Any volleyball player who attends ASU and who is looking to continue their career in the sport can join the women's club team. Many returning members of this season's team are students who want to focus on academics but at the same time want an organized sporting experience to meet other like-minded people.
The team is part of Sun Devil Sport Clubs, a league of sports clubs directed and played by student-athletes who attend ASU. While there are various levels of sport clubs, the volleyball team plays in tournaments and invitationals against large college club teams predominantly from Southern California.
"I basically started because I played all throughout middle school and high school and just loved it so much that I wanted to continue to play but I also wanted that bigger school feel," said senior Alison Sundem, the club team's president for the 2022-23 season. "This is a good balance for me. I get to be able to go to a big school and focus on academics, but I also have volleyball on the side. It's been a great experience for me."
The club team has kicked off its season with open gyms and is anticipating what's ahead.
"We have been having open gyms, this is our second week, but we have tryouts next week," Sundem said. "We have been having a bunch of new girls come in, seeing new faces. There is a lot of good talent here so it's always fun at the start of the semester. Everyone is so excited to be here."
Other players are looking to ease into college life, to make new friends and be part of a family setting by trying out for the team. Junior Mara Semone, who now serves as the club's vice president, tried out for the team after her freshman year at ASU and has been playing with the team since then.
The returners on the team are optimistic about the expansion the roster for this season's team. Many on the team are looking for new talent to create a fun environment for everyone involved and to have a solid record in the upcoming season.
"Last year we lost a lot of seniors," Semone said. "This year there are a lot of incoming freshmen who are putting out really good talent. I am excited to watch them play and grow our club."
Club volleyball at ASU is not only a way to keep practicing old skills from previous years of play, but to experience new teams and gameplay throughout the season.
The Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League includes different club teams from schools in California and schools in other western states.
"We have nationals in Kansas City this year, those are always fun with really good teams in the mix," Sundem said. "We participate in the Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League, SCCVL, so there are always a bunch of Southern California schools that are notoriously very good at volleyball. It's always fun to play any of those teams there."
In previous years, the club has also played tournaments outside of California, including at GCU and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
"I'm definitely excited to play USC and UCLA because those were big matches last season," said sophomore returning player Isabel Clauhs. "I am excited to see where we stand."
ASU is not only looking forward to tournaments and matches with California teams, but with a certain opponent down south. One of the most anticipated games for many on the team is playing ASU's in-state foe, UA.
"There is always the UA rivalry," Sundem said. "We played them a lot last year and we had really close sets with them. Hopefully, we can come out on top over them and win a few games this year."
Throughout the entirety of the season, players travel to tournaments, practice at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex in Tempe, participate in out-of-state gameplay, and attend team bonding events. The club volleyball team is holding tryouts on Sept. 22 and 25 in the SDFC Green Gym. There is a one-time $20 fee to participate.
Edited by Walker Smith, Logan Stanley and Piper Hansen.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com.
Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.