Every player on the Pierce College men’s volleyball team is academically eligible to play this season, which is something that has not occurred in years.
The success of this team is the result of the collaborative effort of the athletes, their families, the coach, the team’s tutor and athletic counselor.
“I think it’s amazing what they have accomplished, as far as them achieving the goal of making sure we are all eligible,” said head coach Lance Walker. “I’ve been coaching here for five years and I have never had a team with a hundred percent academic eligibility.”
Multiple eligibility clerks in Admissions and Records review the athlete’s information.
“[It’s] awesome, because then we don’t have to worry about anyone getting pulled,” said middle blocker, Joe Arechiga. “We just have our whole squad we’ve been practicing with and we’re all ready to go.”
If athletes do not meet requirements for their class they are not allowed to play until they raise their GPA, or add more units.
Walker has made sure the players maintain their grades and study.
“He had given us finals week off once, just to focus on classes, which helped us a lot. He’s always on us about tutoring,” Arechiga said. “‘You don’t know if you don’t go’ is the team saying.”
Athletic director, Bob Lofrano said it’s difficult for athletes to find time to practice and study. He credited the athletes at Pierce for doing a good job of maintaining eligibility.
“Anybody just cannot come off the street to play. You have to prove who you are, where you’ve been and meet academic requirements,” Lafrano said. “The regular student on campus doesn’t really meet academic requirements, so they have to be pretty organized and self-motivated.”
The athletes also receive direction from Joseph Roberson, an athletic counselor who began counseling the men’s volleyball team during the fall semester. Roberson directs the athletes by letting the players know what is expected of them, education-wise, in order for them to achieve their academic goals.
“I think this will be a great opportunity to just give credit to those young men on the team and to really acknowledge the effort that Lance and the coaching staff makes in terms of the culture they create for men’s volleyball,” Roberson said.
The student-athletes are also able to receive tutoring from course-embedded math tutor, Lia Kechichian.
“I was there whenever they needed someone for math,” Kechichian said. “It feels awesome because it’s important to know that they are where they need to be [academically] in order to play.”
“I’m real proud that they were able to come up with this, challenge themselves, and were able to achieve this goal, Walker said. “These guys have definitely earned the right to be proud in the sense that they all, as a team, accomplished eligibility.”
The volleyball team is currently 2-6 on the season.