Volleyball. Real Estate. Machovec's careers cross paths at Georgia College

Nov. 10—Currently, Rachel Machovec isn't making any money in the real estate game.

As a volleyball player at the NCAA Division II level, she's not raking in Name, Image, Likeness deals.

Machovec has endured the injuries, the operations, the pandemic, coaching changes, and she regrets not one bit of the path she's taken in athletics and building towards her future.

At 5 p.m. at The Centennial Center Saturday, Machovec will play her final regular season volleyball match for Georgia College & State University against the school with which it all started, Flagler College. Between the two institutions, Machovec amassed one of the best Peach Belt Conference careers ranking in the top 10 all-time in total kills (1,222) going into the Nov. 9 match at USC-Aiken.

Machovec also owns real estate licenses in both Florida and Georgia. She's had a full-time job before during her time as a college student, one that wasn't too her liking, and this year she is working part time at the Lake Oconee office of Berkshire Hathaway RPA Realty in Greensboro.

At the same time, in the fall of 2023, Machovec is playing her sixth season of college volleyball. That's kind of a misleading statement, for two of those six seasons only lasted 13 games total for her. That's where the injuries and COVID-19 enter the story.

"A day for my life varies quite a bit," she said. "I am a real estate agent ... only doing that part time right now. As soon as I am (graduated) in December, I am going to do that full time. As I am doing all of my training, all of the real estate requirements with post licensing, I am also taking my three classes of master's in secondary education."

For most graduate students, it's just two classes in a semester. Machovec is doing three in order to play volleyball for the Bobcats.

Much of her typical day depends if she is going to the Greensboro office. She will leave Milledgeville at 8 a.m. and be in a meeting from 9-11. After that, she gets with her broker to go to an event, a learning session or a new listing for the next hour or two. Then it's back to Milledgeville, eating, homework and volleyball practice.

It's much more relaxing on the non-Greensboro days.

"I can do real estate from my computer," said Machovec. "Most of the time it's calls ... creating documents for people."

The classes are also via the computer. She said her school work isn't necessarily "harder" than what she's had before, but involves more work. She is reading 1,000 pages and writing about the work in those pages each week.

Machovec graduated from Mill Creek High School in Hoschton in 2018 (a class of about 900, and Machovec knows about 20 of them) and joined the Flagler volleyball program in St. Augustine, Florida. In that first season, she only played in six matches, and she was playing with limited ability due to injury.

"That was hard to get through," said Machovec. "We decided I would need to have surgery to be able to play again. It was an arthroscopic labrum repair with a cartilage repair as well. It was a different labrum tear ... mine tore from the back, so it's called a slap tear. I don't know what the difference is."

The labrum is in the shoulder near the rotator cuff, and what does a volleyball player use more than the arms?

"When I was playing (my first year) I was only able to tip and roll shots," the 6-1 outside hitter said. "I couldn't physically hit, it hurt so bad."

So Machovec was eligible for a medical redshirt, which she said is technically what she is taking in 2023. Things were much better for her in 2019 as she played in 33 matches and recorded her career-high with 319 kills (though she is at 318 this season with two matches to go). Machovec has also recorded more than 300 digs in three of her seasons, including 334 in 2019.

For college volleyball, it was two seasons in one calendar year in 2021. Thanks to COVID-19, the fall 2020 season was pushed to the spring of 2021 with a shortened schedule of only conference matches, but Machovec only took part in seven. She tore ligaments in and stress fractured her ankle.

Machovec recovered well enough to play 26 matches for Flagler in the fall of 2021 and had 230 kills and 254 digs. That was her last season for the Saints as she transferred to Georgia College & State University to play for coach Gretchen Krumdieck. Her 2022 season was one granted by the NCAA to all student-athletes for what was taken away by the pandemic.

"It was a hard decision," said Machovec about continuing her career on the court. "Having my parents close to Georgia College, that made it a lot easier (they live in Morgan County). It wasn't like I was moving anywhere.

"Before I decided to play volleyball more, I started a full-time job in the sales industry. I wasn't really in love with it. I just needed a change. It was an easy decision to come here in general, but it was hard to leave Florida. I lived at the beach."

And developed a love for a different kind of volleyball.

She arrived at Georgia College & State University with two years eligibility, so she decided to make the most of it while pursuing that master's degree. But she was faced with another decision. In 2022, Machovec had 265 kills and career-highs in digs with 341 and aces with 40 in 28 matches to become All-Peach Belt First Team for the second time.

During the offseason, Krumdieck left Georgia College to return home to Ohio. It left Machovec less than excited about that sixth season because she credits the former coach for bringing her to the Bobcats.

"(Director of Athletics Wendell Staton) kept assuring me that he was going to find a great coach for us, that he would continue to improve this program," said Machove. "He helped me keep my energy up for my sixth season."

And Machovec has been producing for new coach Abigail King with the 318 kills and 313 digs, both team-leading totals, to go with 34 more aces.

But why also throw a responsible job like real estate agent in there?

"There is so much to learn, and usually when you start, for the first three to four months, you don't make any money," she said. "It's very frustrating. You are just learning the business, the tricks and how to talk to people. My aspect was if I'm not going to make any money for the first three to four months, why don't I do that and learn while still playing volleyball. Once I hit that December mark, I know what I'm doing. I don't have to follow my broker around anymore. I can do things on my own."

Machovec became licensed in Florida in July, and she was soon able to transfer that to Georgia and have both. She still has a heart for Florida and has some plans of her own for what is Senior Night at The Centennial Center.

"I'm going to be very emotional," she said. "I thought it was funny how it wound up, my second Senior Night being against the team I had my first Senior Night with. Two of the girls who are seniors at Flagler are some of my really good friends, so I got little gift baskets for them."

That's because she didn't get to go to their Senior Night, instead seeing a bunch of posts about it.

"Playing your old team, it gives you a little fire," said Machovec.

Is there any volleyball in future plans? She would like to be an assistant coach, and if she is able to return to Florida, she has her eyes on AVP beach volleyball. There was another Machovec in college volleyball, her twin sister Rebekah, who was her teammate at Mill Creek and Flagler, then played beach volleyball at Palm Beach Atlantic and Eckerd College.

"I love playing in open tournaments," she said. "I'd love to play beach, grass tournaments competitively. Sports in general have been a huge part of my life.

"In the summers (my sister and I) would compete in beach tournaments together. She was always better than me. She would always yell at me. That environment is so light-hearted, (two-on-two), there's music in the background, you got friends cooking out while you are playing. A more easy-going vibe.

"After six years, I think, 'I willingly throw my body onto the (hard) floor to save a ball. That's my goal in life.' I think it's silly. Who would do that?"

"I truly have been blessed with the career at Flagler and Georgia College. I continued my career here because I feel like I never reached my full potential ... at Flagler. I would say, if I had another year, I wouldn't take it. It's got to end some time."

After all, it's about time to get up at 7 and get to Greensboro five days a week.