This past week, the women’s volleyball team won the NEWMAC Tournament and secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Senior Lauren Torvi won NEWMAC Player of the Year, while first-year head coach Moria Long won NEWMAC Coach of the Year.
Those recent accolades are on the long list of accomplishments of this year’s squad.
But while the women’s volleyball team has garnered attention on Alden Street this fall, men’s volleyball head coach Charlie Sullivan has gone through one of what he hopes is many successful experiences this season.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, while Springfield College braced itself for a destructive early winter snowstorm, Sullivan was on the bench as an assistant coach for the United States National Team at the Pan-Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
That Saturday, the U.S. avenged an early tournament loss, as they defeated Canada 3-2 to secure a fifth-place finish at the games. It also wrapped up another stint Sullivan has had with the national team.
“It’s always a honor to get the call,” said Sullivan. “Representing your country is just a ton of fun.”
“It was the second time I’ve been on the bench with the national team.”
In the past, Sullivan has worked as a coach as well as a scout in such tournaments as the 2006 World Championships, 2007 FIVB World Cup and the 2009 North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Men’s Continental Championships.
For this recent trip, Sullivan was asked to help with the offense. Sullivan did some fundamental training with setter Kyle Caldwell.
As a whole Sullivan was happy with the team’s success.
“It went really well,” said Sullivan. “The team finished quite well, maybe even above expectations.”
Now, Sullivan has returned to campus, ready to begin another season in a quest to win the program’s seven national championship.
But what Sullivan has that not many coaches at the college level have is the knowleged he gains from working with the national team.
“My first experience with the national team was in 1998 and it’s been one of my main means of developing as a coach.”
Even though the season doesn’t begin until mid-January, Sullivan is optimistic that this could be another successful season for the Pride.
Springfield returns key players such as juniors Greg Falcone, Mike Becker, and Mike Pelletier, along with sophomore Nick Ferry.
“The talent is in our gym,” said Sullivan. “We just have to channel it all together.”
Sullivan leads his squad into the 2012 season with a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii where the Pride will take part in the Outrigger Invitational at the University of Hawaii.
The season begins with a game against UCLA on Thursday, Jan. 12.
Terrence Payne may be reached at email@example.com