The side out era

Feb 20

The last time George Mason Men’s Volleyball team held the Eastern Conference Tournament at home was in 1985 (6 years before I was even born). The top seed in the EIVA at the end of the season gets to play host to the Tournament, and currently we sit alone at the top as the only undefeated team in the conference.


Last week Penn State took a beating from Harvard University after a recent recovery from Harvard outside attacker DJ White. It was the first time that Harvard had ever defeated Penn State, and snapped Penn State’s 61 match winning streak within our conference. My earlier season predictions seem to be holding true.


Penn State losing 3-0 to another conference opponent could be just the confidence booster needed to have our team take the next step. Our previous two seasons we were always one of those bubble teams hovering around the top 15 nationally. Now, although our ranking is still similar I feel like we are in a position to really get over that hump.


Our first opportunity for our top seed to be tested will not require a long anticipation. We will fight to stay at the top this Friday, February 22nd when we play Penn State for the first time this season. Our two meetings with Penn State combined with two from Harvard and one left away at Princeton will determine whether the championships will be held in the RAC this April.

Feb 13

Basketball is always a sport that is well known for the general enormity of its players. To put in to perspective for you if you were to look at the roster of our Mason men’s basketball team and the roster from our volleyball team you would notice that we actually have the same average height (6-5).

What does this mean to you? If you see any really tall, skinny kids walking around school in the next few days be sure to wish them luck in their games this weekend against NJIT and Rutgers.



Or just come be one of these people Friday or Saturday night at 7.


Feb 07

In the summer of 2004 Karch Kiraly was 44 years old playing on a sand court that had shrunken in size from his years at the top of the world and added antenna’s that had prevented much of his shot versatility. In the early rounds of the Hermosa Open he had sustained a back injury that allowed him to barely move about the court to aid his partner Mike Lambert. No one would have faulted him for withdrawing considering the circumstances. Instead, in a game dominated by power and strength he was able to out control and out finesse the best athletes in the game.


Karch and Lambert created an I-formation that kept him from having to receive as many serves. On the occasion that he was forced to receive a serve he was a strong enough competitor to find the sand another way.He willed his way to a championship that weekend and became the AVP team of the year in 2004 at the age of 44.

AVP Tampa Bay Open

This is just one of the many legends that circulates about the man. Anybody who is truly involved in the sport is sure to hear stories on a daily basis of how Karch Kiraly is everything volleyball was meant to be. Just the other day I heard that he went through an entire season in the Italian Indoor League and never committed a single hitting error. For those of you who don’t know much about volleyball mechanics, that is on an comparable level to hearing something along the lines of a Quarterback in the NFL going through an entire regular season and playoffs without throwing an interception or fumbling the football.


Looking at the pure stats the man was able to win over $3 million in just his AVP Beach Volleyball tournament winnings. This doesn’t include his endorsement deals, his international beach tournament winnings, or his career as a professional indoor volleyball player. There are probably 10 volleyball players of all time that have ever been able to reach the $1 million mark. On top of that he finished with the most AVP tournament wins ever, was AVP MVP 6 times, four-time National Champion and All-American at UCLA, won 3 Gold Medals in the Olympics ( 2 beach and 1 indoor), and remains the only volleyball player to be inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame. In our sport whether you are talking beach or indoor Karch truly was the greatest.




Jan 31


The Final Four of the 2012 EIVA Volleyball tournament featured four teams: the George Mason Patriots, the Princeton Tigers, the Penn State Nittany Lions, and the Harvard Crimson. Princeton-logotimthumbPenn-State-Logoharvard-logo1

The start of the 2013 season has given the impression that if Mason were to make another trip to the Final Four they will once again have to face these familiar foes.

Penn State’s
squad had holes to fill in this years roster, because of the graduation of All-Americans Joe Sunder and Edgardo Goas. However, the early season statistics would say the team has moved on very quickly boasting a 9-1 record to start the season and 6th place in the National Rankings.


The Nittany Lions have now won a record 60 consecutive conference matches and look to extend on that streak with an offense led by pin hitting brothers Aaron and Peter Russell of Ellicott City, Maryland.

PU MVB vs. RU-Nwk

Princeton will prove to be a tough test for the Patriots with the return of Junior outside hitter Pat Schwaggler to the lineup after two years away from the team. The Tigers will be putting their offense in the hands of Davis Waddell who has not played at the setter position since his days at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California.

Fellow Manhattan Beach residents Michael Dye and Tony Ensbury look to round out the squad to make a run for the NCAA Final Four this May at UCLA.

returns Sophomore starter DJ White who participated on the Junior National team this past summer. This experience propelled the Crimson to an undefeated start this season until they ran up against Penn State last weekend in State Park. The Nittany Lions took advantage of an ankle injury to White, and were able to close out the match in the decisive 5th set (25-23, 20-25, 25-14, 16-25, 15-6).


Penn State will attempt to win it’s 15th consecutive EIVA championship, but if these four teams continue to compete at the same level this will be the most competitive EIVA conference since its creation. The Patriots will have their hands full when they start conference play next Saturday, February 8th against the Princeton Tigers.


Jan 31


The 1984 Charlie Saikley 6 Man Volleyball tournament featured the entire men’s Volleyball Olympic Gold Medal team. A volleyball tournament with no entrance fee, no prize money, no trophy, played host to the best volleyball team in the entire world.

In 2011 this tournament played host to 90 men’s teams, 65 women’s teams, and over 100,000 spectators. It is safe to assume that at least 95,000 of these spectators had no idea which team won the tournament.

The most prestigious tournament in the country has turned into somewhat of a spring break-like destination over the past several decades. The event has turned into a dress up boozefest, but out of the 365 days in a year it is the most attention anyone ever pays to beach volleyball.


So is this a pro or a con for the iconic tournament? The answer is actually both and neither at the same time.


Charlie Saikley’s goal in creating the tournament was that beach-goers of all backgrounds could watch the highest level of volleyball without any expense to them. Over all these years the tournament has remained to free to all consumers, and has hinged around the sport of beach volleyball.


Despite the drinking, costumes, and insanity that surround the event each year, the attention is still brought to beach volleyball. A sport that has struggled to find its identity gets publicity from the masses during the weekend of the 6 Man.