UM-Dearborn's volleyball team practicing before leaving for the Quaker Classic. (Ryan Petras/MJ)

By RYAN PETRAS, Staff Reporter

UM-Dearborn’s volleyball team practicing before leaving for the Quaker Classic. (Ryan Petras/MJ)

Classes are beginning their first full week for students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn this week, but the volleyball team’s season is already in session.

The Wolverines have already competed in three non-conference tournaments, holding an overall record of 4-8. They are winless in home and neutral site matches, but have a 1-2 record on the road.

The team is off to a rough start in 2013, but it’s not from a lack of effort. Many of the team’s losses have come in games that went to five sets.

Assistant coach Al Edwards believes the team has played very strong defensively, but an inconsistent offense has been one of the main reasons why the team has such a lackluster record.

“The girls play hard, the effort is good, we’re just not getting the results,” said Edwards.

Fellow assistant coach Tom McPartlin echoed the Wolverines’ efforts.

“This team is full of fighters,” he said.

McPartlin seemed happy with the way the team is forming, emphasizing the fact that the girls play as a whole, not just a one-man show. Overcoming adversities as a team will be a challenge the Wolverines face all season.

The Wolverines participated in their third tournament this past weekend. The team traveled to Richmond, Indiana, to participate in the Quaker Classic, hosted by Earlham College.

Six teams – the Anderson University Ravens, Earlham Quakers, Franklin Grizzlies, Wilmington Quakers, Greenville Panthers, and UM-Dearborn Wolverines – participated in the tourney.

The Wolverines had their most successful tournament of the season, finishing with a record of 3-1.

In their first game of the tourney, UM-Dearborn defeated the Anderson University Ravens in a dramatic, five set match (25-17, 24-26, 22-25, 26-24, and 12-15).

In their follow up match, Michigan-Dearborn fought hard and kept the match close, but fell in four sets(21-25, 25-17, 26-24, and 26-24) to the Franklin Grizzlies.

The team had to wake up early Sunday morning for their match against the Wilmington Quakers. The early morning contest proved to have no effect on the team, as they came out and impressively defeated the Quakers in three sets (20-25, 13-25, and 14-25).

The final match had the team taking on the host team, the Earlham Quakers. UM-Dearborn ended the tournament by beating Earlham in four sets by a score of 25-18, 10-25, 23-25, and 21-25.

The team hasn’t started division play yet, but when they do, they’ll be facing off against a very tough league schedule.

Winning divisional games will be huge for the Wolverines’ success. Since the playoffs are done by conference, their 1-7 record won’t be a factor.

Powerhouses such as Madonna University will stand between UM-Dearborn and a playoff spot.