Both from the Chicago suburbs, sophomore Kyle Ramey and senior Josh Martinez have more than their hometown in common. They are both on the men’s club volleyball team at IU.
Ramey started playing volleyball when he was 8 years old because his older sister played. He wasn’t on an organized team until his freshman year of high school. Martinez had always been a fan of volleyball since his first season in the fifth grade.
The IU men’s volleyball team consists of 33 players who divide themselves between two teams. The A team has 16 players and the B team has 17. Martinez said it's not hard to recruit new athletes, thanks to the Rec Fest that takes place during Welcome Week.
The Rec Fest allows the volleyball team to give tryout information to incoming freshman who might be interested in joining, and tryouts are held soon after. Martinez said that around 100 men come out to the first open gym and around half end up trying out.
“There are some schools that actually recruit, and we make fun of them,” Martinez said.
When tryouts are complete, the returning players will get a say in who will make the team. Not only do the returners choose the new team, but they are also responsible for the logistics of the season, such as organizing tournaments and managing dues and funds.
Martinez said the team is close off the court. Many of the teammates room together.
“It’s like a fraternity in itself,” he said. “Not cliques, but different groups. We all hang out and host events.”
Ramey said that during the club season, the team competes in three fall tournaments and around four to five spring tournaments. IU plays other Midwest teams such as University of Louisville and Michigan State.
Each team is divided into a pool and will play at least three games. After that, there are single-elimination rounds that determine the victor of the tournament.
To gain some extra practice, sometimes the men will train with the women’s volleyball team. They even have scrimmages with the women’s team where friendly trash talk is present.
“We’re trying to get more involved with the women’s team,” Martinez said.
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