Club volleyball at John Brown University opens its doors to include women as it begins its first official season as a co-ed team.
“Originally, it was a men’s club team,” Jocie Morgan, a sophomore co-president of team, said. “There wasn’t a place where anyone could go to play volleyball. Last year, it evolved into co-ed, and anyone who wanted to come could be a part. Since then, we’ve had more people.”
At their first practice, over 40 students signed up. Now, 25 to 30 players consistently come to practice every week.
“With co-ed, we don’t have a set team to play other schools.” Romello Williams, who has been a part of club volleyball since freshman year, said. “It is more us coming together and having fun playing volleyball. Girls do not hit as hard, and the net is a lot lower. It doesn’t change the intensity because everyone brings their all — does their best.”
Lindy Martin, co-president of the club, also said that the dynamics of the team change with the addition of women since men are more competitive while women are more coordinated.
With this competitive nature, the club hopes to attend more than one tournament by the end of the year. However, the lack of funds hindered the team from entering.
“The cost of playing in tournaments is really high,” Martin said. “We play a low-key league rather than playing a competitive one because the cost of membership is so expensive. Hopefully we will be able to raise money to do that [play competitively] this year — if not then for next year.”
Another issue that arises is that some of the tournaments are not co-ed.
“Some tournaments are co-ed like the community leagues,” Martin said. “There are some other competitive leagues that are not; then we’ll have to divide into a girls’ and a guys’ team.”
During a normal practice, the team splits to play scrimmage games. Then they do drills and play serving games to improve their skills and bring variety to practices.
“We really want to be able to welcome people into the team and to see the change of learning so that we create an actual team that can compete,” Martin said. “We can have practices and train people that want to learn how to play volleyball better and not go travel, while those that are competitive enough can go travel. It is a fun atmosphere of learning while still having that competitive side.”
A lot of people don’t know about the club due to its elitist nature of previous years. Although many members of the club have played volleyball in the past, the club is always open to new recruits or people who have never played.
The club is open to all different levels of skill in volleyball and a fun atmosphere to be in.
“We accept anyone that would come and play,” Williams said. “We’ll teach them if we need too.”
The club practices every Monday and Wednesday from 7-9 p.m.
“It is still really competitive while being fun and not having a big time commitment,” Martin said. “We are trying to change this year by making it open to people who are willing to learn and to get better while still being competitive.”