Confidence is riding high for “I Can Dig It” after they captured the intramural Sand Volleyball championship last fall. Loaded with a squad of veteran volleyball aficionados, the team is gearing up for another ascent to glory–this time in the CoRec Indoor Volleyball League.
When asked if this team would be wearing the coveted championship t-shirts come March, junior spanish major Josh Morrison didn’t hesitate.
“Definitely,” he said. “This team is loaded with talent and has extremely high chemistry. We each know our roles; some people are insane at blocks while others prefer to serve. Our balance sets us apart from newer teams.”
According to Morrison, the team is a conglomeration of seasoned intramural players. After each player competed on separate teams last year, the current members of “I Can Dig It” decided to emulate the Miami Heat and join forces to make a “superteam” of their own.
Despite their high ambitions, however, the team began with a bumpy start. Rival “Block U Like a Hurricane,” whom Morrison believes is their biggest threat to the title, narrowly edged them two sets to one in the opening match of the season.
A bevy of different factors including a missing player, nagging injuries, and early season rust contributed to their uncharacteristic loss. They responded with a thrashing of “Know That” this past Tuesday night, winning the match in straight sets.
“I wasn’t worried about our squad,” Morrison said. “We have some amazing leaders. Katie Pennewill, for instance, really holds this team together.”
Pennewill, a sophomore sports management major, has lived and breathed volleyball her entire life. The child of two volleyball players, Pennewill began officially playing at the age of eleven and hasn’t stopped since. She even considered playing for UT’s volleyball team at the collegiate level but decided to focus on her schoolwork.
“When it came time to decide, I opted not to because I wanted to put more focus on other interests. I knew that being a student athlete was a huge commitment, and I wanted something else from my college experience,” Pennewill said.
Though it doesn’t have the excitement of playing against other schools across the country, participating in intramurals has allowed her to keep kindling her passion for the game.
“Playing intramural volleyball is a great way to still be around the game,” Pennewill said. “I still have a passion for volleyball, and I love competing. I missed competing and was looking for a way to get back in the game. Intramural sports [lets me] play without conflicting with my busy schedule.”
Both Pennewill and Morrison agree there are two keys to winning a volleyball game: good communication and mitigation of simple errors. It’s easy to be fairly competent in any intramural sport, but to play intelligently is a completely separate matter.
If all rudimentary mistakes are avoided, a loss can no longer be blamed on careless blunders or an overall lack of effort. “[It] means not missing serves, hits, etc,” Pennewill said on conceding easy scores.
“It’s important to not give any “free” points to the other team.”
As long as they practice what they preach, Morrison and Pennewill’s team should be well on their way to a successful run in intramural volleyball this season.
Griffin Guinta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org