Sand volleyball player Chelsey Tekavec is aiming to return strongly from injury

Chelsey Tekavec hopes to lead the Sand volleyball team to Nationals this season


Max Jackson

Photo by Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Josue Simplice, Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic sand volleyball player Chelsey Tekavec has been without the game she loves for two years. She sat out for a year after transferring from Valparaiso University due to NCAA transfer rules and missed  another year because of an ankle injury that she suffered during a tournament in February of 2014.

“She pretty much was at every practice, went everywhere with us, but she wasn’t able to play, so I know that was really hard for her,” said her competition partner Mandy McIntosh.

Sand volleyball has been at FAU for three years. It is a variation of indoor volleyball, played outside on beachy terrain. It is a separate competitive team from the indoor volleyball team and plays from February to April, while indoor plays from August through November.

Photo by Max Jackson | Photo Editor
Photo by Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Because of her prior college experience and the skills she brings to the 14-member team, Tekavec will have an important role this season.

“She’s a defender, she’s very scrappy, she’s one of those players who goes through the wall to dig a ball,” said head  coach Capri Grotowski.

With Tekavec back in the fold, Grotowski at the helm and  courts, the team will seek to improve from their 3-12 record last season.

Her return is viewed as a benefit by her teammates and coaches due to her leadership.

“I know it means a ton to have her back and we really need her,” said McIntosh.

Tekavec, a communication major, came to FAU in 2013 after speaking with the Owls head indoor volleyball coach Fernanda Nelson and falling in love with the campus because of the scenery of South Florida. With FAU playing on their new home courts this season, both Tekavec and the the team are ready to impose their will at home.

“We’re hoping to go to Nationals in Alabama this year and shock the world,” said Tekavec about this season.

Grotowski, who is in her first year as the new head coach, expects Tekavec to shine this season and lead by example with her stoic demeanor on the court.

“She’ll be on our top three team, and we’re looking for her and Mandy to pull out some wins for us this season,” said Grotowski about Tekavec. “She’s a quiet leader, she leads by example and comes out here and does what’s expected of her and sometimes above and beyond that,” Grotowski said.

Photo by Max Jackson | Photo Editor
Photo by Max Jackson | Photo Editor

While Tekavec is serious on the court, her off-court demeanor is a stark contrast. She has earned the playful nickname “Chonce” by her teammates and coaches because of her tendency to burst into song unexpectedly.

“She said she’s better than Beyonce when it comes to singing,” said Grotowski. “She’s quite a goofball and fun to have around.”

Andrea Galinis, a teammate of  Tekavec, shares that same sentiment. “Chelsey might be one of the weirdest people to be around to be honest, but she’s actually hilarious and a really fun time and I really enjoy playing with her.”