Casual but competitive, Claremont men’s club volleyball is setting up for success

A player bumps the ball.
The Claremont men’s club volleyball team hosts open gyms for members to hone their skills. (Courtesy: Claremont Men’s Club Volleyball)

Since this February, the Claremont Men’s Club Volleyball team has been racking up wins over other regional club teams. They compete in the Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League, which includes schools such as Azusa Pacific and smaller California State schools in the Inland Empire area.

The club team may be more advanced at volleyball, but that should not deter anyone from joining the team. I had the chance to play with some of the members this Friday and learn about volleyball callouts and positioning — though it took me a few tries. 

Playing alongside Jason Ma CM ’23, who plays on the club team. Originally from Shanghai, China, Ma picked up volleyball when he first moved to campus and joined the club team at the beginning of last semester.

 “We didn’t have volleyball in high school, so I only started playing at the beginning of college,” Ma said.

Learning to improve fast at volleyball can be challenging, especially because of all the equipment and people required to play a game. The easiest way to get better fast is by joining open gyms, where you pay a fee to play games with other casual players. 

The 5Cs have a Facebook group for the volleyball open gyms, although players have not been using it since COVID. Most of the casual games are now played at the outdoor courts behind Pomona College’s Wig Hall and on Walker Beach. 

The club team themselves is competitive, winning the majority of their games against other college teams.

“I think we have a good mix of being chill and being competitive, “ Ma said. “We scrimmage other teams to make sure that our skill level is up to par with people in our league, but during the practices, we just do a drill or two and then work on what we need to work on personally.”

Being on the club team offers the players a healthy balance of stability in college life with consistent games and practices. The players on the team I spoke to enjoyed the sense of community and clear goals that came along with being on the team. 

The Claremont men’s team is in the second division silver bracket alongside Loyola Mount University and is hoping to go for their first title since their victory over LMU in 2015. 

Many of the players on the club volleyball team are seniors, so the club is looking for new people to join. 

“If you want to join a fun, competitive environment and still do well at national tournaments while playing a sport that brings the best out of you then please come to tryouts next semester,” Ma said.  

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