By Kaytlyn Poberznick
There’s no doubt that NAIT’s men’s volleyball team has made their mark in the Alberta Collegiate Athletic Conference (ACAC) standings. After managing to sweep all nine of their home games, they finished their regular season with a 14 and 2 record, putting them first in the north division.
Not only have they dominated the ACAC, but they’re currently ranked third on the National scale, leaping from their original sixth-place spot.This marks the first time since 2010 that they’ve been in the top three.
With such an impressive regular season, they have the opportunity to host their first Divisional Playoff Game in their own gym–the first time since 2018. Much of the team’s success can be credited to their head coach, Jordan Taylor.
Taylor made his debut as the team leader this year after seven years as an assistant, and his impacts have been felt across the program.Coming into a program with a strong group of players, he found the transition from assistant to head coach fairly easy.
“At some point I had worked with almost everyone on our roster in some capacity, so the players knew what to expect from me and my coaching style from the get-go. I think that familiarity and previous relationships with them is what ultimately made it an easy transition,” said Taylor.
With a roster full of players who have all settled into crucial roles, it’s easy for Taylor to have nothing but praise for each of them.
“No question our group is talented, but for me, the biggest enjoyment has been watching them grow together as one group with everyone contributing to our success, not just one or two players doing it all,” said Taylor.
“Everyone plays an important role whether they are on the floor or not, and we have really embraced an “us vs. the world” mentality. We have a strong leadership group that keeps everyone engaged, and everyone has bought into what the coaching staff has asked and expects of them.”
The season has been monumental, but the team is not stopping here. They are determined to push through until they achieve each goal they’ve set for themselves.
“We’re content but never satisfied,” said Taylor.
“I am happy for our athletes to receive some positive recognition as lots of them came into the year with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove, but at the end of the day, the rankings truly don’t mean anything when it comes down to it. We still have plenty of work to do and haven’t accomplished our primary season goal, which is to be the first-ever NAIT men’s volleyball team to qualify for CCAA Nationals.”
“It’s great that the ACAC and CCAA view us as a top program this year for our work thus far, but we want to be ‘the’ top program and earn it with our play when it matters most.”
The men’s volleyball team’s first playoff game is at NAIT on Sunday, March 6. Fans are welcome.
[Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally posted on naitooks.com.]
(Cover Photo from NAIT Ooks via Flickr)