Beach volleyball’s growth rate spikes after only one semester on campus

Club Sand Volleyball President Eric Reid blocks an attempted hit by a member of the club. William Barksdale | Multimedia Journalist

By Branson Hardcastle | Reporter

Baylor’s beach volleyball club started with only 10 members in March 2017, today they have over 40 members.

The club was started by three friends who wanted a place to play beach volleyball in a friendly atmosphere. Wheaton, Ill. junior Eric Reid, one of the co-founders, played volleyball in high school and played one year for the Baylor men’s club team. Reid, after he ended his tenure on the club team, realized he still wanted to play volleyball so he helped start the beach volleyball club. Canyon Lake junior treasurer Jake Merritt and Wayne, Ill. junior vice president Alyssa Strzalka were the other founding members of the club.

“I have known Alyssa since middle school and I have been friends with Jake since freshman year. All three of us love to play the sport so we got together to make the club,” Reid said.

After only having 10 members in the spring, the club has grown to around 45 this semester. At Late Night, more than 200 students signed up for its interest list.

Reid said he was worried the club was not going to have room to accommodate everyone who signed up.

“We were afraid we were going to have too many people this year. We have two courts and we are playing four on four. If we had two hundred people, we wouldn’t have enough room for everyone,” Reid said. “We have a good number of people right now, but we would love to have more sign up. 45 to 50 people is a great number for us to have in the club.”

The club practices every Monday and Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the McLane Student Life Center. Reid said that the majority of practice is playing against each other. He said that they spend some time teaching the fundamentals, but they mostly work on skills by playing one another.

Colleyville freshman Chris Novak said that team camaraderie takes precedent over wins and losses on the court.

“It is a group of people who are here to make good friends and have fun playing beach volleyball. When we aren’t playing, we are helping each other get better and improve. We care more about how everyone is doing rather than winning and losing,” Novak said.

Reid pushes this idea of community by making the members switch teams after each game they play. He said he wants to make sure everyone knows each other’s names and by doing so, it allows for players to build a stronger rapport by playing with different people each game.

Reid said he believes that beach volleyball is a great sport because it doesn’t take long to learn and the uncertainty that each point brings.

“You can be good at it even if are not a natural athlete or if you haven’t practiced for a long time. We have people who have never played on a sand court before, but now you can’t even tell. It is a lot of fun because you can pick it up really quick,” Reid said. “Beach volleyball is a little sloppier, but the chaos of the game is what makes it so much fun. You never know what is going to happen on each point.”

As the club continues to grow, it plans on joining in beach volleyball tournaments and joining a league.

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