Men’s Volleyball: Can you dig it?


Lily Middleton

Sophomore outside hitter Cade Nakao gets ready to pass his teammate’s serve during a scrimmage drill on Jan. 24 inside of Langton Hall. The Men’s Volleyball team hopes to take a step in the right direction towards inclusivity of a national sport.

Audrey Anderson, Sports Contributor

As winter progresses and the air becomes painstakingly cold, community interest in sports has now switched from fall sports like football and soccer to winter sports like basketball and gymnastics. 

Everyone is talking about the exciting beginning of the women’s gymnastics season and the rollercoaster of wins and losses for the men’s basketball team. What’s not being talked about is the electrifying start to the men’s volleyball season.

In Oregon, men’s volleyball is virtually nonexistent, being overshadowed by other sports and the more commonly known women’s volleyball season, which takes place during the fall. Most have yet to learn that a men’s volleyball season occurs during winter and spring, with games starting in early January and ending in late May. 

The Men’s Volleyball Club at Oregon State is stepping in the right direction toward inclusivity of a sport played around the world. The Men’s Volleyball Club hopes to expand the small community by allowing those to play the sport they love or to try something new. 

Kevin Sabbe, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering and club leader of the OSU Men’s Volleyball Club said, “I wish there were more men’s volleyball groups in Oregon. As much as we try to push it, it just doesn’t exist.” 

The volleyball community in Oregon has struggled for the past 50 years trying to make the sport as popular as it is in other states, including California and Hawaii.

The OSU Men’s Volleyball Club is a student lead organization that gives members of the Oregon State community a chance to have fun out on the court and be a part of a tight-knit community of people passionate about the underloved sport. They welcome all community members and invite those with various skill levels, ages and majors to join, expressing that each club member is a pivotal part of the team.

Jasper Delasanta, a freshman majoring in electrical and computer engineering, began playing in early high school with his close friends who encouraged him to join. 

Enamored by the sport, Delasanta actively searched for a college that offered the opportunity to play volleyball competitively, landing on Oregon State and joining the club.

“There is no reason not to join,” Delasanta explained. “It is a lot of fun, and I enjoy playing tournaments and hanging out with the team.”

The club consists of two teams. There is an A team and a B team, which both travel to locations and compete in tournaments. The A team participates in nationals and even travels to places such as San Diego. The club also offers a practice team for those who want to learn more about volleyball, develop their skills and have fun playing an exhilarating game. 

The club gets together three times a week, meeting on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The practice goes from 7:45 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 6:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sundays. The practice consists of a multitude of drills and scrimmages among the multiple teams. 

The OSU Men’s Volleyball Club acknowledges that it may be intimidating to join a sport you have never played before and take a chance on the club. 

Still, fifth-year mechanical engineering major Simon Lipson Criswell explained, “Although going in and seeing how much better the people were than me was a pretty big shock, it’s been great to see my growth while on the team.” 

Criswell played his whole life recreationally but only started to be coached once he joined the Oregon State club team.

Sabbe confirmed that the club was a place for support and companionship.

“It is very much a social experience as it is a professional experience,” he clarified. “It is more about finding the right team than finding the best team.” 

The club hopes to promote unity throughout the community and allow others to find a safe environment that is welcoming to all while still providing a good source of exercise.

Cade Nakao, a sophomore majoring in biology, agreed with the ideals of companionship, finding a “second home” and a welcoming community. 

“It has been a great experience to be a part of the team, and I am very thankful for the guys,” Nakoa commented. “Everyone is super motivated to improve their skills and are incredibly supportive.” 

The members of the club cheer on as their team members play, yelling in excitement after a killer spike or outstanding dig and high-fiving each other even when a mistake is made.

The club members not only push each other to be better athletes but also push each other to be better community members. Criswell explained, “I was able to grow a lot as a leader.” 

As the club is student-led, community members step up to take charge and create an inviting and exciting environment. Decisions are made by the team and the leading members. 

Criswell stated, “It gets tricky to make some of the decisions ourselves, but ultimately we make the best decisions for the club.” 

Lead members of the club claimed to have learned essential skills in decision-making and leadership, applying such skills to their daily lives and education.

The club just recently held its first tournament of the season at Oregon State in the upper gyms of Dixon Recreation, where they faced off against teams of the Pacific Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.

Some teams they faced included Boise State University, Washington State University, Portland State University, Gonzaga University and rivals of the Beavers, the University of Oregon.

The Oregon State Men’s Volleyball Club will compete in their second tournament on Feb. 4-5 at the University of Washington, where they will put all their hard work and emotions on the court.

With community interest now pointed towards winter sports, the Oregon State Men’s Volleyball Club encourages all to take part in the exciting and rewarding experience of volleyball by supporting the team at upcoming tournaments, playing volleyball with a group of friends or joining the volleyball club and being part of the camaraderie and community first hand.

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