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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Men’s club volleyball team advances to Nationals

Published: April 15, 2011
Section: Features

In his first year, David Perlow ’11—a men’s baseball recruit—never expected for volleyball to become a key part of his life. Perlow—now a candidate for a dual BA/MA in International Economics and Finance—had always participated in multiple sports simultaneously all throughout his high school career and he continued this trend during the beginning of his Brandeis career.

Perlow focused primarily on his main sport and would only occasionally switch the rag-tag team of boys who comprised the team at this time.

By the end of his sophomore year, however, Perlow’s involvement with the volleyball team began to build and he began to feel a conflict between his two sports.

He had to pick between baseball and volleyball and he chose to stick with volleyball. Now, at the end of his senior year and as the team’s captain, Perlow has never looked back on his choice.

It is easy to understand why there was a conflict presented in Perlow’s involvement with both sports, as the volleyball team practices intensely throughout the season. Their workouts are comprised of passing, blocking, hitting and defensive drills. The team practices from 9 to 11 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday nights; their intense regimen is focused on the goal of improving the team’s abilities and preparing them for the competition that they’re bound to face.

The team will need to continue to train hard in order to reach their eventual goal of being promoted to Division I, the rank that is assigned automatically to schools with an undergraduate population of more than 15,000 students—with Division I-AA being used to categorize teams of lesser quality.

It seems that Perlow and his teammates are well on the way to this goal.

In the 2007-2008 season—Perlow’s first year on the team—they performed adequately; however, just two years later, the team took an unprecedented jump in standings, going undefeated in Division II and winning their regional championships—a tournament whose participants are defined solely through skill and performance throughout the season.

At regionals, last year’s team competed against such qualified teams as University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island and Northeastern University. During the course of the competition, the Brandeis team defeated the University of New Hampshire team—the reining Division I-AA champions at that time.

According to Perlow, this victory against UNH was a “big accomplishment” as the two teams had been rivals all year. He went on to explain that the team’s victory over UNH was “definitely our most satisfying accomplishment” of the season. That same team also placed fifth in their national champions.

Perlow was confident that this year’s team would be even more successful but, unfortunately, a last minute injury of star player, Josh Magid—a graduate student—caused them to be bumped (just barely) from the gold bracket, with the loss of a playoff game. The game was excruciatingly close with a final score of 28-36. Despite their loss, the team still landed within the silver bracket and placed in the top 20s in the nation.

Now, in the wake of their recent success, the team is working to continue their competition with Division I schools.

Off of the court, the team is comprised of a diverse group of Brandeis students with varied levels of volleyball experience. Some players have been involved in volleyball since middle school and some have their first experience with the sport at Brandeis.

The team is comprised of players from all over the globe including El Salvador, The Phillipines and Ukraine. There are also representatives from both the undergraduate and graduate communities on campus.

Perlow was quick to explain the close bond between him and his teammates. He explained that playing with his teammates is “like competing with my friends” and that their relationship is comprised of “more than just being teammates,” going on to say that “they make my weekends and weekdays at Brandeis fun” and that he is always amazed to see the camaraderie that the team displays as they come together despite their differences and diversities.

It is important to acknowledge the team’s five seniors and their extraordinary commitment to the team throughout their involvement.

According to Perlow, the other seniors were a source of constant acceptance and encouragement to practice and become the better volleyball player that he is today.

He explained that playing on a Brandeis sports team has been a unique experience. At nationals, the team was pitted against some of the best men’s volleyball teams in the country. As they were by far “the most unathletic looking team at the competition,” a bunch of “skinny, scrawny, Jewish kids and international students.”

Nonetheless, the team managed, before Magid’s injury, to sustain the number nine spot in the country—not too shabby for a bunch of “skinny, scrawny” kids.