National championship excites campus

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    By CAROLYN MOORE

    “Excited” seems to be the key word when you talk to anyone on campus about the men’s volleyball team winning the national championship last week. Even students who didn’t find out about it until a few days later say they are excited for the team and the championship.

    The 1999 season for men’s volleyball was very exciting. Most home games were played before sold out, even record-breaking crowds. And the team continues to get support from its fans even after the season.

    Megan McDonald, 24, from Englewood, Colo., majoring in athletic training, works at Cougar Wear in the BYU Bookstore. She said she gets 10 to 15 people a day asking about the NCAA volleyball championship shirts the store is selling. Most of those who are getting the shirts are students, but she has had some calls from out of state.

    “Most people just want to get (the shirt) because they’re excited to have a national championship team,” McDonald said.

    Perhaps it was the players who made the season so exciting. Lois Bauman, 19, from Santa Clara, Calif., majoring in family science, was a manager for the team through the season. She said she could see how the players worked together as a team with no one trying to be the superstar. According to Bauman, the last practice before the team left for the tournament was a sad one because the team knew it was the end of the season. But it was also exciting because the team was getting ready to compete for the national championship.

    “From the beginning, no one on the team really said they were going to be national champions; they just wanted to be their best,” Bauman said.

    BYU administrators are also sharing in the excitement with the rest of the campus. Lee Bartlett, assistant to the president for University Communications, spoke on behalf of President Bateman, who is out of town for the next three weeks and unable to be contacted. Bartlett said the administration is extremely pleased with the quality and caliber of the team’s performance.

    According to Bartlett, the game was the topic of enthusiastic discussion at an administrative meeting with President Bateman the Monday following the game. The championship was also mentioned in Tuesday’s Devotional.

    When asked if the administration expected the Cougars to bring home the national championship, Bartlett said, “We had high hopes. We always expect when our team gets in a championship round that they are certainly strong enough to do it.”

    Since most students have already gone home for the summer, the team will be formally recognized at an appropriate gathering early next fall semester when more students are at BYU.

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