Men's Volleyball at UVU started by traveling most of Utah and Idaho in 1993 and taking a respectable second place in the region during its first season of semi-organized play. Now, UVU Men's Volleyball is recognized and respected by many teams nationwide.
The Wolverines did not lose a single tournament in the region in 1994. After taking first place in a Regional tournament held at Utah State University, they went to Arizona State University for the National Collegiate Club Nationals (Division II). They represented UVU well for the first time on the national level by taking second place!
The coach and players expanded their sights for the 1995 season by traveling to more tournaments outside the region and playing various Division I schools. They repeated their second place title at Collegiate Club Nationals held at the University of Minnesota. UVU was the only Division II school that made the top 25 ranking in the national coaches poll that year.
The team continued their excellent record while playing on the Division I level during the 1996 season. They made it all the way to the "sweet sixteen" but finally lost to the 1995 & 1997 national champion's, Sacramento State. It was a huge success for UVU's first Division I appearance at Nationals held at the University of Toledo.
In 1997, UVU played a major role in organizing the Mountain West Volleyball Conference with Colorado State, Arizona, Utah State, Air Force and Arizona State. The Wolverines took ninth again in Division I at the National Championship hosted by the University of Arizona.
The 1998 season was exciting with many new faces on the squad as well as many returning starters. The Wolverines played BYU in front of almost 5,000 spectators at the Marriott Center. The team suffered with four starters getting hurt just before some of the biggest games of the year at nationals in Austin, Texas. But, the support and encouragement by school administration and students was incredible.
New talent and strong returning players becoming National All-Tournament nominees, Larry Lentz II and Joe Hillman, made the 1999 season even more thrilling. UVU attended some of the biggest tournaments of the year including University of Michigan's Collegiate Classic (3rd place) and U.C. Davis' Far Westerns (7th place). The season came to an impressive end after finishing 3rd in the nation at the National Championship held at the University of Maryland.
Three squads made up UVU Club Volleyball for the year 2000. NIRSA allowed "B" teams to compete at nationals, so UVU created a separate team within the club that can train and compete with their own goal of a DIII National Championship. UVU also formed a Women's team within the club to compete at the same national competition. The women are debuted as top contenders around the nation. UVU began the season against last year's NCAA national champions, BYU, in a packed Activity Center. The Wolverine's rigorous schedule culminated at the Conference Championships at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and all three teams attending the NIRSA National Championships at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, NV. UVU had its best finish ever taking second place in Men's Division I and third place in Men's Division III.
The Wolverines began the 2001 season by taking eighth place at the University of California - Santa Barbara Collegiate Tournament. They took 2nd place at Conference Championships in Las Vegas and all three teams attended the NIRSA National Championships at the Kansas City Convention Center in Missouri. The UVU men again had their best finish ever by winning 1st place in Men's Division I. Four players were awarded first All-Tournament team honors including Larry Lentz (Left Side Hitter), Brad Collins (Setter), Scott Lee (Libero), and Tournament MVP, Joe Hillman (Right Side Hitter).
The 2002 season had two men's teams competing again for a national championship. The "A team" returned four starters with high hopes. They may have struggled throughout the year but played their hearts out to take 3rd place at the National Tournament held at the Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. Two players were awarded All-Tournament team honors, Larry Lentz and Joe Hillman. The men's B team ended the season as the Silver Bracket champions and a 9th place finish overall.
"A rebuilding year" is how most people refer to the 2003 season where only one team traveled to nationals in Columbus, Ohio and were runners-up in the Bronze bracket at NIRSA Nationals.
It was a roller-coaster ride of a season during 2004. Battling within our own tough Mountain West Volleyball Conference, the team finally peaked at Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina. They came into the tournament ranked #24 but surprised many teams by fighting for a Silver Bracket Championship and a 17th place finish overall. Head Coach, Jon Fairbanks, and all the players were quite pleased with how the season culminated with some very exciting matches won at nationals.
The 2005 season began with a trip to the Far Western tournament at the University of California - Davis where a bitter contest during the finals was lost to Cal Berkeley. Many new freshman players were starters for both the A and B teams.
