Muhlenberg College hosted the Buttermaker Tournament this past weekend at Memorial Hall, where the Muhlenberg volleyball team went 3-1 over the four-game span. Their victories over Bard, Bluffton, and Lebanon Valley allowed the Mules to improve their overall season record to 5-2. The team only suffered one loss in the tournament in their final game against Eastern.
Despite going in with a winning record, the Mules did not underestimate any of their competition entering the tournament. “This past weekend was a really fun tournament for our team, having so many good, competitive teams to play against so early in the season. We came into the weekend with really high expectations, and I think we played just as well as we had hoped. We only lost one out of our four games to a team that had some really good talent that only made playing them that much more fun,” said Captain Rachel Jacobs ‘25.
The Mules’ victories this weekend were not produced by sheer luck. The team has elevated their standards, challenging themselves at practice every day, producing a collective effort on the court and results that speak for themselves. “Our team as a whole has been emphasizing the standards that we set last season by making conference playoffs. We have been working at our practices the past couple of weeks at playing aggressively and showing the power that we are capable of,” explained Jacobs.
Head Coach Rob McVicker echoes these thoughts, saying, “We have been preparing hard for our contests with a lot of focus on continuing to gel as a team at the beginning of the season. We saw a lot of great things this weekend and we think that correlates directly with the work the team has put in so far.” The team’s efforts and focus were so profound that the Mules recorded their biggest win since 2015 against Bluffton, with a score of 25-6.
The Mules’ efforts were also made possible by the chemistry the team has fostered during the preseason and continues to emulate. “Our team has gotten very close very fast, starting as soon as we kicked off [the] preseason,” said Jacobs. The team’s ability to capitalize on this chemistry has allowed them to capitalize on each other’s individual strengths producing a stronger team unit on the court. This has given players more confidence and the ability to persevere, ultimately translating into sweeping victories. “Our team chemistry is really solid. We have a great group this year. I think each of us is strong individually, but together we are even stronger. We had a really good weekend and definitely showed mental toughness, especially in our 5-set win against Lebanon Valley,” said Captain Esmae Oehler ‘25.
Now, the team is focused on continuing to improve and implement all individual and team learning experiences from this past weekend into future practices. “Our players have worked very hard to identify things they want to get better at and actively work on them during practice. We will continue to look back on what we can improve on from previous games and how to prepare for upcoming matches,” said McVicker.
Oehler shares this excitement to move forward and continue to play. “I’m really happy and excited to see what else we can do this season.”