Samantha Plumley and Leanne Signoriello – 1851 Staff
The Lasell men’s volleyball team recently took home their first Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship (GNAC) trophy. “We did it. There’s not much more you could ask for,” said senior, co-captain Dan Raffol on the men’s volleyball team’s recent success.
Seniors Matt Dugan and Dan Raffol witnessed the development of the Lasell’s volleyball program throughout their four years on the team. Their freshmen season team consisted of eight players and half of them were freshmen. This differed significantly from this season’s roster, which featured key players from each academic year.
“To see the growth [in the team] is really awesome,” said co-captain Dugan.
For a while, the team was overlooked, but the mindset changed within the volleyball community due to the development of the program. The team became more competitive and was invited to participate in tournaments at Kean University and Johnson & Wales University.
The program overcame a lot of challenges and adversities over the last few years, proven by their recent GNAC Championship over the reigning champions, Rivier University Raiders, with a final score of 3-2.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I did know that it was possible,” said Raffol. “I knew that if we played our game, and we played the best that we could, we would be able to beat anyone.”
Raffol, who scored the winning point, enforced the importance of the contributions made as a team. “That one point is no different than any other point in the game because every single point matters,” Raffol said. “Its not me getting the game winning kill, it’s the team getting the game winning play.”
The team placed high importance on their chemistry on and off the court. Spending time bonding, away from volleyball, is an integral aspect of the LCVB family. “We all call ourselves brothers, we’re one of the closest teams on campus,” said Dugan.
Senior Night was an opportunity for family and friends to reflect on the accomplishments of the seniors. Although Dugan and Raffol were focused on the game that night rather than being honored, they still appreciated the gesture. “It did mean a lot. My parents have gone to every single game and they were there for that,” said Raffol.
Raffol was recently honored by both Lasell and GNAC for his accomplishments over the past four years with the team. At
the GNAC Championship game, Raffol was awarded the title of MVP and was selected to GNAC’s All-Conference Second Team. As for his accomplishments at Lasell, Raffol earned a spot on the 1000 Kills banner, making him the first and only male currently on the banner.
The senior co-captain was able to excel through the extra time and effort he put in through the offseason. “I proved to myself that hard work can take you to where you want to go, even if it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Raffol.
After this season, Dugan and Raffol’s Lasell volleyball career will come to an end but they still maintain a focus on volleyball. Dugan, who currently coaches high school volleyball, aspires to become an Athletic Director for Division III athletics and Raffol will continue to compete in local league tournaments.
Even though he will eventually no longer be wearing a Lasell uniform, Dugan still has expectations for his former team. “I want them to stay competitive. It means a lot more for the program when you have kids who are competing for the GNAC every year,” said Dugan.