Men’s club volleyball sees spike in interest, emphasizes patience, discipline


Kailyn Hayes / Hilltop Views

St. Edward’s student Rory O’Connor bumps volleyball to his warmup partner during a weekly practice. The club team practices Monday and Wednesday evenings.

The men trickled into the sleek alumni gym one by one, ready to perfect their craft. As one of the most underrated club sports, the St. Edward’s University men’s club volleyball team promotes brotherhood and teaches discipline.

Men’s club volleyball is an exhilarating sport that requires immense dedication and patience to perfect techniques like spiking and serving. Thes athletes practice on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., compete in one to two tournaments every month and are committed to playing their best.

Even though the players aren’t officially varsity athletes and don’t receive the perks that accompany that label, club senior vice president Jacob Gonzalez says the reward of being part of the team is much greater.

“One of the most rewarding things is just seeing us build up this program and making it stronger,” Gonzalez said.

Since the start of the school year, the team has faced a few minor challenges. Senior club president Robert Nieto says that one of those struggles is being patient.

“Our biggest struggle is just being patient when it comes to winning and being patient with each other,” Nieto said. “And knowing that we’re a whole new team … we’re freshman stacked.”

Gonzalez talked about the team’s recent tournament and where most of their tournaments are located.

“It was in Fort Worth and was our first tournament, and it was a crossover tournament. We were missing two setters so it was really hard to take everything we learned on the court and apply it,” he said. “Majority of [tournaments] are in Fort Worth, Houston and Waco. This year we have two in Fort Worth, one in Houston and scrimmages with Texas State and UTSA.”

When asked about what they looked forward to, Gonzalez mentioned the team’s regional competition in Fort Worth. The competition is a co-ed 50-team event that requires extensive practice, especially since they will face off against large Division I schools.

On tournament weekends, the team is busy from the time they leave campus to when they return back to the Hilltop. Players leave SEU on a Friday and road trip to their destination, returning to SEU by 8 p.m. on Saturdays or Mondays.

They typically travel between Houston, Waco and Fort Worth. Once they arrive, they check into their hotel, get dinner and rest for the big tournament ahead of them.

When game day rolls around, they wake up at 6:30 a.m. to get to the tournament, which starts promptly at 8:00 a.m. and typically doesn’t end until 5:30 p.m.

To keep the players in good spirits, the team recently implemented an optional freshman initiation, where they go to a local arcade in one of the cities where they have a tournament and have the freshman ride a mechanical horse.

The team’s  next tournament will take place in Houston from Feb. 21-23.