The current players and alumni of the Stanford men’s volleyball team met up at the Stanford Beach Volleyball Stadium last weekend for some pickup volleyball and networking.
In head coach John Kosty’s words, the reunion tournament was established to give men’s volleyball alumni the chance to “come back and re-engage and feel like they’re continually part of our volleyball family.” It was also an opportunity for the current team “to network and to see the foundation of where our program comes from.”
For senior outside hitter Will Rottman, the reunion tournament is not only “a great networking opportunity, but it’s also amazing to hear [the alumni players’] stories.” The chance to play volleyball and build relationships with alumni, according to Rottman, “enhances the sense of community this program has.”
Like his older brother, freshman Alex Rottman, also an outside hitter, emphasized the community that volleyball brings. “Any time there’s any volleyball community event it’s always super cool because it’s such a small world and you can connect super easily.”
Another freshman, setter Theoren Brouillette, also liked meeting the alumni “and seeing where they’ve come from, what they’ve done and how they’ve used Stanford to benefit themselves.”
“It’s really fun reuniting with other players in my class, playing a bit of volleyball, catching up,” said Cole Paullin ‘20.
Athletes were especially excited about the alumni tournament this time around after facing a number of challenges in recent years. In July 2020, the men’s volleyball program and 10 other varsity teams were set to be discontinued. However, a reversal decision in May 2021 reinstated all 11 cut sports. Despite the reinstatement of men’s volleyball, the alumni tournament hasn’t occurred since 2019 due to COVID-19 concerns.
“It’s really cool to meet all the alumni, especially after our program being cut,” said junior setter Chris Kelly. “And then, it’s like now we’re able to come and play because our program’s back. We get to meet these people that otherwise we wouldn’t have ever met in our life.”
“I’m excited because a third of our team, six guys, are freshmen, new to the collegiate game,” Kosty said. “But we also have our elder statesmen who are veterans of the game now and understand what it takes to win at the level we want to win at. It’s a great blend, the team is a really cohesive, great culture.”
The volleyball players have many goals in mind, the most prominent one being a national championship. But besides the championship title, the athletes have a number of goals set out for themselves along the way. A goal for Alex Rottman is to “build a very strong connection with [the] team.” For Brouillette, it’s to “adjust to college play.” As for Will Rottman, an AVCA First Team All-American, his goal is for the team to reach its full potential.
“I want our guys to compete every point, every set, every match,” Kosty said.
The team will open fall competition this Saturday at USC before coming back and hosting the Movember Tournament on The Farm. Games will take place at Burnham Pavilion and Ford Center on Stanford campus.