MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - On the corner of Main Street in Mesa sits one of college sports best underdog stories. If you drive by Benedictine University at Mesa, you may miss it. The school takes up less than a block. That didn't stop the Redhawks from winning the NAIA Men's college volleyball national title.

"We still don't have facilities yet," said Ray Lewis, head coach of the Redhawks. "It shows if you work hard and persevere, the gym really doesn't matter that much. It's about the group of guys and the buy-in and commitment, and you can do anything you put your mind to."

[WATCH: Mesa school holds national championship trophy in men's volleyball]

Benedictine opened its doors in 2013. This year's senior class didn't even have a dorm room to stay in when they arrived "on campus."

"Our dorm rooms were in a hotel in the Marriott across the street, on the fourth floor," said Redhawks senior Devin Hill. "There was (sic) countless hard times where I debated, 'What am I doing here? Benedictine University at Mesa? I've never heard of that school.'"

The story actually starts in the 2018 title game when the Redhawks had to watch Grandview hoist the championship trophy.

"That was a terrible feeling. A lot of emotion going through us and I just remember thinking, 'We've got to finish this,'" said Redhawks sophomore Treven Clizbe.

"I remember being in the locker room and talking to guys and saying, 'You have a decision to make. You can decide that this is acceptable or that you never want to feel that feeling again,'" said Lewis.

The Redhawks carried that feeling with them of unfinished business all season. When the final point was scored in the final match of 2019, it made every second of sacrifice worth it.

The school may win another national title, but there will never be a team like the 2019 Redhawks. They were the team that put Benedictine University at Mesa, on Main Street, on the map.

 


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