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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Volleyball

Middle blocker Charuk propels volleyball team


Lucy Charuk prefers to play on the front lines on the court, and it's led to her being the team leader in kills. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Middle blocker Lucy Charuk is off to a quick start this season for the Cougars. Making three consecutive all-tournament teams, she is an important presence  for the Cougars.

She ventured into sports by playing badminton and basketball in high school, but found her passion and skill set on the volleyball court.

“In 9th grade, I was picked last for the team,” Charuk said. “I didn’t get serious until 11th grade and senior year.” 

A native of Tsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada, Charuk never intended on attending college in America.

After recruiting attempts by other schools such as the University of Portland, Rice, Ole Miss and University of Iowa, Charuk decided on UH. The ultimate decision-maker was that she has family that lives in Sugar Land, and is a regular visitor to the area. Frequent visits made her fond of the city. 

“There’s a lot more pride in sports in the United States than in Canada, more emphasis on the athlete, and a lot more competition,” Charuk said. 

Although Charuk tried her hand at basketball, she excelled on the volleyball court. With her jump float serve, along with her power hitting and blocking, she strives to be all over the court. 

“I love being in the front. Front row, all over,” Charuk said. “I love being able to hit, and I love blocking. Those are my two favorite things to do on the court.” 

Charuk is a leader on and off the volleyball court. As  one of three team captains, one of Charuk’s biggest jobs is keeping the team’s spirits high even when the scoreboard is not in their favor.

“One of the biggest things is getting the team fired up; it’s not so much of me doing all the work, it’s working to get everybody else to pick it up. That’s probably the hardest part about being a leader on the team,” Charuk said.

Bill Walton resigned after leading the program for 24 seasons, leaving new head coach Molly Alvey to take over the program. Charuk said there was a brief adjustment period, but she has grown comfortable with Alvey. 

“If she sees that I am having a bad day she will check up on me. It’s cool getting a text message from coach, it’s nice to know she cares,” Charuk said.  “She’s pretty intense on the court, and very particular about how she wants things to be done.”

“It was a tough transition getting a new coach; she’s got a lot of things done, the volleyball program has more awareness now, and overall it’s been great.”

Charuk intends to continue her volleyball career after college and has Olympic aspirations.

“I am in no rush to get out of the volleyball world. I want to either play professionally in Europe or Puerto Rico somewhere, or be involved with the Canadian National Team for sure,” she said.


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