For the last two seasons, the men’s volleyball team was one of the few UC Santa Cruz National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) teams to advance past multiple rounds of the NCAA tournament. While the Slugs may be celebrating success, their budget is not.
“Fundraising is the basis of our program,” said middle blocker Branden Torado. “Our school doesn’t really support us in a financial sense and we have to pay for everything. If we don’t pay, we don’t play.”
The team will hold their first fundraiser of the year on Nov. 21 at Sawasdee by the Sea, 101 Main Street, from 8 p.m. to midnight. All ages are welcome and tickets are available at the door for $10. The event will feature appetizers and a DJ. Half of ticket sales and 20 percent of bar profits will go straight to the Slugs to pay for flight, hotel and food costs at various tournaments, including trips to New York and Massachusetts this season.
“We travel the most of any Division III men’s volleyball team and that is not an overstatement,” Torado said.
Head coach Todd Hollenbeck, described by Torado as a coach who “puts his heart and soul into the program,” came up with this fundraising idea as an alternative to more common events like Woodstock’s night or beach volleyball tournaments.
“Not many schools will travel out here to play us, so we always have to travel,” Hollenbeck said. “There is never a year where we haven’t traveled at least three times. The NCAA pays us to travel to its tournament, but at the same time we have to pretty much fundraise four times our budget.”
More fundraisers by men’s volleyball and many other UCSC NCAA and club sports will pop up throughout the year. The letter-writing campaign to friends, family and alumni produces a majority of the team’s donations, Hollenback said.
With the team’s expected continuing success — as Hollenbeck and Torado predict — a trip to Pennsylvania for the NCAA championship tournament might mean extra fundraising for the Slugs. But the fundraising is well worth a shot at the NCAA trophy.