CSU Volleyball catches steam, wins 8 of last 11

After a shaky start to the season, Cleveland State University Women’s Volleyball is beginning to catch steam, winning eight of its last eleven games.

After losing four straight, their run of success began on the weekend of Sept. 14, in which they won two out of three games. Then, the team really caught fire, winning its next six.

Prior to the six-game win streak, the team was sitting with a .500 record at 6-6.

Sophomore middle hitter, Hannah Greene, said that the team’s mindset has changed since it has been winning.

“We have really picked up our work ethic and our mindset,” Greene said. “We believe in each other and play together, and we have fun while doing it. It makes it a lot easier to win games.”

Greene said that the recent success for the team can be attributed to hard work in practice—and what their coach uses to motivate them.

“We like to go off of an acronym our Coach made up “C.U.B.I.E.  Can you bring it everyday?” Greene said. “We pretty much say this before every practice.”

The CSU Volleyball team is no stranger to success, coming off three-straight Horizon League championships. The adversity of climbing back from a .500 record could stall some teams, but Greene said it has only helped this group.

“It just makes the team closer,” Greene said. “We become a lot stronger together when we truly are pushing and fighting toward being better and pushing for the same goal.”

Expectations for the team are already high, but Greene said they have a bigger goal this year—to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament, something that Cleveland State’s volleyball team has never done.

“Obviously, another [Horizon League] championship is always the goal but to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament is one of the many things that has motivated us to better ourselves,” Greene said.

Greene said that having fun while winning is important—and as long as they continue to keep the games fun, the team should continue its success.

“Everyone loves to win but I believe a good win is one that is earned and that was fun to earn. We have had a good amount of those,” Greene said. “I think that is what gives us steam. We love the thrill and the feeling of that.”

When asked if the team is getting hot at the perfect time, Greene’s answer was simple.

“I think every time is a good time to be hot. There is no good time for it–it should be all the time.”



CSU Athletics to introduce new #UniteforGreenandWhite hashtag

Cleveland State University Athletics will introduce its new hashtag, #UniteforGreenandWhite, in the coming weeks.

This news comes after the removal of its original hashtag, #GetOnTheShip, amid complaints over its sensitivity.

Although it has not yet been introduced, Cleveland State’s Chief Marketing Officer Robert Spademan said he is confident it will be used soon and be integrated across all Cleveland State athletics.

“My guess is it’ll be in the next couple of weeks,” Spademan said. “The idea is to use the theme across all our athletic endeavors, all the sports, as we go forward.”

Spademan said he did not want to risk making the hashtag confusing by taking words out and is confident that having “for” and “and” lower case makes it easier.

“We had an internal discussion because my social media guy thought it was too long of a hashtag,” Spademan said. “But to us, if you take the word for out, it loses its meaning. So it’s long but it’s all lower case so it is easier to type.”

Since scrapping the previous hashtag #GetOnTheShip because some students consider it offensive, the marketing team’s approach to creating this one could have been different. But Spademan said, for them, nothing really changed.

“I think it was really the same,” Spademan said. “It was, ‘Okay let’s start over and think about what embodies our athletic program here.’ One of the things that athletics does for a university is sort of bring unity to everybody. It is something that everybody can rally around and be proud of. It speaks to school spirit. When we hit on this, it was like ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ Unite for green and white is really what it’s all about.”

The issue with #GetOnTheShip was less about the ship or hashtag—and more about the Viking mascot itself. When asked about whether or not they avoided the Viking altogether with the new campaign, Spademan didn’t back down.

“No. Not really. The Magnus was another thing we tossed around but the alliteration part [of #UniteforGreenandWhite] we felt very strong about,” Spademan said.

One thing that may have had students excited for the #GetOnTheShip campaign was the real-life ship proposed to be built in the Wolstein Center for basketball games. Although the details haven’t yet been worked out, it appears a new student section is still a possibility.

[Athletics] are working on where [students] sit and so forth. Traditionally that has been behind the north side of the building,” Spademan said. “We may try some different things but that is yet to be worked out with the season still being a few months away.”

Spademan said he believes how the community will react to the new hashtag could depend on how much the teams win.

“We have said this before with athletics,” Spademan said. “When you are winning it makes everything easier. So depending on which sport you are talking about, it should be an easy sell.”






CSU Athletics abandons recently introduced hashtag #GetOnTheShip

Cleveland State University Athletics has decided to abandon the recently introduced hashtag #GetOnTheShip after criticism for its insensitivity.

Cleveland State Athletics introduced the slogan over the summer to create unity and encourage support. Several team’s Twitter accounts would frequently use the hashtag when sending out tweets related to their sport. Graphics of the hashtag and its corresponding logo appeared online and on t-shirts seen around campus.

Cleveland State’s Chief Marketing Officer Robert Spademan noted that the intentions of the new hashtag were to create spirit for Cleveland State’s sport teams.

