The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW volleyball team slams all comers in tournament

Only one question lingered after NW bested NE 2-1 and South 2-0 at TCC’s first intercampus volleyball tournament: Will the players on the tournament-winning NW team receive anything but an A in their volleyball class?
After the April 17 display of skill and athleticism at the NE gym, NW health and physical education instructor Joe Maestas will have difficulty justifying a grade of anything less. All but two members of the team he coached in the tournament are students in his volleyball class.

While the class description indicates it is suitable for volleyball beginners, most of the students enrolled have skill levels ranging from recreational to intense club league play, Maestas said.

“These guys know what they are doing, and they don’t need me to tell them what to do,” he said. “I just manage them and try to stay out of their way. Most of them play in outside rec leagues, and some of them probably know more about [volleyball] than I do.”

NW came out on top after a close first-round victory over NE. The final round pitted them against South, who had advanced to the championship match after sweeping TR 2-0 in the first round.

But even before NW had secured the tournament victory, Maestas described them as champions.

“This team is well-balanced and well-organized. They are champions,” he said. “And champions find that extra ‘whatever’ inside of themselves to pull it out.”

NW team captain A.J. Campos and his teammate Trent Lee made significant contributions to the team’s success in both matches, Maestas said.

Although all tournament participants were affiliated with TCC, fierce rivalry emerged between each campus’ teams with one notable exception.

“You know, we are like the Bad News Bears,” quipped Lori Fowler, TR team member and psychology and sociology department chair.

“Yeah. The older version of the Bad News Bears,” added TR team member Abby Hanson, a TR academic affairs administrative assistant.

Because of some confusion surrounding tournament specifics, the TR team was composed almost entirely of faculty and administrators, who believed the event was nothing more than a friendly tournament against colleagues from other campuses. In fact, the only non-faculty, non-staff player for the team was a walk-on — NE student Augustine Rios.

The TR team, whose collective ages were generally way past 20, expressed shock and even some fear at the prospect of squaring off not against fellow administrators and faculty but, instead, against student players. Besides a youthful advantage, many of the participants in yesterday’s tournament played in high school or play extracurricular volleyball at local parks and clubs.
“Wait. This is who we are playing? Oh, this is … bad,” said grim-faced Mike Baumgardner, TR director of student development services.

Rios, the TR team’s only student player, said he enjoyed himself despite their first-round loss to South.

“It was fun. I loved it,” Rios said.

According to event organizer and NE staff member Neal Dao, Rios’ sentiment was exactly what he had hoped the tournament would encourage in its participants.

Dao, who is an active member of the NE Volleyball Club, serves as the NE team’s advisor and expressed a desire for tournament participants to walk away with a renewed passion for the sport.

“We wanted to bring [the intensity of play] up a level,” Dao said. “As you can see, the students definitely brought it up.”

Meanwhile, the NW team was busy making preparations to engrave their win on the tournament trophy’s first line. The traveling trophy will remain on the campus of the winning team until that team is unseated at a future tournament.

Plans for future intercampus volleyball tournaments have not been finalized, but Dao said he hopes the teams can compete a few times per year.

Students interested in joining a team or participating in future tournaments are encouraged to contact their campus’ health and physical education department for further information.

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