By MADISON REID
Club sports are created to offer students who are not a member of a varsity program a chance at competing against students from other universities without the commitment of being a varsity athlete. The University of Mary Washington club volleyball is one of those quite competitive organizations. With playing for a club program at a smaller school like UMW, competing with schools that can be triple the size is very much a possibility.
This past weekend was club volleyball’s first tournament of the year, which was held at George Washington University. Their game was on Saturday, Sept. 24, where they won the whole tournament; the last game of the night being against GWU, the home team.
Each pool was made up of four teams, including UMW. In the past they have played mostly against schools like CNU, George Mason and West Virginia. Last year they have gone to the play-off pool. Club Volleyball has three sub teams that make up their organization; the red, practice team, grey, travel team B and blue, travel team A.
Sophomore Isabel Faust, environmental science major, was elated by the outcome of their first tournament. Faust is on the blue team and came to UMW from Baltimore, Maryland. She started playing volleyball in the eighth grade. “It’s the one sport that has individual and team aspects to it,” Faust said. Starting college in a new state knowing nobody, Faust decided to continue playing volleyball on the collegiate club level. Playing volleyball helps Faust to work out her energy in an exciting way. “It is a fairly easy sport to learn how to play,” Faust said. “All you need much to play is a ball and a net.”
Hannah Backe, sophomore anthropology and international affairs major, is new to club volleyball. Backe is from Charlottesville and got started with volleyball after playing with her cousin. Backe referred to it as something “[her] cousin and [her] could do together that [they] both loved.” Her first official experience was in the sixth grade, where she started on her school’s team. Volleyball has always been a way for her to meet new people and connect with them by, “playing a sport with other people who really enjoy it.” Backe took a hiatus from volleyball freshman year, but after the break she started to miss the feeling of camaraderie that volleyball gave her. She is currently on the club volleyball red team.
Kate Barry, junior environmental science and philosophy pre-law major, came to UMW club volleyball from Topsfield, Maryland. She started volleyball in the seventh grade, joining an ‘excels’ program that gave middle schoolers the opportunity to learn volleyball. “I fell in love with the fast paced and team oriented nature of the game,” Barry said.
However, coming from high school, where Barry played year round varsity sports, she did not think she wanted to continue with the sport. She decided to join the crew team her freshman year at UMW, but being on the team made her realize how much she missed her sport. Joining Club Volleyball has helped Barry, “hone in on [her] skills.”
The relaxed atmosphere of being on a club sport, mixed with the competitive structure of volleyball has provided Barry with a way to become a more consistent player. For her, being a part of club volleyball means having, “a built in support system and a reason to play her favorite sport three times a week.” Stating that there was nothing more she could ask for.
Club Volleyball is an organization that sets out to turn Mary Washington students into better athletes and gives them a healthy outlet to relieve the stress of school. Providing a sense of camaraderie alongside a competitive atmosphere has given many UMW students a way to get involved in the community.