Moving away to college is hard. Moving across the country to a state that flirts with below freezing temperatures throughout the year is even harder.
“It was a little bit of a shock at first because I’ve never experienced below-zero temperatures,” said Valencia grad Michael Trunzo. “But I enjoyed it because I wanted to experience something different coming from California.”
Almost done with his sophomore year at NCAA Division 3 North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, Trunzo wrapped up his second season playing for volleyball head coach Kyle Exline and the Cardinals.
Taking the regular season Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League Conference title in the program’s third year since its creation, the Cardinals finished the regular season undefeated, going 9-0 in league and 17-8 overall.
“We returned all the players from last year’s team so we had a year of playing with each other under our belts and we stuck together throughout the whole season and it paid off because we clicked and ended up winning the regular season title,” Trunzo said.
The sophomore, along with two other teammates, made the MCVL First Team All-Conference list by breaking NCC’s single-season assists record with 734, by more than doubling his previous years assists total (347). Trunzo is now second all-time, trailing by 288 assists.
Deflecting all the glory by honoring his teammates, Trunzo couldn’t help but attribute his success this past season to a complete team effort.
“I’m just honored and blessed to be on such a great team with incredible guys,” he said. “They just make me look good, honestly. I couldn’t have done it without anyone one of them because it was just a whole team effort.”
Losing to Loras College in the MCVL Tournament semifinals, Trunzo has high hopes for next year’s team with the goal of winning the National Championship.
”The goal next year is to win the National Championship because that was our goal this year and we came up short, but right after the loss we started preparing and getting on it.”
Playing under a “high-energy” coach like coach Exline, Trunzo has no doubt that the feat could be accomplished.
“He’s always pushing us at practice in the classroom and on the court,” Trunzo said. “He always says, ‘We have to hunt to eat.’ Coach was honestly one of the main reasons why I decided to come to North Central because he had bigs goals and I wanted to be a part of it.”
With his alma-mater, Valencia, still in the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs and the last team standing out of the Foothill League, Trunzo talked about how playing under coach Kevin Kornegay prepared him for his collegiate career.
“Coach Korn’s philosophy is: ‘To be the best, you have to play the best.’ Valencia is a pretty big name for volleyball, so playing such elite competition in the Foothill League and throughout California got me to where I needed to be to make the jump to playing in college,” he said.
Lending some words of advice, Trunzo had this to offer his fellow Vikings:
“Believe in each other and take advantage of the opportunity by trusting in one another every time you step on the court,” he said.