After an offseason full of uncertainty, the men’s volleyball team is off to a good start to their 2017 campaign. Among the leaders, sophomore captain Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) has led the offensive charge for the men as the table-setter.
He gave a stellar performance last weekend during EMU’s home tri-match. As EMU’s setter, Christian averaged 10.29 assists per set over the two matches. In a sweep against Lancaster Bible, he averaged 12.00 assists per set, leading the Royals to hit .492 as a team, their highest total in three years. In a four-set loss to D-II King University, Christian set a career high with two solo blocks and tied his career high with four blocks in total. Offensively, he put up another 36 assists.
The sophomore is currently leading the Continental Volleyball Conference with 9.85 assists per set.
With the impressive start, Christian states that getting in the weight room during the offseason is what is helping his game thus far.
“One of the things that I did this offseason was get in the weight room five to six times a week to better prepare myself for this season,” he explained. “After putting on fifteen pounds this past offseason I feel much stronger, as compared to last season, and that has helped me take my game to a new level.”
With the resignation of former head coach Dominic Porter, the team was left without a coach for a crucial time during the offseason just prior to the start of practice. Christian feels that during that period, the players made strides forward as a unit.
“During that short time without a coach, the team really came together for one common goal,” Christian stated. “That goal was to start a winning tradition here at EMU.”
At the start of the season, the Royals sit at 2-2 under new interim coach Ross Madden, including 2-0 against D-III opponents.
“Coach Ross Madden has always been known around the volleyball world as a winner and he is doing the right things in order to get us to that point this season,” Christian stated on his current coach.
Despite being an underclassman, Christian was named a captain by Coach Madden during the early stages of the season.
“Christian is one of the hardest working and kindest gentlemen attending EMU,” Coach Madden stated on his captain. “He shows great sportsmanship on the court. I've seen Christian give five to opponents who made impressive plays. That's the kind of person you want calling the plays, which as setter, is Christian's responsibility.”
“Being named a captain as a sophomore has been a huge honor to me,” Christian added. “Being a leader of this team is something that I take great pride in.”
Christian is a double major in Business Administration and Recreational Leadership and Sport Promotion. He plans to work in athletics after his years at Eastern Mennonite and states that playing collegiate volleyball has helped him immensely.
“Playing volleyball has taught me key leadership and communication skills that have helped me become a better student in the classroom here at EMU,” Christian stated.
--- by Jake Brown, Sports Information Intern