College a Division III sports powerhouse, a goal he shares with President Grandillo.

“It also fits in perfectly with Dr. Grandillo’s plans to strengthen Lakeland as an institution as well as a force in Division III athletics.” Winslow said. “In order to raise Lakeland’s brand and profile, sports is a great way to do that.”

Winslow also believes that the jump to Division III will be beneficial to the men’s volleyball athletes themselves.

“It will give the young men on the team an even greater collegian sports experience,” Winslow said. “Now they will get a chance to play more competition throughout the year. It’s a good experience for them.”

The future looks bright for the Lakeland College Men’s Volleyball program. Perhaps in the coming years Lakeland will be hoisting their own National Championship banners in the sport of Men’s Volleyball.

With club wins over the likes of Illinois, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Long Beach State (all Division I schools in the sports that are not club) Lakeland has already proven they can have success versus larger schools. Perhaps they can continue this success at the Division III level.