As temperatures cool down, the competition heats up inside the Student Recreation Center.
The intramural volleyball season is in full swing and the playoffs are closely approaching. This year, 48 teams are competing to be the best on campus. Director of Student Recreation James Hinson enjoys the passion for the sport.
“Volleyball is super popular here at Northwest,” Hinson said. “It is a little different from where I have been.”
With the popularity level high, spectator turnouts for the games are larger than other intramural events on campus.
“We normally have a decent turnout from the brothers and sisters, which is awesome. We love that,” Hinson said.“We start getting into playoffs, especially for the fraternities and sororities. We had that in flag football too. It’s great when we have folks come out.”
The spirit of competition is in the air Thursday nights as Greek Life takes the courts for its weekly games. Sophomore Toby Todd appreciates that aspect of the game.
“One of the things I really enjoy about intramurals is the chance to spend more time with my fraternity brothers in a more competitive setting,” Todd said. “The opportunities to compete against other fraternities and a lot of my other friends on campus is exhilarating.”
Other players, like sophomore Shane Miller, enjoy factors the game provides to the athletes.
“I really like the competitiveness of the intramural volleyball program,” Miller said. “The games are super fun and everyone is friends afterwards, but it’s still competitive.”
While the regular season opportunities dwindle and postseason play lingers, competitors understand the practicality of the system.
“Well, the regular season has only three games, but it makes a lot of sense,” Todd said. “There are bountiful amounts of sports to play, and limited time in a semester to finish them. It doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to improve seeding or anything, but you have to beat the best to be the best.”
It can seem hard for a team to rise above others and become favorites with so little time to play.
“I don’t think there are any clear-cut favorites at this time,” Hinson said. “To be honest myself, I don't look at seeds until the regular season.”
With a short season, it can be even more difficult for teams to have an idea of what they are up against. For athletes that love to play the game, it adds some extra motivation.
“I’m always looking to win,” Todd said. “Truthfully, the more games we win, the more I get to play.”
Veteran teams that have played in years past may have an advantage on rookie teams.
“Having played last year, I have some experience playing in the tournament, which helps,” Miller said. “Also, we get to know players on other teams so we can develop a game plan beforehand and create some matchups.”
With the final games before the tournament finishing this week, teams are excited and ready for the big tournament to begin.
“I want everyone to have fun and enjoy it,” Hinson said. “I want to have a good championship.”
The volleyball tournament will start Feb. 12 and run through Feb. 16.