Volleyball is a family affair for Alen Pajenk and Sara Hutinski
News from the National Federations
Ljubljana, Slovenia, May 6, 2019. Have you ever wondered what two Volleyball players can share except being brother and sister? With Alen Pajenk and Sara Hutinski the answer is easy – they are both playing as middle blockers, they are both enjoying successful club careers and they are both members of the Slovenian national team.
The story about Alen and Sara began like many others, by their parents being athletes. Sonja Pajenk was definitely a successful one. She was a high jumper and won no less than four national championship titles in the former Yugoslavia. People expected her kids would follow her footsteps and Alen, indeed, did. At first, he tried out many different sports, including Volleyball. However, when he turned 15, he dedicated himself to high jumping. Despite this, his career in athletics finished too early, due to significant problems with his back, which could have left him in a wheelchair in the worst case.
Alen decided to try with Volleyball once more, this time when he was 17, and he succeeded. Even to that level that he ended up with an Italian championship title in his pocket with Lube Banca Marche MACERATA back in 2012, under the guidance of the newly appointed head coach of the Slovenian national team, Alberto Giuliani. Alen is also very proud of the 3rd place he achieved in the CEV Champions League with Polish team JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel in 2014.
Sara is not that far behind. Although she is five years younger, she was the first to get involved in Volleyball. The coaches working at Nova KBM Branik MARIBOR soon noticed her talent and by the age of 16, she was already playing in the highest division of the national league – securing her first title in only her second season wearing the red-and-white uniform. She left Maribor in 2013 by signing her first professional contract with Czech Republic’s team Agel PROSTEJOV. Afterwards, Volleyball took her to France and Italy, and in 2018, she became a member of the 2018 CEV Champions League silver medallists CSM Volei Alba BLAJ of Romania.
The usual brother-sister rivalry was never the case with Alen and Sara, who have supported each other from the beginning, with Alen being Sara’s rock to lean on during her sports career. Alen, who does not have any problem with acknowledging his sister always had a better feeling for blocking, but at the same time characterises himself as a better spiker, has achieved a lot of success with the national team as well. Among others, he won a historic silver medal at the 2015 CEV EuroVolley in Bulgaria and Italy.
Sara, on the other hand, does not forget to mention that she is extremely proud of being a member of Slovenia’s team who secured a historic, first, CEV EuroVolley appearance in 2015, but she is still waiting for a breakthrough of Slovenia’s national team. She and her teammates will first try to give their best in the CEV European Silver League this summer, but the biggest aim is to qualify for the elimination round of the upcoming EuroVolley co-hosted by Turkey, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia.
While Alen at 33 still only thinks about Volleyball and wants to extend his career as much as possible, Sara, who will turn 28 in June, has other plans for the future, and they do not deal with Volleyball. She is the owner of no less than five dogs and her dream is to build a dog hotel. Alen loves dogs as well, but he prefers to sleep a little longer in the morning and to spend his free time playing video games or going outside to play football, basketball and beach volleyball with his friends.
Picture above: Sara Hutinski highlighting her brother Alen Pajenk on a picture she found while attending a training camp with the Slovenian national team at Kranjska Gora, which usually hosts the men's national team as well.
To smo mi v 2014/15 " ŽOK Braslovče"