Sasha Karelov, sophomore, is all volleyball all the time. She calls the sport her “gateway, a destressor” from school and life.
“I never get sick of it; it’s all I know,” she explained.
Karelov plays for Triangle Volleyball Club, Raleigh’s best and most competitive private volleyball club. She will play for TVC’s 17s Black team this season, meaning she plays a year above her age group and on the most competitive level in that age group. For school, she is an outside hitter; for club, Karelov is a libero.
Throughout her six years of competing with TVC, Karelov has traveled as far as Reno, Nevada to play in regional, state and national tournaments. Each year, she says, her team has won its regional championship tournament and qualified for Junior Nationals, the biggest tournament for US and Puerto Rico volleyball teams of all age groups. Only the best teams in each region receive a bid to compete in Junior Nationals.
Though Leesville’s volleyball program does not have a stellar reputation, Karelov enjoys the team and playing in the school season. “It keeps me active so I don’t go several months without touching a volleyball,” she said.
After many years of intense practice and traveling for a single sport, many athletes burn out and quit. Not Karelov. “I work hard. Quitting now would be a waste.”
Quitting now would also be extremely detrimental to her future. Even as a sophomore, Karelov frequently receives letters from college volleyball coaches, her most noteworthy being Duke University. However, she wishes to play for an out-of-state school.