As the Cascades men’s volleyball team comes home from their second road trip of the month, third-year criminology student Dayton Pagliericci is midway through his second season as a middle on the team. Pagliericci talks about balancing athletics and his studies, his favourite moments with the team, and the team dynamics this season.
How did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing recreationally, just playing drop-in volleyball, and then I got into Abbotsford Drop-in League, which is a lot of ex-college players. That’s where I met Adam Chaplin, who’s on the team right now. He invited me out because, being 6’6, they said, “Why not, let’s give it a shot,” and it’s been like that ever since. It’s been a learning curve playing a sport that I never played in high school, or played when I was little or anything like that. I was more of a hockey / lacrosse player, but it’s been awesome. There’s a strong team environment in this sport, which I really enjoy.
What do you like about playing volleyball?
The sport part about it is great. I love how everybody has to come together. I’ve never played a sport that requires the whole team to be on at the same time. If it’s hockey or lacrosse, a single player can handle the whole team, but this is such a mental sport. I really enjoy it. I love playing a university sport, it’s great. I’ve loved being on a team ever since I could play sports. It’s just a great brotherhood you have on a team.
What are the team’s goals for the season?
Obviously, just like last year, it’s to go to nationals this year. So far, our season’s been looking good; the team’s looking good. I’m really proud of them, especially since in the past, UFV volleyball hasn’t been successful, and with our coach and our new players coming on to the floor, there’s a really good mental side to it. We believe that we can go all the way this year.
Are you planning on pursuing volleyball after you graduate?
No, I’m not actually. I thought this was a great opportunity to just play a different sport that I haven’t played and be with the guys. If there’s an opportunity that’s thrown my way, I’ll take it into consideration, but I’m not looking for it.
What other sports do you play?
I play lacrosse, hockey, I swim, I play baseball, and a little taekwondo; all that good stuff. Oh, and squash, I love squash — nice indoor sport. Gotta love the indoor sports.
What have been your favourite games playing with the Cascades?
Just recently, we played a five game set — games go up to five — and it was the last set, and it was just really cool to have to whole team together. I can’t stress enough how great it is, the brotherhood on this team. No matter what’s going on and what happens, we get our heads into it and we talk amongst each other and we push through it. Those are the kind of games that I live for, where everything says that you shouldn’t win, and then the guys stick together and you do win. It’s a really great feeling to have that, and that’s what I live for — that push that we all have, that drive. I like surrounding myself with people like that, and that’s all the guys that we have on the team this year.
How do you find time to balance your course load and athletics?
It’s my first year ever not working and I have to tell you, it’s night and day. It’s a lot easier to balance. I’m doing three courses right now. It’s tough for any kind of varsity athlete. The first years that I was at school, I didn’t play volleyball or any sports, and I thought, “Oh, these athletes get prime registration” and all that stuff, but they need it because they have to balance themselves. I’ve never been juggling so much in my life. I’ve lost relationships with it because you’re so busy with school and volleyball. You can’t give that time to the person. It’s tough. I respect varsity athletes, but also any student to be honest. We just go through so much hell.
You’re leading in the conference in blocks. How does that feel?
It’s a really great feeling. I don’t like to look into that stuff too much. You just focus really hard on the one game coming up. Stats are great to know, but it just makes me want to do better and better, especially since last year I wasn’t really good at blocking. That was my kryptonite pretty much. I was a good offence player, but defence was kind of iffy. So this year I’ve switched it around. I’m a little iffy on the offence, but hopefully stronger on the defence, which is a lot nicer. It’s a good recognition, it feels good, but I’m just going to keep pushing through it.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.