The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Men’s volleyball wins Division ll national championship

The club team finishes the season best in the nation
The team hoists up the National trophy. Photo by UW-Eau Claire men’s club volleyball used with permission.

The UW-Eau Claire Men’s club volleyball ended their season 28-3 and with the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation Division II National Championship.

The Blugolds finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country for Division ll and won two national championships in the past three years. Nick Feine, who earned MVP honors at nationals, emphasized the role the team’s close bond played this season.

“Not only were we the best team in the nation this year, the entire year we were saying that no other teams are as close as us,” Feine said. “These are now friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

At nationals all seven Blugold starters earned All National Honors, including four players on the second team and two on the first team. The Blugolds also received the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference Team Service Award.

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“That was pretty cool as a club to get everyone to win awards like that,” Feine said.

One storyline surrounding the championship match was that they were facing UW-La Crosse who they were matched up against for the past two national championships. The Blugolds defeated UW-La Crosse in 2022 but would fall in the championship in 2023. 

Mason Mortimer reflected on how the team bounced back from losing the national championship in 2023.

“We weren’t really expecting to get beat how we did in the championship,” Mortimer said. “We just all went back to work, got back in the gym.”

While club volleyball is an opportunity for students to play a sport they like and to enjoy themselves, the Blugolds have built a family and winning culture that strives to compete with each other day in and day out.

“Being able to work together towards a common goal. We all have set standards at the beginning of the season,” Mortimer said. “Being able to uphold those standards and fulfill our goal at the end of the season of winning a national championship is probably one of the best feelings. Getting to do it with my best friends makes it all that much more fun.”

Mortimer and Feine cited the team as individuals who love spending time with each other. This continuity of friendship carries to the court and is a driving factor to their long-term success. 

For Feine, his goal was to win the national championship and to dedicate it to his twin sister who has been battling cancer this year. Being able to do so and to have her in attendance meant a lot to Feine. 

“Personally that’s what meant most to me was being able to win that and dedicate it for her after all that she’s gone through this year,” Feine said.

Second team all nationals Mason Mortimer was not on the team his freshman year, in fact he wasn’t even a student at UW-Eau Claire. Mortimer went to Maryville University in Missouri and was on the NCAA Division l volleyball team where he was second on the team with 191 kills.

Mortimer came to Eau Claire not really knowing any students but heard about how competitive the club volleyball team was and the success they’ve had. Mortimer has found the perfect blend playing on the team here in Eau Claire.

“It’s still a very high level of volleyball but it’s a significant less time commitment. I go to volleyball to have fun playing club,” Mortimer said.

While the team is in their offseason, they are still participating in open gyms with the women’s club volleyball team here on campus, which is open to anyone interested.

Benes can be reached at [email protected]

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