From the moment they stepped on the sand court, the competitiveness of the Goon Squad Gamma Phi-Psi (Goon Squad) team did not seem to skip a beat after the success of their previous season. The defending volleyball champions from last year were able to capture the first win of the season with a sweep against the Valparaiso International Student Association (VISA) team.
Due to COVID-19, the volleyball recreational teams that would normally play in the Athletic Recreation Center (ARC) have now been moved out to the Guild-Memorial sand volleyball courts.
For team captain Matthew Bickelhaup of the Goon Squad, the recognition of the changed setting and the need to adapt to a new environment has been the utmost priority for dominating against the co-ed sand volleyball league.
“We are trying to get the championship again back-to-back. This is sand, and we are not sand volleyball players, so it will be a little bit difficult,” said Bickelhaup.
After taking a slow initial start, the Goon Squad was able to bounce back and win the first set 21-11. Matt Wolff was among some of the players that helped the team bounce back in helping establish good sets and provide strong defense to stop VISA. Goon Squad was able to hold VISA off to 27 total points.
After that, the former champions were able to shake off the rust and win the next two 21-9 and 15-7.
“I am really happy on how they came out. In the first set, we were looking a little rusty, but then I knew in the next one that we were hitting some good balls and had a lot of good defense,” said Bickelhaup.
Bickelhaup then later touched up on his roster, talking about the weapons on both sides of the court and the strategy the team will need to go deep into the playoffs.
“I think Marissa Brys is a huge offensive player, she is always hitting. I know that Matt Wolf, Jenn Cross and Sarah Mears are all huge setters. As long as we keep up the back row defense, as long as we get a good pass, we should be able to capitalize on offense easily,” Bickelhaup said.
For the VISA team, the odds were stacked against them as the team only had three players to come out and compete on Saturday morning: team captain Adarsha Mahat, Estefan Bocangel Gamarra, and Paola Flores.
“It was our first game, we haven’t played in a while. We were happy to get what we got,” said Mahat.
While his team did fall against the defending champions, Mahat spoke on being grateful with the players he had on Saturday and getting the opportunity to come out and play.
“Paola did very good today, Stef did very good, and I did alright. We will get better after we get more players,” Mahat said.
The Goon Squad will continue their journey to the championship and play on Sept. 11 at 4:45 p.m. against the Safe Sets. VISA will look to bounce back on Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. against The Block Party team.