There’s more to junior opposite side hitter Ricky Gevis than what meets the eye. Towering a foot over majority of the world’s population, it’s his personality and dedication to his religion, academics and sport that sets him apart.
Gevis’ volleyball career began five years ago during his sophomore year of high school at Benet Academy.
“I was walking through the hallways after class one day, and the high school coach just said, ‘Hey, tall guy. Come in here. Do you want to play volleyball?’ and I said, ‘Sure,’” said Gevis, who is from Naperville, a suburb in northwest Illinois.
After a successful career at Benet Academy, Gevis made his impression at Loyola, even helping the men’s volleyball team win the 2015 NCAA Championship, where he made seven kills and a career-high eight blocks against Lewis University in the final round. In the seven sets Gevis has played this season, he has recorded 21 kills, averaging three kills per set.
On the court, junior opposite Ben Plaisted said Gevis keeps the mood light and prevents his teammates from becoming stressed.
“I think he brings a pretty good energy,” said Plaisted. “A lot of the times, if it’s getting a little intense, he can lighten it up a little bit. He’s a funny guy.”
Plaisted and former men’s volleyball player Nick Olson formed a rap group called Two Young ‘Blers, and featured Gevis in their second song, “Ramblers on the Road.” Plaisted said everyone wants to see Gevis, so they gave him a small cameo.
Gevis’ consistency in keeping the mood light is what makes him a great addition to the Ramblers’ roster, according to head coach Mark Hulse.
“He has an obvious presence, not just physically, but he definitely keeps it on the lighter side of things,” said Hulse. “You [have to] be who you are on the court, so he does a good job of that. You know what you’re going to get. … That’s who he is.”
For Gevis, volleyball is enjoyable in variety of ways. During the summer, he played a lot of beach volleyball, which is very different than playing in the gym.
“It’s a fun sport,” Gevis said. “You can play it in a competitive nature, like in our gym, or you can go to the beach and play it there in a more relaxed sense.”
On top of his busy volleyball schedule, Gevis makes time to go to church every week. He said while he doesn’t think religion plays a role in his volleyball game, it is an important aspect of his life.
“I was raised in a religious family,” Gevis said. “I’ve gotten more involved in the past few years with the church.”
His commitment to the church and strong family relationship translates into his academics. Gevis is pursuing a major in accounting and a minor in information systems. He said his dad is an accountant and encouraged him to pursue a career in the field. When he first began taking the introductory courses for his major, Gevis said he performed well in them and enjoyed them.
Gevis earned the Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award in 2016 and was named to the the MVC Honor Roll the same year.
At the end of the day, Gevis said his favorite way to escape the stress of balancing school and his social life is playing volleyball.
“[I] can come here and just be here,” said Gevis.
Gevis and his teammates are scheduled to take on the Lindenwood University Lions on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in Gentile Arena.