Catholic Youth Ministry introduced a new sport this spring, and so far, everything has gone smoothly. Boys volleyball became the latest offering from CYM, following a personal connection for Mike Speicher, the director of athletics for CYM.
Speicher said he wanted to start the program after the death of his friend Jill Dietrich in November 2020. Her son Kyle, who was a classmate of Speicher’s daughter Meghan at Christ the Teacher School, was a member of the Salesianum School volleyball program until his graduation last year. Her younger son, Aiden, is currently on the team. After talking with some people about his idea, Speicher was convinced it was a good idea.
“I just put it out there to see what (the parish volleyball coordinators) thought,” he said. “They weren’t sure they were going to be able to get teams together. As basketball season wound down, I had four schools that thought they could field a team. We actually have six teams.”
Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. John the Beloved have two teams each. The others are from Mount Aviat and St. Mary Magdalen. Each team is playing 10 matches, and the championship is scheduled for May 21 at Salesianum School.
He is hoping to get a few high school coaches out to the championship match and to establish a feeder program for the next level. Currently, high school boys volleyball is a club sport in Delaware, but its coaches have asked the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association to confer varsity status beginning next season. A minimum of 16 schools must sponsor a sport for DIAA to officially sanction it. There are 18 teams this season.
The sport at the CYM level was open to students in sixth through eighth grade, but Speicher said there are few sixth-graders participating. Catholic Youth Ministry hopes to add a junior varsity program next year.
The other CYM spring sports are progressing toward their championships as well. The track championships will be held May 22 at Abessinio Stadium. Softball will hold its final either May 25 or 26 at Saint Mark’s High School, and baseball also will play its title game at Saint Mark’s on a date to be determined.