Women’s volleyball club provides a space to compete


Mckenzie Ford

Members of the EWU volleyball club compete at a recent meeting. The club meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m. in the Phase.

By Sulamita Martynenko, Contributor

If you’re a woman who likes to play volleyball, but aren’t a member of the EWU athletics team, you can play with the women’s volleyball club.

The women’s volleyball club is one of the many athletic clubs at EWU, which allow students with little to no experience to play their favorite sports.

Peyton  Oules,  coach  and  president  of  the  club,  is  also  a  coach  for  the  Cheney  High  School  volleyball  team.  Compared  to   high   school   coaching,   Oules   said   college      coaching      brings      together

players   who   have   tougher   academic   responsibilities      than      high      school students    do.    College    players    freely    choose to join the club.

“It  isn’t  mandatory  like  the  official  EWU   volleyball   team   time   is,”   said   Maureen    Davies,    a   member    of    the    volleyball club, in a recent email.Majoring   in   physical   therapy   with   a   psychology   minor,   Oules   reaches   out   to  catch  the  opportunity  by  its  wings.  Her  goal  in  becoming  a  leader  is  also  to  maintain  control  of  what  is  happening  at  the club.

Mackenzie Ford

“It feels like a ladder you need to climb up,’’   said   Oules.   “Each   step   represents   the  level  of  each  team  member.  When  you  complete  learning  one  item,  you  go  on to the other. When first looking at the ‘ladder’ it feels like it’s too difficult to reach the  top.  If  you  step  onto  it  and  continue  climbing, then at the top, looking down it feels not as difficult as assumed.”

The  women’s  volleyball  club  provides  flexibility in time ranges and schedules. You  will  not  be  kicked  out  of  the  club  if  you  can’t  make  it  to  practice.  Their  purpose  is  not  to  win  but  to  compete,  and they do so by playing volleyball.The   club   meets   on   Mondays   and   Wednesdays  from  7-9  p.m.  in  the  Phase  gym 270.  Kara Nitteberg, another team member, has played volleyball for 12 years.

“I   didn’t   think   that   I’d   have   time   for  any  volleyball  and  then  my  friend  told  me  to  try  out  for  the  club  team,”  Nitteberg said.

Nitteberg  built such   close  found out about the EWU volleyball club. relationships   with  her   club   volleyball   team members that she considers them a second family.

“I  felt  truly  welcomed  and  loved  by  everyone on the team,” -Kara Nitteberg

Oules  described  the  club as  an  act  of  combining  sport  and  education  in  a  way that doesn’t exist in the classroom.

“It’s   hard   to   guide   players   who   are   about    your    own    age,”   Oules   said.   “Everyone    is    as    qualified  for  this position as I am.”“I  loved  that  we  were  a  player-led  (team) instead of a coach-led   (team),”   Davies added. Oules collaborates   with   her        teammates        so  they  don’t  feel  like she’s in charge and  has  a  higher  status than others. “Sports        have        always been in my family    and    part    of   my   life,”   said   Oules.

In   2012,   Oules   started    her    own    girls’        volleyball        club   at   her   high   school in Okanogan, Washington.Once  Oules  started  the  team,  there  was  “no  turning  back.”  She’s  proud  of  all  the  changes  she  would  influence. The  volleyball  players  needed  her,  and  her  leadership  role  meant  the  world  to  her.  All  four  years  of  high  school,  Oules,  carried a title: captain of the team. During   the   Fall   2018   tryouts,   she   She  said  that  it  was  a  small,  weak  and  unmotivated group.

Mackenzie Ford

According   to   Oules,   the   important   and   fun   aspect   of   volleyball   is   to   be   competitive.  During  games  with  other  teams,    players    don’t    necessarily    say    encouraging  words  as  they  do  during

practice. This is the time not to learn but to show what you learned.“After  the  tournament,  we  have  this  professional  respect  for  each  other.  It’s  different than just friendship,” said Oules.

As     team     members,     Davies     and     Nitteberg say club volleyball allows them to enjoy their time, interact with friends and grow by learning about the sport. The  women’s  volleyball  club  plans  to  continue  to  travel  all  over  the  Pacific Northwest  and  beyond  to  compete  with  clubs at other universities.The team usually travels with 11 players to play in five or six tournaments a year. They hope to reach out to the community and encourage other women to join their club. Students interested in joining the club can  email  Oules  at  [email protected]