Slovenian volleyball player makes Y’s team stronger

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    By Jonathan Andrus

    From basketball to baseball Luka Slabe, tried every sport there was growing up. But he didn”t find one he loved until he tried volleyball.

    “Volleyball is big where I am from,” Slabe said. “It is right up there with basketball and soccer.”

    Coming from Ljubjana, Slovenia, Slabe said that he wanted to play volleyball while getting a good education at the same time. He decided BYU would be a good place to do both.

    Slabe didn”t get interested in volleyball until the eighth grade when his physics teacher, who played pro volleyball, approached him about it.

    “He started me out as a setter,” Slabe said. “But my vertical (leap) increased a lot over the summer so he moved me over to be an outside hitter.”

    It was here where Slabe excelled as a volleyball player. With this as a good foundation, he went on to play for several of club teams. He even had the opportunity to play as a youth for some of the senior national teams.

    When it came to choosing what school to play for Slabe did a lot of research. One of his coaches knew of BYU”s head coach Carl McGown and told Slabe about him. He was impressed with McGown”s Olympic coaching experience. Also, by looking on the Internet he found out BYU had won the national championship in 1999.

    Slabe is glad he chose to come to BYU.

    “Here I can stay focused,” Slabe said. “Had I gone to a place like California I may have gotten caught up in the party atmosphere. I like it here.”

    Coach McGown is also happy Slabe chose to come to BYU.

    “Like everyone else on the team, Luka works very hard,” McGown said. “But he has a very visible, burning desire to be good. He is very emotional and very vocal. You can really see he wants to be good.”

    Slabe”s wife, Tina, also plays volleyball. Slabe says she enoys living in Provo.

    “We both love it here,” Slabe said. “We really love the people.

    Tina is very supportive of all the things Slabe wants to accomplish. His future goals include finishing school and getting a degree in Athletic training. He says some day he would like to play for his country”s national volleyball team and play in the Olympics.

    For now Slabe”s goal is to win while he is at BYU.

    “I want to win a national championship,” Slabe said. “Anything less would be disappointing.”

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