Sports team highlight

Men’s Volleyball coach highlights a season cut short

Q&A with Coach Todd Elwell of MIT Men’s Volleyball, who lost the end of their season with the move to remote learning

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The 2020 MIT Men's Volleyball team, which achieved a 17-4 record before its season ended due to COVID-19.
courtesy of todd elwell

MIT Men’s Volleyball had completed 21 of the 28 scheduled regular-season matches when the remainder of the season was cancelled due to the move to remote learning in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The team had performed very well over these 21 matches, losing only four for an excellent 17-4 record. The Tech asked Coach Todd Elwell to reflect on his team’s season.

The interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.

The Tech: What are you most proud of about your team’s progress this year?

Todd Elwell: This year’s team was on the younger side, with 11 freshmen and sophomores out of the 16 roster spots. Despite the team's inexperience, MIT went 17-4 with a final ranking of 13th in the country. The team had amazing chemistry and brought great energy throughout the season.

TT: What makes the current team and the graduating class of seniors special?

Elwell: This year we had two seniors and a grad student who were the heart of the team. Jake Gasparich G and Thomas Nelson ’20 were our captains who led with amazing dedication and play. Michael Kulinski ’20 also contributed to the amazing team environment on and off the court. Regardless of the score, the team had a consistent focus and a team vibe that was very unique.

TT: Even though you didn’t get the chance to play a full season, is there a moment that sticks out to you this season?

Elwell: Early in the season we had a five (2-3) set loss to national ranked #3, Steven Institute of Technology, and at that point I knew that we were going to do really well this year. We went on to beat nationally ranked #5, Vassar, which put us in the top fifteen in the country. The final weekend before our season came to an end, we lost a close match to the 2019 National Champions SUNY New Paltz and defeated #12, Milwaukee School Of Engineering.

TT: Are there any words of wisdom you have for your team or the MIT Community as a whole?

Elwell: Anytime you’re facing adversity, whether it be on the court or in life, it is important to believe in the process and the people around you. If you want to rise above your problem and find the solution, you must be patient and trust the process. 

Indeed, The Tech is sure that the strong bonds the Men’s Volleyball team has formed will continue to provide the team with an excellent community. We are saddened, along with the rest of the MIT community, that we could not see that Men’s Volleyball season close out their very strong season. However, we commend the graduating class for setting an excellent example and dedication to the team. We look forward to watching the Men’s Volleyball team continue to succeed in coming seasons.