Kill after kill after kill. That best describes what great players do in men’s volleyball at the college level. For novices to the ever-growing sport of volleyball, a kill is when a player spikes the ball with such force that the other team doesn’t return it.
St. Ambrose University men’s volleyball superstar Dan Dowjotas knows all about this impressive shot. Dowjotas led all Division I players in kills totaling 495 on the season. Dowjotas is also ranked number four among Division I players in total kills per game averaging about 3.9. If you “dig” his impressive record so far, there’s more-Dowjotas is ranked number 13 among all Division I men’s volleyball players in digs, totaling 194 on the season.
Six foot three junior Dowjotas is from Westmont, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. Dowjotas spent his high school years at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Ill. This is where the St. Ambrose standout volleyball player honed his skills for the sport and became a great player on the boy’s volleyball team for Montini.
In 2008 Dowjotas was one of the most sought out recruits in the greater Chicago area. He then decided to bring his abilities to the college stage at St. Ambrose to play for the Fighting Bees, where he would be coached by Bill Gleeson. Under Coach Gleeson he has been a team leader and national statistics leader for volleyball.
“Coach always has us set hard team goals, he pushes our team to be great,” Dowjotas said.
The SAU men’s volleyball team is driven by team goals. This year was no different as the team set out to win the MAMVIC East Conference title; they accomplished their goal by defeating Warner in the title match. Shortly after, Dowjotas was named NAIA player of the week. Dowjotas is also driven by goals of his own and expects to accomplish every one of them. In 2010 Dowjotas made good on one of his goals when he was named to the NAIA All-American team for his outstanding play.
“My goal is to become All- American next season again and win a national title,” Dowjotas said.
With hard work and dedication Dowjotas helped lead the Fighting Bee’s men’s volleyball team to the NAIA national tournament. The national tournament was held at Lee Lohman Arena in front of the Bees’ home crowd. The number three seeded St. Ambrose team fought hard throughout the three day tournament and landed a spot in the championship game where they were defeated by number one seeded California Baptist University in straight sets. Dowjotas was a major part of this great effort by the men’s team. Losing only two seniors next year, Dowjotas has another national title run in mind.
“It was such a great atmosphere, Cal Baptist is a great team so there was no reason for us to hang our heads and be upset,” Dowjotas said.
Holding down the outside hitter position for St. Ambrose is not the only thing that Dowjotas enjoys to do. This hardworking student enjoys being in college and having fun while doing it.
“In my free time I like to hang out with friends and watch movies. This summer I’ll be doing a lot of fishing.”
Dowjotas has big goals and dreams set out ahead of him and with his work ethic these goals are starting to become reality. As the 2012 men’s volleyball season approaches, St. Ambrose students and faculty shouldn’t be surprised to see Dowjotas putting in hard work and long hours at Lee Lohman arena as he hopes to lead his team to a national title victory.