2005 - 2006 recap
UVU finished 2nd (among collegiate club teams) at the first regular season tournament of the year at the University of Utah on January 20-21. UVU finished 5th (among these California community college teams losing to 1st place finisher, LBCC) at the Long Beach City College tournament on Saturday, January 28. UVU finished 1st (among collegiate club teams) at the Utah Invite on February 24-25. UVU finished 4th at the Mountain West Volleyball Conference Championships at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ on March 3-4. UVU finished 1st (among collegiate club teams) at the UVU Spring Invitational on March 17-18. UVU finished 13th at the Las Vegas Open on March 24-25 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The Utah Valley University men's volleyball teams competed in the 2006 NIRSA Collegiate Volleyball Sport Club Championships April 13-15, 2006 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. The "A" team lost in the semi-finals of the silver bracket championship to claim a #19 national ranking in Division I. The "B" team lost in the semi-finals of the Division III silver bracket championship to claim a #7 national ranking. The wolverines are excited for next season with most of their players planning to return. The 2005-2006 roster included 11 freshmen, 8 sophomores, 3 juniors, and 1 senior.
2007 National Tournament recap
The Utah Valley University Men's Volleyball team travelled to Louisville, Kentucky on April 12-14, 2007 for the NIRSA Collegiate Volleyball Sport Club Championships. They entered the tournament with a ranking of #34 in the nation among the 158 mens teams in attendance. Utah Valley finished in 5th place after an extremely close match against Lakeland College (#2).
On the first day of the tournament, the UVU varsity squad defeated University of California - San Diego (#15) in three games 22-25, 25-19, 15-7. They then lost to Illinois State University (#39) in a tight three game match 22-25, 25-22, 13-15. They were still able to take the top seed in their pool by upsetting University of Wisconsin - Madison (#10) 25-22, 20-25, 15-10. Utah Valley advanced into a championship flight "power pool" on Friday where they defeated UCLA (#7) 25-20, 25-22 and San Jose State University (#23) 28-26, 25-23. The wolverines faced Arizona State University (#12) in the first round of the Division I gold bracket single-elimination tournament and surprised them with a quick two-game match 25-19, 25-21. Utah Valley finished in 5th place after an exciting three-game match against Lakeland College (#2) in the quarter-finals 23-25, 25-23, 13-15.
The Utah Valley men's JV team also performed much better than the #15 seed they were given this year in their own division with other JV teams. They beat Northeastern University (#7) 25-12, 25-22 and San Jose State University (#10) 25-19, 25-18. They were not able to overcome University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh (#2) 16-25, 19-25. The JV team continued to perform well on day two of the tournament by beating University of Wisconsin - Platteville (#9) 25-19, 25-18 and upsetting Marquette University (#6) 25-20, 25-22 and University of California - Davis (#4) 25-13, 26-24. They succumbed to top-ranked JV team, CalPoly SLO (#1), 17-25, 19-25. The UVU JV quickly knocked out University of Central Florida (#5) in just one game in the first round of the Division III gold bracket because of a forfeit 25-0, 25-12. The JV squad was again not able to get past CalPoly SLO (#1) in the semi-finals 22-25, 20-25 and took home a 3rd place award.
The 2006-2007 traveling teams included 11 freshmen, 2 sophomores and 4 juniors. The upcoming years should be exciting as nearly every player will be returning.
Big questions still remain for the upcoming seasons. Men's volleyball at UVU may become a varsity sport sooner than later. Many years of sweat, hard work, and patience may finally result in a sanctioned men's program. Watch this website for news as it becomes available.
2008 Mountain West Volleyball Conference Champions!
The wolverines traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, on March 7 & 8, 2008 and won the MWVC Tournament. UVU defeated University of Nevada - Las Vegas in the quarterfinals, University of Arizona in the semifinals, and Arizona State University in the finals. Three players were named to the All-Tournament Team: #2 Tyler Widdison (MB), #3 Clay Salazar (LIB), and MVP #4 Joseph Moore (OPP).
This year's team has many new players and talent. "They will impress and gain the respect of many more college teams. UVU will continue to play a large part in expanding the Mountain West Conference with various colleges in the region."
The team looks forward to an even better season this year. "We hope to travel and continue to win tournaments and build team unity while having fun," they say. "The popularity and talent at this school seems to get better every year." Below is a brief list of goals and plans for the coming season.
- Build team unity
- Continue to have fun
- Perform service projects
- Organize fundraisers
- Be top contenders at Conference Championship
- Be top contenders at Division I National Championship
- Increase popularity of sport
- Assist expansion of Mountain West Volleyball Conference
- Become a fully sanctioned program
Men's Volleyball is proud to continue UVU's tradition of excellence in athletics and academics. All of the players are students enrolled with at least nine credit hours.
You are invited to support them at any of their competitions, fundraisers, or service projects. They are excited for the coming season and want to make a positive impact on the school, community, and nation. Your help is greatly appreciated.