Football is finally over, which means it’s time for Texas’ favorite fall sport to begin. Volleyball! OK, so perhaps my first volleyball column should focus on simply setting forth the rules and clarifying terminology for all you Texas high school football has-beens, but I’m going to bump that idea. The season is barely underway and already, intrigue has filled the gymnasiums as teams battle for supremacy in the most misunderstood sport in the South. Oh, there’s also a waterball preview!
Women’s Champ Volleyball
Ten teams have stepped onto the court to fight for the title, including four social club squads.
Sigma Theta Chi is looking to continue its year of dominance, having won indoor soccer and flag football so far. Last season, the Siggies entered the playoffs ranked No. 1 but lost to the lowest seed in the first round, resulting in the head coach being fired and a complete shakeup of front-office staff. They’re back this year with a chip on their shoulders. Don’t worry, it’s a veggie chip with 30 percent less fat, so it’ll probably just get eaten. After being dipped in Sharky’s spicy ranch sauce.
Ko Jo Kai is the defending champion, having defeated Alpha Kai Omega in last year’s final. Both teams will face a great deal of adversity trying simply to make it back to the big dance this year. The Kojies were 2-0 before last night’s championship rematch against 0-1 Alpha Kai.
GATA looks to be strong this season (see, Emily? I can say good things), and so do the Ancient Aces. The Aces roster includes a couple of former Wildcat soccer players which would be a logical decision if volleyball wasn’t a sport played primarily with the two upper limbs. However, the Aces have impressed already, knocking off Alpha Kai in three sets, and losing a close contest to the Siggies in three as well.
Eight of the 10 teams will be in action Thursday at 9 and 10 p.m. in the Rec.
Men’s Champ Volleyball
Four of the seven teams in the men’s league are from social clubs. Galaxy, Sub T-16, GSP and Trojans are all looking to dethrone last year’s returning champions, She Set Yes.
What kind of name is She Set Yes anyway? Could someone really not come up with a better volleyball pun? Last year the team was known as the Kaneko Brothers, but only Hiroshi Kaneko remains this year to guide his team back to glory. Rumor has it, She Set Yes has a secret weapon from the Great White North, but I’ve also heard this unknown Canadian is highly overrated and should stick to sideline reporting rather than playing.
She Set Yes moved to 3-0 on Monday, defeating Trojans in an intense three-set affair. The match marked the return of Trey Arnett, a star last year for Trojans, now facing off against his former team as a key addition to She Set Yes’s lineup.
GSP was runner-up last year, ending a five-year run of volleyball championships. The Kinsmen don’t have much experience losing and have added three players from She Set Yes’s championship team last season. GSP has jumped out to a 2-0 record this year, and isn’t scheduled to face rival Trojans at all. She Set Yes and GSP meet Nov. 17 in the final game of the regular season, which will likely decide first place heading into the playoffs.
Marissa Mueller and her Eta Pi legacy have dived straight into the pool. Mueller might believe she’s actually part of her own social club based on the amount of teams she’s entering in intramural sports. Her Eta Pi team played flag football and is registered in volleyball and waterball. Props to Mueller for challenging the hierarchy of female social club intramural order.
Let’s be real, though. The other four teams in the league are social club teams, but GATA is head and shoulders above the rest. As three-time defending champions, GATA has no intent to lose the title. The other teams might have to find another pool to drown their second-place sorrows.
On paper, this is GATA’s championship to lose. But as we all know, you can’t play a game on paper, especially in a pool, because the paper will just become soggy and good for nothing. If GATA gets too complacent, the other teams will be more than ready to strangle the title away.
Seven teams compete in this year’s waterball league. All are social club teams. Wait, what? How is that even possible? There are only six clubs, and there’s no way Pi Kappa is entering a team.
GSP and Galaxy have both entered two teams, while we finally see Frater Sodalis enter the champ-league circuit. No longer are the Frats just Super Smash Bros. champs. Actually, there’s only one league, so the Frats had no choice.
Galaxy, like GATA, is three-time defending champion of the pool. The Moonies are heavy favorites, but heavy things tend to sink in water, so no one is jumping to conclusions just yet. I’m thinking we might see an upset this year.