MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Messiah men’s volleyball has been arguably the fastest rising program in the NCAA. The Falcons (27-5), who are only in their sixth season as a program, have punched their ticket to the NCAA Division lll national semifinals.
“That’s been the hope all along to compete at a national level,” said Messiah head men’s volleyball coach Justin Beachy. “So to get to this point as quickly as we’ve gotten there is super exciting for us.”
And they’ve done it all with a part-time coaching staff. Beachy and his assistant Matt Marshall, who was just named American Volleyball Coaches Association’s (AVCA) Division lll Assitant Coach of the Year, have built this program into a powerhouse.
The pair go back a long way, playing against each other while Beachy was at Carlisle High School and Marshall played for Red Land. Marshall eventually ended up coaching Beachy to end his career with the Thundering Herd.
Messiah is an athletics powerhouse in so many sports, especially soccer where the Falcons have 17 combined national titles between their men’s and women’s teams. Men’s volleyball wants to join that strong tradition of success.
“This school athletically is unbelievable. Just walk down the hallway here and see all the trophies out there. It would just be amazing to put our names on the wall and just add to that trophy collection,” said senior middle hitter Nate Bowman.
A national semifinal is unfamiliar territory for Messiah, but they know they can’t get caught up in the moment.
“We are going to take it one point and one match at a time. Stay together and be positive with each other and I think the goal is definitely reachable, definitely obtainable,” said junior libero Owen Hanzelman. “We just have a lot of the right tools here together and the right guys and the right mentality. Something special is brewing here definitely.”
But what’s not unfamiliar is their opponent. Messiah will square off against Stevens Institute of Technology in the semifinals, a team they’ve lost to twice this season.
Messiah and Stevens will meet at Stevenson University in Ownings Mills, Maryland on Friday at 7:30 to decide who will earn their spot in the national championship