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UNT women’s volleyball club looks forward to hopeful season

UNT women’s volleyball club looks forward to hopeful season

UNT women’s volleyball club looks forward to hopeful season
February 08
11:00 2019

The UNT women’s volleyball club is looking forward to their spring season after a promising start at the TCU tournament on Jan. 26. The club’s A team was ranked No. 6 out of  the 20 teams competing while the B team was ranked No. 18.

The UNT women’s volleyball club competes in both the Southern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (SIVA) and the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation (NCVF). While both of the associations are collegiate, they are still for club sports. Other schools such as Texas A&M, Texas and Texas State also compete in these conferences. The team competes in SIVA during their spring season and also participate in the NCVF nationals tournament that is hosted out of state.

A-team coach and UNT alumni Chaz Rasmussen said the UNT team is different from the NCAA.

“The NCAA is more school driven, where this club wouldn’t exist without our players doing everything,” Rasmussen said. “We come up with funding, we have to present ourselves to the university and sign ourselves up for these tournaments. NCAA is higher competition while this is more for fun. We do play hard and do play to win, but it is definitely geared more towards having a good time.”

The NCVF nationals tournaments are broken up by A and B teams, the A teams play other A teams and B teams play other B teams. The SIVA conference is smaller than NCVF,  because of this, the teams are broken up into northern and southern divisions. The UNT women’s volleyball club is part of the northern division of SIVA. Looking into the season, UNT alum and B-team coach Keirsten Gomez said she is excited to see the girls improve the game they love.

“Being able to see [the team] grow, work hard  and seeing that pay off at nationals and being able to be a part of that is something I’m looking forward to the most this season,” Gomez said.

The biggest challenge the team faces this season is being able to find students willing to commit the extra time it takes to be a full-time team member. Senior club president Sydnie Walker said that despite the low number of players, the team still give it their all.

Freshman B-team player, Kaylla Thomas, takes a hit from the outside. Image by: Bayleigh Swanton.

“Our main challenge is finding good players at UNT who want to put in the extra time and who want to play both semesters,” Walker said. “The number of players that we have is lacking but we do fantastic with who we have.”

The club hosts tryouts for both the fall and spring semesters. The teams usually rotate out when people quit and new people join. While this does not hold the club back, it does pose a few challenges when having to work with new people after playing with the same teammates for a whole semester.

“If we lose girls in the fall, we make sure to hold tryouts in the spring to bring more girls in,” Rasmussen said. “It’s just an adjustment. It’s a brand new team once we lose a couple of key people.”

The UNT volleyball club is one of the few club sports on campus that have a volunteer coach. Club sports are funded through the recreation center, which is funded by students, the clubs funds are not to be used to pay coaches. Both Rasmussen and Gomez are former players of the club teams and have taken to spend with the team and help them improve anyway possible.

“Practicing until 11 p.m. two nights a week and not getting home and in bed until around 12 a.m. then having to be up for my job every morning is definitely challenging,” Gomez said. “But since we are so close in age, being able to make friendships, hang out and travel with the girls makes it worth it.”

The club is serious about the competition, the fun and family environment surrounding the sport and club is something that keeps the players invested and keeps them motivates him. 

“When I transferred from my last college and came to UNT, I was looking for friends and something to do,” Walker said. “I decided to join the team and met my whole family. I have a great group of girls and guys that I can just go to every day just to hang out and be with.”

Featured Image: Junior B-team player Stefanie Mitchell and freshman Kaylla Thomas jump to block the ball from the middle. Image by: Bayleigh Swanton.

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Bayleigh Swanton

Bayleigh Swanton

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