Upon arriving at the Haas Pavilion gym on a Wednesday night, it is likely a tall white net is being set up inside.
Some participants may already have started a game of “Pepper” – passing the volleyball between partners. Once seven o’ clock hits, warm-ups begin.
Two lines of participants line either side of the gym, tossing, bouncing and
hitting the volleyball between them for a quick warm-up and muscle stretch. After practicing some spikes over the net, two teams form and the scrimmage begins.
Free Play, a program that welcomes all skill levels, is a new initiative the Mills Volleyball players started as a way to stay motivated during their off season. The team cannot receive coach assistance on their off season, according to senior Loke Davis, a four year member of the volleyball team.
The event was designed as a once-a-week volleyball scrimmage, to allow the community members to mingle with each other and the team.
Becky Frank, a third year team member and senior said, “We miss [volleyball] when the season is over. It’s fun to play with friends and the community for fun.”
Though participation is sparse from the surrounding Mills community, those who are taking advantage of Volleyball Free Play are keeping their enthusiasm high as they recruit participants from wherever they can.
Maren Loenen and Lindsay Joiret are students from the English First (EF) program on campus who were recruited by Davis to scrimmage in the weekly sessions.
“We see people at Founders, so now we get to meet them,” Joiret said.
Loenen was equally enthused about mingling with the Mills students, especially because it was their first time at Free Play.
Other EF students on campus often decide to come and join the Free Play afte being persuaded out of the weight training room by participants just minutes before the scrimmage.
Members of Free Play would like to see particiaption stabilize or increase. Sometimes participants will be split into full six-man teams. Other days, only enough people will participate for a simple two on two scrimmage.
In hopes of gaining more participants to play in the Volleyball Free Play, Davis said, “We want to play and we need people to do that. Plus, the atmosphere is relaxed and encouraging!”