If you ask around campus about the Roundnet Club, most students will reply, “What is roundnet?”
Roundnet is a sport often played at tailgates and on beaches involving four players standing around a small, trampoline-like net. Two teams of two stand around a circular net which pounces the ball back up. Similar to volleyball, teams my pass the ball to each other up to two times before hitting it into the net. Points are scored when the ball hits the ground, and the first team to 21 points wins.
Senior Ryan Gross described the sport as “beach volleyball around a circular net,” and when playing one does feel the similarities.
The club has existed for several years plays in two very different settings. The first is simple and predictable: they play roundnet on the quad. If you stop by Wilson Quad at 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, you’ll probably see them. Just some people playing a classic tailgate game. The second part of the club is a little more unexpected: they compete in international tournaments.
The original members were largely a single group of friends who particularly enjoyed the sport. This group recruited some younger members, and while most of the orignal students have graduated, the club has been passed down and continues to grow.
One such tournament was played recently in Toronto. Three teams represented UR, with upwards of thirty teams attending the tourney. Because several team members have cars, the group was able to drive up to Canada for the weekend, staying overnight and going to the tournament during the day. Unlike practices on campus, these games were played on the beach.
This can make a big difference, as described by Gross: “For me, sand is more fun, because you can dive more freely.”
There are tournaments for the sport on different surfaces, such as sand, turf, and grass, much like tennis and volleyball.
For most people, and even for many club members, tournaments are the furthest thing from their minds when they play roundnet. It’s a good sport for hanging out on a hot summer day at the beach, or killing time before the football game. But for some, roundnet is a real competitive sport.
The roundnet team plays another tournament in Buffalo this weekend, and will be attending nationals in Richmond, Virginia during Meliora Weekend.