After recently competing at Nationals in Louisville, Ky., the team placed 17th overall in its division. While tryouts are generally held the second week of every fall semester, the season commences in spring, and the team works throughout the year to be the best it can. This group, consisting of 15, makes up both the first and second teams of men's FSU Club Volleyball.
"Guys' volleyball typically doesn't get the credit that I think it deserves in regard to the speed and intensity of the game," said FSU freshman Brandon Blahnik. "Most people haven't actually seen men play at a real competitive level and don't really understand how exciting of a game it is."
Blahnik, 19, is the outside hitter on the first team and also serves as the club's treasurer. He is currently enrolled in 15 credit hours.
"The most difficult part, along with any school sport, is finding the extra time to practice and go to tournaments while still worrying about classes," said teammate and FSU sophomore Tommy Austin.
In high school, Blahnik played volleyball, soccer and ran cross country. He was an active member in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Mu Alpha Theta, Epsilon Nu Gama, National Honors Society and the Drumline.
Blahnik currently works as the head coach of 12-year-old girls' club volleyball, and still finds time to be involved on campus.
"I am really involved with the Wesley Ministry on campus, which I absolutely love," said Blahnik. "I attend service there on Sundays, family groups, and play almost any intramural sport you can imagine with them as well."
Blahnik, from Oviedo, Fla., has been playing volleyball competitively since sixth grade. After high school, he knew he wanted to continue playing the sport.
"I have been playing volleyball for about six years now and I knew that I wanted to continue to play in college at the highest level that was available, and here at FSU the club team is that level," said Blahnik.
In any competitive sport, the occasional injury is bound to occur. Some can be damaging, while others aren't as severe.
"I have never had any major injuries playing volleyball but have rolled my ankles quite a few times and broken a couple of fingers while blocking," said Blahnik.
The team practices twice a week for two hours and many members play outside of practice as well, at the Leach center or for fun. On occasion, a few members will practice with the girls' varsity team.
"My favorite part is going to and hosting tournaments," said FSU graduate student Greg McCandless. "It's what you work for in practice and you feel better blasting opponents in the face than you do when you do it to your own teammates in practice."
Being a part of the team isn't always fun and games. Besides exhausting practices and improving their game, the guys have come across other struggles to date.
"My least favorite part about being involved with FSU Club Volleyball is the fundraising," said FSU senior Jonathan Thomas. "We end up paying for a lot of things ourselves."
Aside from the hard times, undoubtedly, there are benefits that come along with being a part of the team. Some enjoy traveling and making new friends, while others like the opportunity to be excused from class for games and tournaments.
"My favorite part about being involved with FSU Club Volleyball is being able to play high-level competitive volleyball against the best teams in the country," said FSU senior Jonathan Thomas.
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