Varsity Reserve Doesn’t Belittle Marian Athletes


Jill Schneider, Writer

Despite the negativity that might come with the term JV, meaning junior varsity or varsity reserve, because it is looked at as not good enough for varsity, the athletes and coaches at Marian University are embracing the varsity reserve teams. Currently, there are three sporting teams at Marian that have a varsity reserve team that has their own schedule of games: soccer, baseball and softball. These teams have been created in the past five years. Originally, people might think that varsity reserve is just for the not-as-talented athletes, so why have it at the college level. After interviewing the coaches and athletes from these sports, they find varsity reserve to be a great tool that only benefits the team and university.  

Having a varsity reserve team allows for more athletes to continue to pursue their love for the game by competing at the college level. Mens Baseball, Womens Soccer, and Softball all have large NCAA rosters at 52, 32, and 25 players. It can be challenging getting in enough reps to increase players skills, but all teams and players are positive they get enough.  Outfielder Landon Gosch emphasized how practices are kind of tough with 36 hitters. Additionally, 3rd Baseman Travis Slywka adds a positive note saying practices are kind of hectic at times, Id say the coaches here do a pretty good job with everyone getting the same reps. 

Along with increased roster size, varsity reserve games allow for players to have game like situations that they would not receive in practices. Slywka spoke highly of varsity reserve opportunities saying, it gives you more chances to play and get out there in the rotation. Instead of sitting the bench cheering on the varsity players, other players now have the opportunity to show their coaches what they can accomplish. Baseball Assistant Coach Burgert also pointed out that varsity reserve is 12-15 extra games for those players who arent getting enough repetition and innings. It gives them the opportunity to grow and get better. 

By increasing the roster size, teams are able to have more competition within themselves, which causes an increase in skill, ability, and a more successful team. Coach Saiberlich said, I think it makes them work harder. Having more players means more people fighting for limited spots on the field. The more the competition is working the more you have to work yourself. It makes sense that more players equals harder workers. Softball Coach Tony Draves said, It has created more competition, especially when it comes to conference season and we dont travel with everyone. In softball, the large rosters work to increase the level of competition of those players on the edge of varsity and they will work harder to play. It also increases for those players on the edge of not being on the travel list because they will want to travel to games. 

However, even though varsity reserve allows for more competition, benefits players, and allows for more to experience the college level, having the varsity reserve team deters some athletes from committing to Marian. In order to have a varsity reserve team that can compete, NCAA teams need enough players to have a whole other team. This means the roster sizes are quite large. Women’s Soccer Coach Jillian Saiberlich sighed as she said “yeah, we have had a few girls straight up tell us the reason they didn’t come here is because our roster is so big.” When Coach Burgert was asked if the large roster deters recruits he proclaimed, “I would say yes and no, that it does steer some people away.”

While having a large roster size does deter some athletes, other athletes love the fact that their sport has a varsity reserve team. Outfielder Matthew Nordlund said, varsity reserve was one of the reasons that I came to Marian. Other athletes such as Travis Slywka and Myranda Schuttenhelm (Softball) also said they did not think that having a varsity reserve team would deter athletes from coming to Marian. Overall, it seems like the attitude that a person has determines if they like the varsity reserve aspect and if they will come to Marian. If a player has a positive outlook on the JV games, they see all the benefits it can offer. Coach Saiberlich pointed out its the unknown that stops commitment, the what if I cant beat out all those players. 

Ultimately, varsity reserve has its pros and cons at Marian University. The current players and coaches all see the benefits the varsity reserve brings to the school. Some recruits might not like the aspect of the larger roster, however, it doesn’t seem like those are the types of athletes Marian is looking for.