Second-Year Ryan McElligott Shines in Increased Role with Men’s Volleyball

Second-year men’s volleyball player Ryan McElligott took the summer to improve his skills and is taking on more responsibility on the court.

At the end of the 2022-23 men’s volleyball season, then-first-year setter Ryan McElligott had appeared in 11 sets across seven matches, posting one point, one ace and one dig. 

McElligott — originally from Mundelein, Illinois — said his passion for the game influenced his decision to continue playing volleyball in college. With Loyola being one of the only colleges to recruit him, he was glad to bring his talents to Rogers Park. 

McElligott said his passion for volleyball and lack of consistent playing time last year prompted him to take time over his summer to improve himself and his abilities. For this reason, McElligott’s goals when he returned for this season were simple.

“I wanted to play,” McElligott said. “I wanted to first help the team as much as I possibly could. I want to be on a winning team. I think most of the guys in the roster agree with me that we want to win a national championship at some point.”

This season, McElligott has already appeared in 37 sets across 12 matches, resulting in 49 assists, nine digs, nine points and four aces with 14 matches left in the regular season. 

Head coach John Hawks said he doesn’t see McElligott’s determination to get better slowing down. 

“If he’s grown this fast in the last year it’s gonna be scary when he comes back after this summer and beyond,” Hawks said. 

McElligott said he spent most of his summer working out and was in the gym twice a day, five times a week throughout the summer off-season. 

His work didn’t go unnoticed by Hawks, who said McElligott’s work ethic and determination over the summer has morphed him into one of the team’s best blockers and a strong physical presence at the net when it comes to attacking.

First-year setter Cole Schobel said although McElligott didn’t see much of the court last year, he has handled growing into his new role with the team well. He said going into games, McElligott is consistently willing to do what he can to help the team win.

“I think once he got used to it and adapted to it, I think he did a great job today and the previous games against Stanford and those big games both knowing when and where to set the ball at all times and I think he did a great job decision-wise,” Schobel said.

Schobel credited McElligott’s increased role on the team this year to his great mindset and work ethic. McElligott has these traits both on and off the court, according to Schobel. 

He went on to say McElligott’s mindset is one of the things that makes him such a great teammate. He said McElligott is always lifting up his teammates when they are down on themselves, whether in practice or games. 

Hawks shared a similar sentiment about Elligott’s impact in the games.

“He’s all in for the team and he wants to be,” Hawks said. “He’s dedicated to his health and his development and his process of learning how to set and be better at it.”

McElligott said he hopes to take his passion for volleyball as far as possible, hoping to play professionally following his time at Loyola. 

This season, McElligott has seen the court in many big matches against highly ranked opponents including the University of Hawai’i, Brigham Young University, the University of California Los Angeles and most recently the Ohio State University, playing in 11 sets against the four teams. 

McElligott said getting playing time against such good teams has been surreal.

“I kind of pictured myself being in this position even from last season, you know, and that was what I was working towards,” McElligott said. 

McElligott said aside from the physical changes he made over the summer, he changed his mindset as well, giving himself more confidence in his abilities, which has translated into his play this season.

McElligott said while he worked on his skills over the summer, some of his motivation came from the desire to make his parents and the people back home proud. He said this combined with his own will to be great made dedicating his summer to volleyball worth it. 

Outside of the work McElligott himself put into his improvements, he credited both his teammates and coaching staff for supporting him and giving him the tools to improve everyday. 

“Ali’i [Keohohou] is a great friend, mentor, you know, not just a coach,” McElligott said. “Lindsay [Brown] brings an insight into the game that I haven’t seen from a coach before. She’s definitely one of the best coaches that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. And then, you know, Hawks. He’s also a great leader and role model for our team.”

Outside of volleyball, McElligot enjoys the outdoors, especially hiking and fishing, as well as finding time to spend with friends and family.

McElligott and the Ramblers return to Gentile Arena Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. to take on Ball State University. This will be the two team’s second meeting of the season. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

Featured image by Ryan Pittman | The Phoenix

Amara Bullard

Amara Bullard