“The get on the ship thing was intended to be a spirit campaign,” Spademan said. “We have 16 sports here at the campus, so the idea is to create spirit around that and get students involved.”

In an attempt to create excitement and make the Cleveland State basketball games more intriguing for students, the plan was to actually build a ship structure in the Wolstein Center, where fans could watch the game.

“What would have been cool about this is they were going to build like a set in the basketball court that was like a Viking ship and you could hang out there,” Spademan said.

#GetOnTheShip and the physical ship structure in the Wolstein Center would been signs of unity often seen in professional sports. Things like the Cleveland Indians’ use of #RallyTogether, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ #AllIn, or the Cleveland Browns Dawg Pound section of the stadium.

But, after receiving criticism regarding the hashtag’s sensitivity, Cleveland State’s marketing team has decided to get rid of the idea altogether and start over.

“We got feedback from one individual who felt that maybe there is a negative connotation to get on the ship, and then others who said I don’t get it,” Spademan said. “So we decided actually on Friday that we would can it and start over.”

Spademan said that what made people upset might be less about the hashtag and more to do with the Viking mascot itself.

“I’ve been here 11 years and when I came here they had just done this whole Viking thing, and if you study the Vikings, they’re kind of [brutal],” Spademan said. “My whole time here, people at various times have felt like that is the wrong image.”

Despite how much work went into creating the #GetOnTheShip idea and time spent marketing it, the marketing team made the decision to respect people’s feelings about the topic and start from scratch.

“You do these things and sometimes people read other things into them and we’re sensitive to that, so I think we did the right thing,” Spademan said.

More important than the idea itself, the marketing team’s goal is to drive up attendance and to increase students’ involvement in Cleveland State athletics, no matter what the marketing technique is.

“We want to get more kids to our games. In the past, basketball tends to be our big sport and we haven’t had great student attendance,” Spademan said. “Part of the story here is that the university recognizes that and we are trying to create not only school spirit, but drive more school attendance to games. And not just basketball, but all sports.”

Spademan is unsure of exactly what will be the next marketing approach and what it will include, but their goal is to make sure they are sensitive when creating it, so that no one feels uncomfortable or sees it in a negative way,

“We’re going to come up something and hopefully people get it and nobody sees it in any kind of negative way,” Spademan said.

Former CSU basketball player signs with the Utah Jazz

Former Cleveland State University basketball player Trey Lewis has signed an NBA contract with the Utah Jazz.

Lewis, a Garfield Heights native, played for the Vikings during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. During his time at Cleveland State, Lewis averaged 14.9 points, 4 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 42.3 percent from the field.

A graduate of Garfield Heights High School, Lewis was the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year in 2011. He was selected to the All-Ohio Division I first-team, and scored 1,350 career points.

Lewis began his collegiate career at The Pennsylvania State University for one year before transferring to Cleveland State. He played for the Vikings for two years before transferring to the University of Louisville for his final season.

In Utah, Lewis will reunite with his former Louisville teammate and NBA star, Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell was a freshman during Lewis’ senior year with the Cardinals.

After participating in the 2016 NBA Summer League as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lewis has played the past two years oversees on teams in both Germany and France.

Lewis began his European basketball career in Germany with Medi Bayreuth for the 2016-17 season. During the 2017-18 season, Lewis stayed in Germany and signed with Ratiopharm Ulm. In 2018, Lewis played with JL Bourg-en-Bresse in France.

This past summer, Lewis was on the Utah Jazz Summer League roster in Las Vegas where he averaged 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in four games.

Lewis joins a growing list of former Cleveland State basketball players who are receiving their opportunity in the NBA. He joins Norris Cole and Bryn Forbes as recent NBA players who have played basketball at Cleveland State.

Michael Thomas, Cleveland State’s director of athletics, said he believes that this is the kind of news that displays the positive opportunities Cleveland State athletics can provide to student athletes.

“A CSU Viking playing at the NBA level enhances the image and exposure of our program,” Thomas said. “A history of developing student-athletes to compete at this level is a credit to CSU coaches from both a recruiting and development standpoint.”

With growing athletic programs, the opportunity to play sports at a professional level is something Cleveland State athletics can use when recruiting student-athletes to choose the school.

“With this opportunity being the dream for so many it is a real plus when recruiting prospective student-athletes as the program has a history of making this a reality,” Thomas said.

New and Recent Work

In an attempt to keep my blog fresh and up-to-date with my most recent work, I will be posting my stories from the reporting I do for the Cleveland Stater as they are published.

I have been working hard to put out good and interesting stories and want to share them on my blog to keep this platform as relevant as possible.

5 of the largest Zoos in the United States

This interactive map includes 5 of the largest Zoos in the United States based on size, attendance, and number of animals, according to this article (http://newyork.cbslocal.com/top-lists/5-largest-zoos-america/) from CBS.