Club volleyball makes impact on, off court

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Despite being overshadowed by the collegiate sports on campus, the Oswego State women’s club volleyball team has experienced great success on the court this season.

Even though they are a club team, they still follow all of the same rules and regulations as a collegiate volleyball team. The purpose of the team is to bring together girls who have experience and enjoy playing volleyball. Any girl can join the team at any point in time during the semester, but usually only 10 players are selected to play in the tournaments.

This year’s team consists of head coach Emily Thomas and a wide range of skilled team members that have played volleyball in high school or a community college.

Thomas described what makes for a key team player.

"My key players are the girls who consistently show up to practice and work hard," Thomas said. "The players that come to the gym because they just love volleyball."

The team practices twice a week in Swetman Gym and participates in three to four tournaments a semester. The team plays in the blue league for the NWVCL (Northeast Women’s Volleyball Club League) and are currently ranked 13th out of 23 teams. Some of the main schools that the team plays against are Syracuse, Cortland, Niagara, Cornell and Canisius. The top 12 teams make it into the championships at the end of the semester. At this point, the team has yet to make it that far. Even with the odds against them, coach Thomas feels that she has a strong team this year and that they have a good chance at making it to the championships for the first time. How well the team plays in the tournament at Cornell on Sunday, March 7, will determine if their goal can fully be accomplished.

Aside from competing, the team participates in many community service projects such as kidney walks, donating Christmas gifts to local children and most recently the adopt-a-platoon program, through which the team adopted a group of soldiers that are being deployed to Afghanistan in March. Coach Thomas and the team are very excited to be able to be involved in the program.

"The program is intended to have a group focused on taking care of the soldiers while they are overseas," Thomas said. "Our job will be to mail them letters and care packages with essential items like soap or shampoo; we will also send some things to brighten their day, like magazines or playing cards. Since the war has been going on for nearly 10 years some people have forgotten that these troops still need our support."

The fundraising has worked as a great team building activity for club volleyball and they have displayed this teamwork on the court all season.