Stanford males’s volleyball has a historical past of siblings taking part in on the staff collectively. In 1999, two pairs of siblings, the Palacios and Griffiths, have been even on the staff concurrently. On the time of this text’s publication, 23 pairs of siblings have performed for the Cardinal over the previous thirty years.
After greater than a decade with out a pair of brothers taking part in for the Cardinal males’s volleyball squad, when Kawika ’10 and Erik ’12 Shoji have been teammates, the roster now boasts one other pair of brothers: senior and freshman exterior hitters Will and Alex Rottman. Going into postseason play this week, the staff has an total assault share of .542 share, and Will leads the staff with a complete of 271 kills.
The brothers come from a household with a wealthy volleyball historical past. Alex and Will’s father, David, was himself a two-time All-American at UCSB, the place he was additionally teammates with present Stanford head coach John Kosty. David then went on to symbolize the U.S. on the Nationwide Crew, play professionally in France and compete on the AVP seaside volleyball tour. Will and Alex’s uncle, Steve, competed at USC and on the AVP Tour as effectively.
“It’s a extremely aggressive household,” Kosty mentioned. “But in addition there’s a extremely nurturing a part of their household too.”
Regardless of their father and uncle taking part in volleyball at a excessive stage, Alex and Will mentioned they by no means felt pressured to take up the game themselves. Nonetheless, they credit score their father for instilling a love for the sport early on.
“[My father] would at all times take me right down to the seaside at like seven within the morning again in Santa Barbara,” Will mentioned. “And I’d watch him mess around and that’s sort of how I received into it.”
Each Alex and Will are extremely athletic, having performed a wide range of sports activities rising up. Earlier than committing to volleyball in center college, Alex performed soccer, basketball and baseball. Will was additionally a faithful basketball participant, competing in each volleyball and basketball till the top of highschool. Whereas basketball was the primary sport he was obsessed with, Will determined by the point he was in center college (similar to his brother) to dedicate his athleticism to volleyball.
For the Rottman household, it’s a degree of delight to see the brothers play on a staff collectively. Alex and Will’s grandfather is a lifelong Stanford fan, who, in keeping with Will, involves all their video games. Their 20 or so cousins have additionally supported the brothers within the stands. However Will emphasizes the caring facet of his household, including that above every part, his dad and mom simply need him to be blissful.
Coach Kosty’s commentary
Though the brothers are each extremely aggressive, Kosty notes that “they’re two several types of gamers taking part in the identical place.” He describes Will as extra expressive and outgoing, whereas he has discovered Alex to be extra reserved. “However you’ll be able to see it in his eyes and the way he celebrates with the staff that he’s very aggressive,” Kosty mentioned of the freshman.
Regardless of Alex and Will’s contrasting personalities, Kosty doesn’t coach the 2 any in a different way, claiming that any viewers of practices wouldn’t even know that Alex and Will are brothers. The brothers spend time collectively, however don’t act as a unit separate from the staff.
Kosty additionally commented on the brothers’ relationship. “[It] stems from the competitiveness on the courtroom, to the household off the courtroom, to generally the dynamic of the household on the courtroom,” Kosty mentioned.
In Kosty’s phrases, the familial facet of Alex and Will’s relationship has helped each of them enhance as athletes. And whereas the staff in itself is a sort of household, having two precise members of the family collectively has introduced a newfound sense of help.
Enjoying on the identical staff
Though Will and Alex performed seaside volleyball collectively a couple of instances this previous summer time, and have peppered forwards and backwards rising up, they’ve by no means competed on the identical staff earlier than resulting from being two-and-a-half years aside in age. This present season marks the primary time.
For youthful brother Alex, Will’s presence has been largely useful in navigating his freshman yr as a volleyball participant.
“[Will’s] given me a number of tips about what I ought to and shouldn’t do. A whole lot of the freshmen need to determine it out for themselves,” Alex mentioned. “So by way of volleyball, it goes right down to the littlest issues like, pay extra consideration to your arm… or no matter it’s. It’s simply very useful.”
Having his older brother by his aspect as he enters the collegiate recreation has additionally been emotionally reassuring.
“I feel you’ll be able to go to your brother and speak about extra private stuff, is a giant factor. While you’re on the staff alone, you sort of simply have to determine stuff by yourself. In order that’s a giant benefit,” Alex mentioned. “Truthfully, if I’m feeling something emotional, or psychological that simply isn’t sitting proper with me. I can speak to him about it. And he’s gone by way of considerably the identical expertise.”
When requested about how he’s supporting Will, Alex believes it’s by way of his frankness.
“Yeah, I really feel like I will be tremendous candid with Will, as a result of I’m his brother. I will be tremendous straight up with him,” Alex mentioned. “The opposite guys generally tiptoe across the actuality generally. So perhaps I’ve helped him in that facet somewhat and sort of simply received straight to the chase.”
May even feels that the brothers have helped each other in preserving identities separate from volleyball and never letting their performances on courtroom outline them.
“[I]t brings me again to my roots somewhat bit and I really feel like all of us have associates and relationships on the staff and a few of my teammates are my closest associates and like they know me very effectively,” Will mentioned. “However nobody actually is aware of me like my brother and I’d say that’s true for me to Alex as effectively.”
Alex mentioned that he has loved seeing his brother’s position inside the staff dynamic.
“Will is tremendous fiery, and I like that about him. I positively say we’re completely different,” Alex mentioned. “I like staying composed and calm somewhat bit extra. However that being mentioned, I feel generally the fireplace will get out of me and we’ll trip.”
Alex and Will have been additionally capable of converse on one another’s particular skills exterior of volleyball. In response to Alex, Will is a really gifted singer. When requested to touch upon it, Will mentioned his brother introduced it up as a result of he’s very dangerous at it.
When requested to share Alex’s abilities, Will replied that his youthful brother has a expertise for dancing, particularly stomach dancing. He additionally mentioned that Alex is a robust baseball participant.
However going into the MPSF Event and postseason play, which opens on Wednesday for 3-seed Stanford (13-12, 6-6 MPSF) in opposition to 6-seed USC (10-15, 3-9 MPSF), each Will and Alex are grateful to have their brother alongside them. As Will put it, “you’re not gonna lose your self when you’ve got a sibling on.”