Malone men’s volleyball team takes the court
The Malone men’s volleyball team has started up its season as a club under the leadership of Johnnie Legrair, club president. This is a club for any males at Malone, including varsity athletes, who have any interest in the game of volleyball or want to try something different and fun.
Legrair started the club in 2012 because he always had an interest in playing volleyball himself. He took a power volleyball class with Tanya Hockman, Malone women’s volleyball head coach. The course sparked his interest in the game of volleyball and led to Legrair starting a men’s volleyball team at Malone.
During his time as a student at Malone, Legrair was put on the women’s volleyball roster as an athlete and was utilized in their practices and in different drills, which helped give him a background for the game of volleyball. After practicing with the women’s team throughout their season, he started the men’s club team two years later.
The team does not compete in a specific league, but rather a loosely based network of schools from the region. Teams Malone typically competes against in matches and tournaments are Kent State, Ohio University, Slippery Rock, Grove City, Geneva and Case Western.
Even though the men’s club volleyball season is in the spring, they compete just as much in the fall and are still looking to recruit players. Legrair plans to be head coach, but since there are not enough players for a team without him, he is also playing.
“It is really difficult to recruit on this small Christian campus since most of the students on campus are already athletes,” said Legrair. “It would be amazing if we could get 20 guys that are interested. However, I would be thrilled if we could get eight for one team for the season.”
Legrair sees the team becoming a strong asset for Malone and hopes they will continue to develop this year as well as in the years to come. He believes the team could potentially be used as a tool for recruitment at Malone, simply because there are not a large number of universities in Ohio that offer a men’s volleyball team.
For the first year since the club’s creation, there is now a vice president of the team. Chad Mallory, sophomore business administration major and new club vice president, is responsible for assisting Legrair in making decisions for the team. Mallory was actually the club’s first recruit, and he participates as a player due to the low number of commitments this year.
“There are currently only four Malone students that come to the practices, but we are looking to have more once the spring semester comes due to a number of potential players being fall athletes,” Mallory said.
Throughout the process of putting together a team, Tanya Hockman has been a mentor and supervisor to Legrair. Hockman’s main functions within the men’s volleyball team are to help Legrair with ideas, schedule gym time and assist with budgeting and purchasing apparel.
“I would really love to see [the men’s team] generate interest,” said Hockman. “The men’s game is a different game than the women’s game, and it is really fun to watch. I think the sky is the limit. I love being creative with those things, and I don’t want to limit what they can or can’t do.”
The typical men’s volleyball season includes three tournaments in the fall and three in the spring, one of which is a spring tournament hosted by Malone. They also have a few one-on-one matches as well as a national playoff in April. The team would have to qualify in order to play in that championship.
Practices for men’s volleyball are on Sundays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Osborne Hall, and the team is still looking to recruit players. If anyone is interested, contact Legrair or find Malone University Men’s Volleyball on Facebook.
Emily Luli is a guest writer for The Aviso