In a league filled with competition and sportsmanship, one team has exemplified these qualities better than the others.
Mutts is this year’s No. 1 team in Northwest’s intramural volleyball tournament. Winning all three games in the brief regular season gave the team the top seed, earning a first round bye.
Spectators and players on other teams have seemed to take notice of the Mutts as well. Freshman Kieran Brennan has seen the Mutts first hand and was impressed with how the team performed.
“They were by far the best team I’ve seen,” Brennan said. “They showed great amounts of teamwork and had terrific communication on the court.”
Other teams have also taken notice of the team with the only undefeated record in the league.
“I think they definitely have potential,” Brennan said. “They will be the toughest team to beat no doubt about it.”
Led by Lucas Blum, Mutts has shown great promise for future games in the tournament.
“We have a couple guys who really know how to play volleyball,” Blum said. “As a team, we return serves really well. Passing wins us games and we have done that fairly well.”
Mutts was dominant on the serve this year, dishing out 21 aces. On returns, it was equally impressive, spiking six balls and blocking an average of 1.5 balls per game. In the best of three set games leading up to the playoffs, Mutts only lost one set, going to the third set in only one of their matchups.
Being undefeated and having No. 1 in front of your name creates some complacency and usually brings some incentive to play to the highest level, but Blum said that is not the case.
“There is not much pressure,” Blum said, “It’s a pretty low intensity league.”
With a low intensity level it can be hard to get up for games, but the Mutts have not had trouble with that yet. When Blum was asked if he thought his team could win the whole tournament, his response was short and confident, “for sure.”
“Hopefully, we win and everything goes smoothly,” Blum said. “No forfeits, no ejections.”
Mutts has been able to avoid these kinds of penalties and the team has earned a 4.67 sportsmanship rating. Forfeits and ejection cause a drop in sportsmanship rating, which is a stat vitally important to the seeding process. Not only has the team set itself apart, but is the only men’s team in the tournament that is not affiliated with a fraternity.
Fraternity teams have an abundance of prospects. In theory, fraternities would be better because they have a larger wealth of talent. Teams affiliated with fraternities seem to dominate the league in number, but this year Mutts stood out as best team in a fraternity-heavy men’s division.
The first round of the tournament was played on Feb. 15. The final round of the playoffs will get underway at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Student Recreation Center.