Club Week: Women’s volleyball club builds lasting friendships

For our last club of the week, sports editor, Cody McClure profiles the women’s volleyball club at UT. The group is passionate about building friendships through their love of volleyball.

Lana Bednarczyk is a junior industrial engineering major at the University of Tennessee. For the record, a quick Google search proves, by nearly all accounts, that is one of the hardest—and most rewarding—college majors out there.

But it’s not all busy schoolwork for Bednarczyk. She spends a good portion of her down time with the women’s volleyball club at UT. As a member of the club since her freshman year, Bednarczyk has built lasting relationships.

“The girls on the team are pretty much my best friends at school,” Bednarczyk said. “It’s really a good outlet and a good stress reliever to go do something that we all love to do.”

UT's club volleyball practices get pretty intense come tournament time // Photo courtesy of Lana Bednarczyk
UT’s club volleyball practices get pretty intense come tournament time // Photo courtesy of Lana Bednarczyk

Bednarczyk has played volleyball since she was in sixth grade, and after her high school career ended, she didn’t want to stop. Her sister was a senior on the volleyball club team and convinced her to join.

The women’s club volleyball team, founded in 1998, consists of two or three teams, depending on each semester’s turnout. The teams travel around the southeast, playing in a number of tournaments against other SEC and ACC schools.

“Usually, we travel to about five or six tournaments a semester,” Bednarczyk said. “This semester, we’ve been to Auburn, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. We went to Emory last semester. The traveling isn’t too bad.”

Interestingly, the team does not have a coach. Micaela Bailey, a senior at UT, is the team president. “She holds a big leadership position,” Bednarczyk said.

“We don’t have a coach, but her [Bailey] and the other officers fill that role in a sense. They usually decide what we’re going to do at practice, but they are playing with us as well.”

The club team practices twice a week, for about two hours on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, in the Joan Cronan Volleyball Center.

Bednarczyk added that the club experience is quite different from playing in high school, because players don’t always have a coach telling them exactly what to do.

Often, the team establishes its own consequences. For instance, if someone misses a certain number of practices, they have to run. This is a good way to provide expectations, says Bednarczyk.

Tennessee's volleyball club is open to any student who wants to join // Photo courtesy of Lana Bednarczyk
Tennessee’s volleyball club is open to any student who wants to join. // Photo courtesy of Lana Bednarczyk

Anyone can join the women’s club volleyball team. The club has an interest meeting in the fall, usually around August, to gauge interest from students.

While volleyball is typically a fall sport, the club team also plays in the spring.

Currently, the team is getting ready for nationals next week at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The NCVF Collegiate Club Volleyball Championships will be held April 7-9.

Dues to join the women’s volleyball club are $200 per semester. According to the club’s website, that money covers all travel fees (excluding food), and all practice fees.

To find out more about UT’s women’s volleyball club, students should email tennessee_volleyball@yahoo.com.

As Bednarczyk’s experience proves, it could be a good way to not only keep playing, but to also make a lasting friend.

Featured image by Lana Bednarczyk

Edited by Jessica Carr