Another season is in the books for the Rustlers men's volleyball team, and while the team continued to build on the steps they made last year, the team fell just short of the playoffs.
The Rustlers came out of the gate strong to start the season, going 5-1 in their first 6 matches of the season. During this stretch, the Rustlers went 16-9 in sets played, showing significant improvements from years prior.
In the last 6 games of the semester, the Rustlers faced tougher competition, including the nationally ranked Keyano Huskies, TKU, UAA. The Rustlers would get swept by the Huskies, before splitting the weekend series against the Eagles and Vikings.
At the end of the first semester, the Rustlers sat in 4th place in the ACAC North Division with a 24-23 set record and 7-5 match record.
It was an up and down second semester for the Rustlers, who were in a fight for a playoff spot until the last day of the season. Over the first 4 weekends, the Rustlers would alternate losing both matches one weekend, before responding by winning both matches the following weekend.
After going 4-4 to start the second semester, the Rustlers needed to win at the end of the season against The King's University Eagles and/or the NAIT Ooks in order to secure a playoff spot. However, the Rustlers dropped all 4 matches to the two teams, narrowly missing the playoffs.
Over the second semester, the Rustlers played their way to a 4-8 match record and a 16-29 set record. When combined with their first semester record, the Rustlers finished with an 11-13 set record and a 40-52 match record, placing them 5th in the ACAC North Division.
Despite not making the playoffs, three members of the team were recognized for their accomplishments over the season and selected to the ACAC Men's Volleyball North Division All-Conference team.
Third-year players Alexei Walisser, Jean Carlo Funez and Tyler Williamson were recognized in February and received their All-Conference awards at the ACAC Men's Volleyball Championships banquet in Edmonton.
Walisser, an outside hitter for the Rustlers played in all 24 matches and 87 of 92 sets this season. He led the Rustlers with 287 kills for the season, averaging 3.3 kills per set, good for 6th in the ACAC. Walisser also led the Rustlers with 28 service aces, good for 4th in the ACAC North Division.
Funez, who plays libero for the Rustlers, played in 23 matches and 86 sets this season. He led the team with 229 digs, averaging 2.66 per set, good for 6th in the ACAC.
Willamson, played at the middle position in all 24 matches for the Rustlers this season and led the team with 89 sets played. He led the team with 62 blocks, averaging 0.70 per set, which put him 6th in the ACAC.
The Rustlers have continued to make strides in each of the last two seasons, becoming more consistent on both sides of the ball, and developing good team chemistry on the floor. The team hopes to take the next step in the 2019-2020 season by earning a playoff berth.