It’s not hard to find Markus Trence when he’s on the court.
For anyone who’s ever watched him live, it seems as though the Queen’s outside hitter is always in the action.
Unfortunately, after this season, fans will have to get used to not seeing Trence in the lineup. Now in his sixth year as a member of the men’s volleyball program — he sat out a season due to injury — Trence is currently in his final season of eligibility and will graduate at the end of the school year.
Looking back on his time here, Trence said his Queen’s volleyball experience has only gotten better over time.
“This year has definitely been the most enjoyable,” Trence said in an interview with The Journal about his final season.
Through his time with the program, Trence’s progression has been a slow and sometimes frustrating process. In his first season, he only played in seven games. Despite spending most of his time on the bench, he remained dedicated to what he called “one of the best programs in Ontario.”
In his second season, Trence came off the Gaels’ bench to play in 13 games, and in his third year, he earned his way into the starting lineup. After seeing the Gaels finish with an 8-11 record in the season prior, the team improved with the outside hitter in the starting lineup to a 12-8 record and earned berth into the OUA playoffs.
Unfortunately, injuries followed. In the first month of his fourth year, Trence suffered from a herniated disc in his spine, leaving his left leg numb and his body unable to play competitive volleyball for an entire season.
“I felt really strong and had such a physical summer [leading up to the season],” Trence said. “[I]t gave me perspective on how much I love the game and how much I want to get back on the court.”
Refreshed and excited to play again, Trence came into the 2016-17 campaign with visible tenacity. As a starter in 16 of Queen’s 18 games, Trence finished the season first in the OUA in total attacks, second in most kills and third in points.
This year, however, Trence’s focus has shifted slightly. Trence joined the outdoor education program prior to the season starting at Queen’s teacher’s college, forcing him to battle between academic and athletic priorities. This year, his education has taken more of a precedent over volleyball, making his role with the team less hands-on.
“This year has been a little bit different — I’m one of the older guys this year but I haven’t been as present as I have been in previous years,” Trence explained. “The emphasis has been on school.”
Choosing between the two wasn’t an easy call, according to Trence.
“There was definitely times when I was thinking practically and volleyball was taking such a toll on my body and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can pursue this,’” he said.
Recently, things have changed. The opportunity to do both volleyball and school post-graduation has become a legitimate option. Though he doesn’t currently have a concrete plan, Trence is intent on being able to teach while pursuing a professional volleyball career; most likely in Europe if he stays healthy through the remainder of the season.
“I feel like if I don’t play professional volleyball I’ll regret it,” Trence said.
Looking at the future of the team without him, Trence has complete faith in the young and talented roster. Of the team’s 17 players, 12 are in their first or second years, proving to Trence that age is but a number.
“The guys have so much knowledge they share so I like to lean on them … it’s great,” Trence said.
As for the emotions that come with the end of a career, Trence said he’s simply trying to focus on the tail end of the regular season and playoffs.
“Give it a couple more games and maybe we’ll get a little emotional.”
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