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Women’s Club Volleyball: Physical, financial dedication lead Bobcats to championship victory
When the women’s club volleyball team arrived in Dallas for the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation’s Collegiate Club Volleyball Championship this past weekend, it was determined to win the three-day tournament.
Twenty sets later, the team found itself cheering for the first national title in the club’s history.
“There’s only one team that ends a season without losing,” said Katie Dilger, senior and president of the club team. “We were that team.”
The Bobcats won all their sets and beat Iowa State (9-1) with 25-22 and 25-15 in the first and second set, respectively, en route to the title.
“There was no way we weren’t going to win,” Dilger said, adding that she thought about the national championship all year long.
This mentality put the Bobcats in position to win on the national stage. While practicing two times a week, the team of 20 collected the necessary funds to sponsor the trip and pay the $950 application fee for the tournament.
“It is a lot of (fundraising) on Moms, Dads and Sibs weekends,” said Kelley Namaky, sophomore and treasurer of the team. “We did a night of Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser, we did car washes and we sold basketball tickets.”
To receive allocations from the club sports administration, each team member also puts in 20 community service hours a year and has to pay a fee of $100 each semester. Nevertheless, the team still hasn’t covered all costs.
“We still pay for our $200 flights and for our own food,” Dilger said about the trip.
Despite having to pay so much money and having to put in a lot of work, there’s a great rush on the club team at the beginning of each year.
“We have tryouts every year with 50 to 60 girls,” Dilger said. “We can only take 15 (plus the five officers already elected).”
With no coaches at hand, however, the club team’s officers have to make the decisions about who to cut.
“I had to cut someone that I was living with one year,” Dilger said, adding that the situation is sometimes really disappointing for some athletes. “It’s the hardest part by far.”
Dilger and Namaky both do the fundraising, the payments and the hard decisions for the love of the game. Neither wanted to play volleyball on the college varsity level.
“The college level would have been just too much and too intense,” Namaky said. “I still wanted to play, so I tried out.”
The sophomore hopes to reach the national championship game again next year and, if possible, to win it again.
“We have a lot of seniors graduating,” Namaky said. “But hopefully we get a lot of talented girls next year.”