Paige Cross

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The Cal Poly women’s club volleyball B team placed first in the Division III National Championship at the 2014 NCVF National Collegiate Club Volleyball Championships.

The men’s A and B teams succeeded at the NCVF Championships as well. The men’s A team placed third in the Division I  National Championship, and the B team placed second in Division III.

The men’s A team went into the championship with 10 wins and three losses under its belt. According to Ben Chessing, a business administration junior and member of the men’s club volleyball A team, this was one of their best seasons ever.

“It’s the best season that the guys’ (A) team’s had, I think in the history of Cal Poly, and with our (B) team taking second as a whole, it’s a phenomenal finish,” Chessing said.

The women of the A team faced some obstacles, said Jillian Akers, a nutrition junior and member of the women’s A team.

“It was definitely a different season, and rough,” she said. “We had to overcome a lot of adversity, but as a whole it was really successful. As a team, it definitely brought us closer.”

The players may be categorized by gender and division, but the men and women of club volleyball feel they are much more than four separate teams.

Their website describes them as a “family of competitive athletes.” Talk to any member of the four teams, and you’ll find that these men and women are just that: a family.

“It’s where I’ve made most of my friends,” said JT Janowski, an agricultural business sophomore and member of the men’s B team. “You make friends in your major and everything, but my closest friends are through volleyball, whether it’s the girls or the guys. It’s just a big family feel.”

And, according to Janowski, this family likes to get a little rowdy.

“That’s what we’re known for when we go to big tournaments, is our heckling, because it gets bad sometimes. Teams will complain about it at times, but it’s all in good fun,” Janowski said.

They are a tight-knit group, to say the least. They even have a club volleyball prom, Chessing said.

“It’s kind of a lot like a high school prom,” he said. “It’s just another way for us to bond and celebrate the end of the season.”

For many of these men and women, the club volleyball experience has been unforgettable. For Janowski, it’s been a highlight of his time at Cal Poly thus far. 

“It’s like a brother-sister type feel; they watch out for us, we watch out for them,” he said. “It’s just this fun dynamic that I’ve never really experienced before except for here, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Courtesy photo

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