By Jared Smelter Contributing Writer
Big Red’s Army, one of the ten intramural volleyball teams in this year’s intramural volleyball league at UMF, defeated Rolling Thunder in the championship game last week.
“I think as a team we just had really good chemistry and we all understood our roles,” said Caleb Grover, captain of Big Red’s Army.
The team went undefeated in the regular season, taking down all the opponents they faced. In week one, they won against Rolling Thunder, who they eventually played in the championship, captained by Matthew Dotson. In the last game of the regular season, they defeated Slobbest Knobbest for the second time.
But doing well in the regular season was not Big Red’s Army’s goal. They wanted to win it all. After falling short last year, team member Hunter Wiley wanted redemption. So Grover took the essential pieces of his team, including UMF juniors Wiley and Kyle Chabe and tried to assemble a squad that could conquer the league.
J.P. Tshamala, one of the free agents entering the volleyball season, received an offer from Grover and his comrades to join the team. “I am friends with the people on the team and they asked me to join so I accepted their offer,” Tshamala said.
Entering the regular season, Big Red’s Army had one goal in mind: getting to the championship and winning. They took the league by storm and qualified for the playoffs.
“The only two teams that presented us with any adversity were Rolling Thunder and Spiked Seltzer,” Grover said. “[They were] definitely the hardest team we faced, they had a lot of athleticism and height.”
Other than those obstacles, Big Red’s Army made it to the playoffs pretty easily, according to Grover. The team was very successful because of their best player, Chabe, according to multiple team members including Maeghan Hewey, Hunter Wiley, and Captain Grover.
“Kyle Chabe was our best player so we played around him,” Grover said. “We consistently were successful with the bump, set, spike giving us a strategic advantage over the other teams.”
In the first round, they defeated Honey Roasted Hens to move on to the semifinals, where they took down The Potato Spikers.
They advanced into the finals to play Rolling Thunder, who was one of their toughest opponents during the regular season. When the team scored match point, there was nothing but jubilation on the court.
“It was great winning, the team that I was on was amazing; everyone was really good, and made me feel welcome,” Tshamala said.
Grover’s team will be looking to defend their intramural volleyball title next fall when new teams and old ones will be looking to dethrone them.
If you are looking to join an intramural sports team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or message the UMF Intramural Sports facebook page.