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first_img Published on November 6, 2012 at 2:58 am Contact Bryan: [email protected] They are the first ones to the game.They all show up in matching attire for their pregame routine just a few hours before the match. Then after discussing who is going to do what, they break off into teams and get to work.They are the Syracuse men’s club volleyball team.The club team, however, will not be the one competing that day. Instead, it will be the Syracuse women’s volleyball team.The men are responsible for setting up the court, working at the scorer’s table and gathering balls in between points at the matches. At most other Division-I programs, the facilities take care of such tedious tasks.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn exchange for setting up and working at the games, the club team gets funding for its season, helping to cover for gym and tournament fees and dues. The funds come directly out of the women’s team budget, said Matthew Soderstrom, a women’s team assistant coach and the men’s club team adviser.“We understand how important it is for them to fund their program,” Soderstrom said. “We’re willing to support volleyball in any way possible, even if it’s coming from our own budget.”The agreement between the programs existed before Soderstrom became the women’s assistant coach in January 2011, and he has continued to follow it. Every year, he discusses with the new club team president how the team is going to help at the games and practices.During the season, the men are relied upon for a lot of the manual labor involved in setting up women’s volleyball games. The team plays in the Women’s Building on a court used recreationally for basketball. The men’s club team, in picking up all the tape on the court and pulling out the bleachers, transforms the gym into a volleyball arena.All the women’s games are usually on the weekends, and that means the men sacrifice a few hours each day working the games. But if anything, the team sees it as a great time to be together and learn about the sport from behind the scenes.“Since I’m interested in sports management it’s a great experience to work with a Division-I athletics program,” senior Sam Knehans said.Before the season, the men were required to do a scorekeeping clinic to be qualified to work at the scorer’s table. At each game, four or five of them sit between the announcer and Syracuse athletics coordinator, keeping track of score, points, timeouts, substitutions and the libero. For the nonconference games, the men get to work the lines, taking the place of actual officials.“We learn a lot from watching the games,” said Zachary Rosengard, the club’s president. “We could all probably become real volleyball officials if we wanted to.”When he is not working the scorer’s table, Rosengard is in charge of running the club team’s practices on Wednesday nights. From leading the run around the court to being the figurehead in the stretch circle, he is the clear leader of the club.The 25-man club is split into an A and a B team. Rosengard, along with the other captains, appoints players to either team based on experience and skill. The two teams play against each other in practice weekly, but compete separately at tournaments.However, the disparity between teams has dramatically decreased since Rosengard first joined the club in 2009.“It’s more competitive now than it’s been in previous years,” Rosengard said. “The B team has beat the A team in scrimmages before. It’s very possible.”But it wouldn’t be possible without their unity and dedication to the women’s program. That means showing up first to the games and setting up the venue as part of their game-day ritual. As the match is about to begin, the club members take their spots as scorekeepers and ball boys.“They do a great job, they are reliable and they do it in a professional manner,” Soderstrom said. “I can’t ask any more from them.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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