Carlow University Makes History with First Men’s Volleyball Team

Written by Kaitlyn Stamm

Carlow University makes history this year by creating a new men’s volleyball team, and their first season has begun in the Spring 2021 semester.   

Photo of the 2020 Men's Volleyball Team in their team uniforms.
2020 Men’s Volleyball Team, from left to right, top row: Coulter Chaffee, Will Piccolino, Russ Cyprowski, DJ Zedalis, Hunter DeStefano; bottom row: Brandon Below, Hamadi Mganga.

The team will compete under the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the River States Conference.

Val Pennington, head coach, has a long history both playing and coaching the sport. “I think it’s significant that we’re bringing collegiate men’s volleyball back to Pittsburgh. It’s historic, and I’m looking forward to it; I’m proud to be part of that history,” he says. Pennington is accompanied by two assistant coaches. 

Victor Morais, assistant coach, is a former player both in Brazil and South Africa. He has won many championships and competed at national competitions around the country. In an article published by Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball, Morais discusses his passion for playing and coaching volleyball.  

Cory McGowan, another assistant coach, is a Pittsburgh native and has played for several teams in the area. She has received honors including the All-American, All-Regional, and All-National. Even after a traumatic knee injury, she continued to play in tournament championships. She now shows her dedication and passion for the sport through her coaching.  

The team of eight players are eager to become a part of Carlow’s history this year. Brandon Below said, “It’s really exciting to be part of the team.”  

Unfortunately, the team’s first few games were canceled or postponed, but the season is finally picking up. The full schedule for the season can be found here. The team will soon face:

  • Alderson Broaddus University (Feb. 25) 
  • Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Mar. 6)
  • Cornerstone University (Mar. 6)
  • Midway University (Mar. 13)
  • Bluefield State College (Mar. 13) and
  • Georgetown College (Mar. 14).

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