April 1, 2013
CATCHING UP W/ A COOG
Volleyball Great Lucy Charuk Continues Career Overseas
To follow Lucy's success overseas: www.lucyjune13.wordpress.com
Houston Volleyball great and former All-American Lucy Charuk has been able to continue her volleyball career after signing a contract to play professionally overseas in Croatia.
"I am very thankful for the opportunities playing professional volleyball has given me," Charuk said. "I realize that I am very fortunate and do not take any of it for granted."
Charuk, a Tswwassen, British Columbia native, enjoyed tremendous success in her time with the Cougars and is looking to continue that success in the professional ranks.
In her time at Houston, Charuk compiled 1,250 kills and 526 blocks from her middle blocker position, and was named Conference USA First Team All-Conference three times. She also was a three-time AVCA All-American and a three-time Midwest All-Region honoree. She ranks first all-time in the record books with a .361 hitting percentage, while ranking second in total blocks per game (1.24), block assists (440) and total blocks (526). She also holds the single-season records in block assists with 140 in 2008 and a .387 hitting percentage in 2011.
How has the overall experience been playing in Croatia?
"My overall experience in Croatia has been amazing. The country is beautiful and it has been a great opportunity for me to continue to play volleyball. I love being able to train every day and continue to grow as a player. I also love all of the new experiences that go along with being in a foreign country. The people here are very laid back and the city operates on a different pace than anywhere I've lived in America."
What has been the best part about playing overseas?
"The best part about playing overseas has been traveling. During some off time in the season, I was able to travel to places where I would have never thought to visit like Bosnia and Montenegro as well as see the most popular and famous areas of Croatia. Playing overseas has allowed me to see parts of the world I may not have ever been able to. I am very thankful for the opportunities playing professional volleyball has given me."
What has been the biggest challenge playing overseas?
"The biggest challenge of playing overseas is adapting to the cultural differences. The differences are not only the language, but also the food you eat every day, interactions with teammates, daily life, and business culture. The atmosphere at practice in Croatia is completely different from what I was used to. I also had to adapt to not having all of the same things that I had in America. I have learned to live without certain comforts like constant access to the Internet, basic cable, a dryer for laundry (everything gets dried on racks or clothes lines), and my favorite foods."
What does it take to get where you are?
"Love for what you do. Every day you need to make decisions to help you with your goals. Since I started playing college volleyball, it was my goal to play professionally. I didn't see an end at the end of my college career; I saw every season as a chance to get better for what was next. I am always looking to the future and what lies next for my career. Even during my last semester of school when I was not on any volleyball team, I still trained everyday with the goal and desire of getting back to competing. I have long term goals of playing professionally and for the national team, for me there is no alternative. I have played with girls who have the talent to play overseas, but only do so for a season because the opportunity presented itself initially then their lack of desire and love of volleyball made them drop out."
What is one piece of advice you would give somebody who wants to play overseas after college?
"You have to love the sport. You are going to have good days and bad days and through it all you have to love what you are doing. Another piece of advice that I would give someone playing overseas is to get out and experience the city you are living in. The best part of playing overseas besides the sport is experiencing new things every day."
What would you tell somebody overseas if they were interested in playing for University of Houston volleyball program?
"The University of Houston is a great community of people who want you to succeed. There is so much support from coaches, administration, professors and the president of the university--it is unbelievable. The volleyball program at UH has a rich history of great players, coaches, and accomplishments, which you can be proud of. Also, the program is always changing to better the players and the overall experience in athletics. Oh and the city is great too, that is if you are into big cities with hundreds of things to do and places to explore that even after 5.5 years I haven't done or seen them all."
What is next for you? Where do you hope to go after Croatia?
"This summer I plan to try out for Team Canada again. I was on the team in 2011 and Team Canada will be participating in several international tournaments this summer. After this summer I plan to continue my professional career overseas. I would like to play somewhere outside of Croatia next season to have a completely new experience playing volleyball."
Written by: Roman Petrowski, Athletics Communications Student Assistant