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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

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Volleyball behind Mills Hall sees a spike in popularity

Jake Wilson
Students playing volleyball behind Mills Hall at night.

A flourishing community of casual volleyball players of all skill levels have recently been congregating behind Mills Hall. 

“I always come to volleyball if I hear people are playing,” said UNCA senior and intramural volleyball winner Isaac Abdullayev. “I love to hang out with people and just have fun. It is a nice break from all my academics.”

Abdullayev said that the warm weather has led students out of their dorms and onto the sandy court.

“Playing in the sand adds a whole other level of challenge to the game,” Abdullayev said. “You can’t move as fast, you can’t jump as high, but at least you can take a dive.”

UNCA junior Logan Scully said the popularity of the sport received a boost thanks to the intramural volleyball tournament that took place last semester.

“People played before the tournament, but after the tournament a ton of people started coming out to the court,” said Scully. “Having too many people to play at one time is a good problem to have.”

Abdullayev said the players behind Mills Hall feature those who participated in each intramural team, with the addition of several new faces.

“We see new people pop up almost every time we play,” Abdullayev said. “It’s honestly one of my favorite parts about playing. That and winning the intramural tournament last semester.”

Students are not the only people enjoying the court. Recently, Eric Oian and Britt Rivenbark of the UNCA Campus Police were seen joining the students for a game.

“We’re lucky to have that volleyball court and the resources for something like that,” Oian said. “It provided us an opportunity that night to have that community interaction.”

Oian said he and Rivenbark were on their nightly patrols of the dorms when they walked by a large group of students on the court, who asked them to join.

“I hadn’t played volleyball in years, so it was comical for the kids I’m sure,” Oian said. “We both gave it our all and put in everything we had, even in full gear. We went up to spike it and we just couldn’t get up like we used to when we were kids.”

Oian said he was surprised by how many students participated outside on the Mills court.

“Our group that night just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Oian said. “People kept stopping by and some kids were calling their friends to come out and play.”

Oian further described how positive the experience that night was to him.

“The kids enjoyed it and we enjoyed it, we all were having a great time,” Oian said. “It was a great way to have some fellowship and get to know some of the students and have them get to know us as well.”

Casey Anderson of the UNCA Campus Police describes these experiences as a way to build a positive relationship between students and Campus Police.

“We wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the students. We want to make sure that we’re supporting student services and their efforts to increase enrollment and retention. A part of that is if we have students seeing other students interacting with us in a positive way and that we are fun to be around, then that will help accomplish these goals,” Anderson said.

Anderson said that Campus Police would enjoy participating in student-led events such as this if invited, but understands that some may be against the idea.

”If we just started showing up everytime people played, there may be some people who are uncomfortable with that. There may be some folks who have had bad experiences with other agencies elsewhere. I would say that within reason, anything the students invite us to, we’re gonna make an effort to show up if we can,” Anderson said.

Scully said the group continues to play multiple times a week, with more players joining each session.

“If you want to come out to play, just do it. I recommend playing whenever the opportunity arises,” Scully said.

Intramural volleyball resumes on Sep. 25 at the Student Recreation Center.

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