Highlighting the SFU volleyball club team

Members talk practice, events, and more

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team photo of the SFU volleyball club posed in rows in front of the volleyball net
PHOTO: Courtesy of SFU Recreational and Athletics Club

By: Hailey Miller, Staff Writer

Editor’s note: answers have been edited for clarity and accessibility. 

The Peak spoke with SFU volleyball club members Chloe and Laeticia Tees, alongside Jenna VanRoekel and Malcolm Sondrup, about the ins-and-outs of their club, what practice looks like, and camaraderie among players. As SFU’s competitive volleyball team outside of the varsity program and intramurals, the women’s team came first in the silver division and the men’s team came third in the gold division of their latest tournament.

When does your season run? 

Chloe Tees (CT): Officially, it starts October after we host tryouts in fall. During the fall semester, we mainly just practice and have scrimmages, and then in the spring semester, we compete. In summer, we just take it easy. 

What events and tournaments is the club involved in?

Laeticia Tees (LT): We scrimmage a lot of other club teams, like UVic, UBC, and TWU. We play in Pacific Intercollegiate Volleyball Association tournaments in the US against other big universities. We play in provincials for Volleyball BC, which is next weekend.

CT: We have social activities.

LT: We have team parties, team bonding, and themed practices.

Jenna VanRoekel (JV): In the summer, we’ll do a big tournament with all the teams. It’s girls and guys together, and it’s a fun thing because we don’t really play our normal positions — it’s really just a full day of summer fun.

How can people join the club? 

CT: We host tryouts. This year we had two tryouts for each team [men’s and women’s]. There was a lot of interest this year. I think we had 100 guys and 100 girls come out. We would love to take everyone, but it’s a competitive team.

What’s practice like?

Malcolm Sondrup (MS): Usually for our practices, we’ll start off with warm-ups. Then we’ll play a bit, do a couple drills. We do game-play and skill improvement stuff, and focus on conditioning. I feel like the skill level has really increased throughout the years. We take our practices pretty seriously and try to make it as competitive as possible, especially in preparation for tournaments. 

What’s the camaraderie like among teammates? 

LT: It’s been a place to meet my best friends; it’s been really fun. We have a really big age range, but it’s still a way for me to meet people in and outside my program. Even the sixth-year’s and the first-year’s get along. Our club is pretty unique in the fact that the guys’ and girls’ teams are really close, as far as being friendly and supporting each other in all our tournaments. 

MS: It’s wild to think about how close a lot of the players have gotten. All of my best friends are on the team and I think volleyball’s such a good way to bond and connect, and meet people with a similar interest as you. 

What are some facts about volleyball that most people don’t know? 

MS: It’s very physically demanding, especially when you play a position where you pass a lot. And you get a lot of burns. And you get hit in the face sometimes, and you hit people in the face, too. 

JV: People’s preferences in the shoes they wear and the ball they like lead to an hour-long debate. No one on our team agrees on anything. This is a little more unique to volleyball, but also in sports, there’s pretty much a regulation ball for everything. 

CT: I think it’s so cool that there’s no personality type for a volleyball player. We’re all from different programs, we’re all from different backgrounds, and we all got into volleyball at different ages. I feel like it’s a very eclectic group of people that end up playing volleyball, but then it makes such a good group. You get so many cool perspectives and different people.  

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