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Volleyball Looking for Success Even Amidst Season of Change

Junior Nolan Roeder in the midst of a jump serve during practice on March 1, 2024.

With spring sports at Rockhurst now well underway, the one facing arguably the biggest change is volleyball. This year, boys volleyball officially became a Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) sport, which comes with many alterations to the current program, but also brings the ability to compete in a state championship.

To start with, the schedule will be different. This year, Rockhurst will be playing around 30 games, compared to the low 20s from previous seasons. This is due to Rockhurst now being in charge of scheduling their games. Last year, the Heart of America Volleyball Association scheduled all the games.

Rockhurst will also face better competition this year. While they are not presently scheduled to face any teams from the Kansas side, they will travel east on Interstate 70 later in the season to participate in a tournament that includes the former Missouri Class 5 state champions, Lafayette High School, as well as other experienced St. Louis-area schools. Head coach Mike Sullivan says he hopes the schedule sets them up for postseason success.

“I’m hoping we can put together a run and win districts out of Kansas City, and then we can take that next step to do the best we can in St. Louis,” he said.

Along with this schedule change, the teams will be playing best-of-five set matches instead of the best-of-three they played last year.

“Five sets is going to be harder on us as a team,” said junior Will Campbell. “We need to have endurance and stay focused on finishing the game in three sets.”

Another change that comes with volleyball becoming a MSHSAA sport is the switch to a new ball. They are switching from rubber balls to the same type of leather balls girls use.

“The new ball limits what type of serves and hits are most effective,” said junior Mason Kastel. “Also, since they are made out of leather, they are harder to control, and they float more on contact.”

However, the biggest change to the program might not have anything to do with MSHSAA. Rockhurst is bringing in an almost completely new roster. Last year, Rockhurst graduated ten of 13 players.

“We got to find some passers, but other than that, we’re pretty good,” said Sullivan. “We’re going to be young, but I think we have enough guys with a good amount of experience so that we should still be able to put a pretty good team out there.”

There will definitely be a few questions, but team members say if the players bring the right mindset, then they believe it will work out.

“Everyone will have to become experienced with the different coaching and playing styles,” said Kastel. “This will lead to an environment where it is easy to succeed.”

As with every sport at Rockhurst, competing for a state championship is the ultimate goal.

“That’s going to be a chore, but we just have to keep getting better and better, and we have to put all the pieces in the right place,” said Sullivan.

The volleyball Hawklets are slated to start games after Rockhurst’s spring break. According to, they will open against Winnetonka at home on Tuesday, March 19, before traveling to Lee’s Summit West two days later. Then, they will host a tournament Saturday, March, 23.


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About the Contributor
Ted Truebner
Ted Truebner, Staff Reporter
This is my second year writing for Prep News. I originally joined newspaper to add on to my college resume, however, I stayed in the class because I liked the freedom I received in choosing my own stories and being able to write freely. In this class, I am forced to go out and find information by myself, opposed to other classes. I also enjoy getting an insider view on events going on at the school. Outside of newspaper, a lot of my time is spent playing lacrosse, as I play all year for the school and club teams. During the summer, I work as a lifeguard at Fairway pool. After high school, I plan to either take the political route or go to journalism school, however, I have not completely made up my mind on what route I want to take.
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