Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

A competitive journey of camaraderie

In the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater lies a spirited group of athletes, the men’s club volleyball team. Led by Alex Bodven, the president, and Ryan Peschl, the vice president, this team boasts a rich history of camaraderie, competition, and unwavering dedication. Bodven and Peschl have had a journey with the club, from tryouts to tournaments, and everything in between.

With several years under his belt, Ryan reflected on his final year with the club.

“This is my fifth and final year,” Peschl said. “It’s been a while,” he chuckled, reminiscing on the seasons past.

Bodven, a seasoned member himself, shared, “This is my third year with the club. First year was the year after COVID.”

Tryouts mark the beginning of the season, typically held early in September.

“We usually run tryouts early in September because we have a preseason that starts up then,” Bodven said. “It’d be three or four days that we feel needed this year.”

As the preseason kicks off, the team embarks on a journey of non-conference matches, facing off against teams from across the region.

“It’ll be a lot of non-conference matches,” Bodven noted. “We’ll play teams in Illinois, Minnesota, sometimes even teams from Kansas.”

The regular season, spanning from late January to early April, sees the team competing in the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference.

“It’ll start off around late January, and then it’ll go until early April,” Bodven explained.

The conference lineup includes familiar foes like Oshkosh, La Crosse and Platteville, with occasional newcomerslike Luther College joining the fray.

“We just added Luther College this year,” Peschl shared. “They just got a team, so we kind of adopted them into the conference.”

The road to nationals presents its own set of challenges, with tournaments scattered across the country.

“Nationals are in Kansas City this year,” Peschl said. “And for the first time ever, I think they had it at the same place two years in a row.”

Despite the absence of a coach, the team thrives on peer mentorship and shared camaraderie.

“With us, we are a lot more just like peers,” Peschl explained. “We all share the court together. So it’s a very different dynamic.”

Reflecting on the team’s performance, Peschl shared, “In most tournaments, there’s like a gold upper bracket and silver and bronze usually. So we’re usually always in gold or silver somewhere right around there.”

The team’s success is fueled by a deep bench and a culture of inclusivity.

“We can recruit players who haven’t played before,” Bodven mentioned. “Guys that just want to get used to the sport and learn it.”

Off the court, the team bonds over shared experiences and traditions.

“We’ll always try and get dinner before a match or lunch before we have to leave for somewhere,” Peschl mentioned.

Bodven and Peschl expressed gratitude for their teammates and the close-knit community they’ve cultivated.

“Our most consistent fans would be whether it’s our B team playing or the A team playing, it would be the other team,” Peschl said.

Bodven remarked with a smile, “It’s really just been our biggest thing. It’s been each other.”

In the realm of club volleyball, it’s not just about spikes and serves; it’s about the journey shared among teammates, the bonds forged through competition, and the unwavering support that defines the essence of the game. And for the men’s club volleyball team at UW-Whitewater, the journey continues, one game at a time.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Terhune, Arts & Recreation Journalist

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