Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


What is your favorite building to study in?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Off the Field: Men’s Club Volleyball Team

Hayley Niewohner
Third-year AJ Appicelli going for a hit at practice.

It is an element of Winonan history at this point, and it is still going strong – the Men’s Volleyball Club is home to serious talent and a longstanding culture of success.

Men’s Volleyball Club advisor Felino Pascual recalled that the club’s history spans 31 years, starting from simple roots in the year 1992. That was the year that Pascual was first hired by Winona State. Only four years later, he became the advisor, a position he has held ever since.

When asked about how the club was brought about, he related that “I believe it was Connie Mettille who helped start the club. It was formed by guys who had played in high school in Illinois and Wisconsin. These guys were still very much interested in playing in college and created a club to do just that.”

The Men’s Volleyball Club works hard to keep its membership numbers high. Its membership includes high school talent and fresh new members interested in taking up the sport.

Story continues below advertisement

Club president AJ Appicelli and treasurer Ethan Smith, both third years, shared some of the things they do to help newcomers succeed.

Smith said the best thing was simply giving them plenty of opportunities while Appicelli specified how it could be beneficial they hope to keep an extremely positive attitude, supporting them when they are doing well and providing guidance when necessary.

Smith himself is something of a newcomer success story and he remembers starting out fondly.

“Even if you do not know volleyball, all the guys are chill,” he said. “We just become friends really quickly, and it makes it feel like family. You really learn a lot through that.”

This year, Appicelli states that they are taking the competition very seriously. Appicelli has already selected two teams to compete this year. An “A” team with eight players and a “B” team with eleven.

They compete in the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference with 26 other Division II teams. To prepare for the tournaments, Appicelli stated that the team will work hard on the fundamentals of volleyball, but would like to prioritize serving, receiving, and blocking. They hope to get in plenty of scrimmages to prepare for the real competition.

However, to Appicelli, success in volleyball means prioritizing having fun. Winning is important, but because it is a club sport, a large priority for the leadership team is just assuring that the team can have fun.

Success to Smith is simply making a name for themselves. “In the past, other teams would not take our team seriously,” he said. “And now they are starting to – teams from Wisconsin are actually starting to take us seriously.”

As Appicelli shared, having a fun time is an important part of the WSU Men’s Volleyball culture. He recalled that his favorite memory on the team was the Nationals trip to Phoenix his first year.

He also fondly remembers hosting the club fundraiser tournament in the fall. He explains just how enjoyable it was to watch not only friends and family, but other teams come together to support his team.

The club’s first tournament will be on October 14th, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin against 12 other teams.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Hayley Niewohner
Hayley Niewohner, Sports Photographer
Hayley Niewohner (She/her/hers) is a Sports Photographer for the Winonan and started in the fall of 2023. Niewohner is a first year at Winona State University majoring in Nursing. This is Niewohner's first year in anything for publication, but she has many years of experience taking pictures during sporting events in high school.
In addition to working for the Winonan, Niewohner is a Desk Assistant in Sheehan hall.
Outside of the Winonan, Niewohner loves spending time with friends outdoors, lifting in the gym, trying out local coffee shops, going to concerts, and watching sporting events. She also enjoys cooking, making chocolate, and doodling.

Comments (0)

All The Winonan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *