TORONTO — Ryerson Rams men's volleyball alumnus Robert Wojcik has earned a spot on the national Senior B volleyball team.
Wojcik spent four years with the Rams, helping lead them to their second OUA silver medal in his graduating year. Wojcik finished his career: second in career points (1,087), second in career kills (914), and second in career service aces (106) to name just a few accolades.
Despite a successful career with the Rams, Wojcik has seen his fair share of adversity on his way to the national stage.
After graduating from Ryerson in the spring of 2016, Robert signed with Chemie Volley Mitteldeutschland, a professional team in Leuna, Germany who compete in the second-tier of the Volleyball-Bundesliga. While learning to live and acclimate to a new country, new culture and language, and developing chemistry with your teammates is tough enough on any athlete, Wojcik had another significant hurdle to overcome: his health.
"I left in the middle of July to go (to Germany). Unfortunately, two weeks after getting there, my left lung collapsed and I was hospitalized for two weeks," said Wojcik. "After discharge, I had recovery for three more weeks until I was able to half-return."
After a setback and a significant health scare, Wojcik was finally ready to get back to game action and realize his dream of playing professional volleyball.
His heart and mind may have been ready, but unfortunately for Rob, his body wasn't co-operating.
"By November 8th the lung collapsed again. After the second (collapse) it was decided that I should get a surgery to fully fix the problem for good," Wojcik recalled. "The second time I was hospitalized for two and a half weeks and after recovery we were in the second half of season and I began to really train and playing again.
Despite the rough start, the year ended out great for Wojcik and his club, as they took home the league championship for the German second division.
With a clean bill of health and a championship season in his back pocket, Wojcik returned to Canada and attended the open tryouts for the team.
"I tried out for the team after feeling at my peak performance and made it," he said.
Led by University of Winnipeg Wesmen head coach Larry McKay, Wojcik and his 13 teammates are all past or present U SPORTS/CIS athletes.
"It was a really exciting moment to know that I would be able to represent Canada," Rob reflected. "It was also so exciting to be able to know the kind of training I'd be getting, leading up to the tournament!"
Wojcik believes his recent success was significantly influenced by his time as a Ram.
"My time at Ryerson largely helped me get to this point. Those four years developed all the fundamentals I needed to perform at the higher level," Wojcik said. "A huge shout out goes out to Dr. Ivan Joseph and Stephanie White for always supporting the men's volleyball program, my coaches throughout my Rams career: Mirek Porosa, Dustin Reid, Matt Harris, and everyone else (involved) who have made the Ryerson athletic program what it is today."
The Senior "B" team has been training in Gatineau, Que. in preparation for the 2017 Senior Pan Am Cup, which will be held in Gatineau at Centre Robert-Guertin from July 25-30. The tournament will feature countries such as the U.S., Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and several others. For more information, visit www.volleyball.ca.