From Vancouver with love
Dana Musil is a two-time youth-league national champion, her father played in the National Hockey League for 14 years, and it's quite possible that someone replaced her right arm with a cannon.
Standing 5-feet 9-inches, Musil is the freshman phenom who has been putting up impressive numbers for the volleyball team this season. Off the court, the outside hitter may not be very imposing, but her presence on the court causes her opponents to shake in fear.
Although she is young, Musil's journey to Buffalo has been a long one. Her father, Frantisek Musil, was an NHL defenseman, so she spent the first eight years of her life moving from city to city.
After her father retired from professional hockey, the constant travel came to a halt. Her family moved across the Atlantic Ocean to the city of Jihlava in her father's homeland of the Czech Republic.
It is hard for most children to move across town, so having to live in three different countries can be challenging. Musil, however, is proud of where she's been.
"It was interesting," Musil said. "Europe has a totally different culture; everything is different there. Even Canada was different than America, so growing up in three cultures is very interesting, and I don't think many people have the opportunity to experience that."
In fact, Musil first started playing volleyball in Europe. She played tennis growing up, but after eight years the sport began to lose its appeal. It was at this time that her life would change with just one conversation.
A friend of Musil knew she didn't enjoy playing tennis, so she encouraged Musil to come out to a volleyball practice. The rest was history.
Musil believed that volleyball would be a great fit for her because she really wanted to get involved with a team sport. Her decision to switch sports may have been difficult, but her parents' support and encouragement made the transition easy.
"My parents said that I could do whatever I want," Musil said. "I could play the violin or the piano, learn about art or any fine language. But they won't let me sit at home and be a couch potato."
Even though Musil may not have possessed the same talent in hockey as her father and brothers, she did enjoy unbelievable success in volleyball during her time spent in the Czech Republic. ← Where's the connection? -DS
In only four years, she won her first national championship with her U-17 team. The next year, Musil repeated as a national champion with her U-19 squad.
At the beginning of last year, after living over a decade in the Czech Republic, Musil's family moved once again, this time to Vancouver.
Musil helped her high school team reach provincials (State Championship) for the first time in 17 years. Her club team, FVVC Vancouver, ranked fifth in Canada. During her time with the team, Musil had the opportunity to compete in tournaments held in the United States.
It was at one of these tournaments that Musil found out about the up-and-coming volleyball program in Buffalo.
"It was at a tournament in Las Vegas," Musil said. "After we played our last game, we were all in a van and my coach asked me what grades I had. I said pretty decent for a foreign student. He asked if I liked cold weather. I said I didn't mind snow; I love snow."
Her coach had been talking to Bulls head coach Todd Kress about the possibility of Musil playing Division 1-A volleyball in Buffalo.
When Musil eventually made the decision to come to Western New York, those around her could not help but worry about the weather in her future home. She didn't believe anyone until she got a chance to experience it for herself.
That stubbornness was the best thing that could of happened to Buffalo volleyball. Her decision to play for the Bulls has been exciting for everyone close to the program, including Kress.
"We felt very fortunate when she decided to come to Buffalo," Kress said. "She was highly recruited coming out of Canada and she had a look at some other programs. She's a great kid and steady player who brings a lot to the court, both the front row and back row."
Now that she is in Buffalo, Musil is making major contributions in her first year. She is one of five freshmen that Kress has brought in, including Kelly Svoboda, Christine Fritsche, Dani Reinert and Carissa McKenna.
The success that these girls have had this season has opened some eyes on campus.
What is in store for the future? Musil's goal, along with the team's, is to build the Bulls into a Top 25 program. They still have a way to go, but with Musil's record of accomplishment, it can't be long until she helps the program reach levels it has never seen before.
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