After flying under the radar entering the season, the Viterbo University volleyball team has made its presence known in its first two weeks of competition.
The V-Hawks are 6-0 with wins over four teams that have have spent time in the top-25 rankings. They've entered the top-25 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) rankings themselves, up to 15th on the list.
Viterbo hosts its first home game of the season Tuesday night against Ashford University at R.W. Beggs Gymnasium, where it went 11-0 a season ago.
But it's right back to the road after that. The team travels to Nebraska for a tournament, with games against two more ranked opponents.
"Our schedule is tough," head coach Ryan DeLong said before Monday's practice. "Our schedule is built for us to be strong in October, November.:"
DeLong added he knew his team would be tested in California against top teams like Biola University, who entered the match ranked second in the nation, but also that these games are going to really pay off later in the season when postseason berths are on the line.
Senior Brianna Brinkman also understands the importance of playing top talent early, but said the experience is beneficial for the team's less-experienced players too.
"I think going to California was a good opener and it really helps because you really can't explain the competition that we're going to see to the freshmen," Brinkman said. "So, now that they've kind of got some games under their belt, I think they're excited. I know we're excited. It's comforting to see some of them step out on the court, get their jitters out."
Viterbo finished 32-12 last season.