Skills don’t help in mud volleyball

Rebecca Coleman / Sun Star Reporter
May 3, 2011

Brandon Hoover grins after a mud volleyball match Friday afternoon April 29, 2011. Dillon Ball/Sun Star

About 200 UAF students got down and dirty playing mud volleyball on Friday, April 28 in the mud pits across the street from the SRC. Facilities Services provided the dirt, and Student Activities Office (SAO) put on the event, which included 20 teams.

The creative team names, such as Abusement Park, Super Beauties, Smash Bang Fusion and Scarred Hitless, were a highlight of the event for junior Elisha Howard, one of the SAO student workers.  Another entertaining aspect for her was “watching all the muddy people.”

Unfortunately for all the muddy people, as the tournament progressed, the warmth and the sun went away.  Clouds rolled in, and the temperature dropped to a chilly 45 degrees.  The participants got cold easily, as they were covered in mud and most wore shorts and tank tops.  To solve this problem, SAO had a heated tent set up to the side.

Two of the teams included UAF volleyball players, but their volleyball skills weren’t much use in the mud.

“They suck,” said head volleyball coach Phil Shoemaker, laughing, of his volleyball players in the mud.  “They’re horrible.  They need to forget they know anything about volleyball because it does them no good here.”

Of the teams that had UAF volleyball players, one did much better than the other.  Their strategy included high serves and not trying to play actual volleyball, said junior Simone Chavous.  None of her team members had played mud volleyball before, so this was a new experience for all of them.  “We knew sand was hard, but mud is a whole different game,” she said.  “You can’t move.”

Mickey Wilson hoses off his teammates Will Riley and Courtney Darnell at the Spring Fest Mud Volleyball Tournament April 29, 2011. Dillon Ball/UAF Sun Star

Many players had trouble getting to the ball and maneuvering on the “court.”  At some places, the mud was more than knee-deep, so the shorter players were pretty much stuck in place.  The “courts” had huge puddles, and many players fell into them after finally freeing themselves from the mud.

The other mud volleyball team with UAF volleyball players also included some Alaska hockey players, but they were out of the tournament after the first round.  “There’s no skill to this,” said junior Jordyn Montgomery.  “Usually, if you have three hits, you’re good, but here you just want to get the ball over in one.”

“It’s a free for all, it’s all luck, and anything goes,” said junior Karlee Skalla, a member of Montgomery’s team.  “It was lots of fun, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”


This article was edited on May 4, 2011. We originally listed the Student Activities Office incorrectly as the Student Activities Organization. We regret this error.

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