Club Focus: UCD Volleyball

Fintan Lawlor

After a summer of notable achievements, things are looking quite rosy for the UCD Volleyball Club. Situated within the enclave of the UCD Sports Centre, UCD Volleyball has established itself as one of the most exciting and engaging sports on campus. 

To the unaware, Volleyball was first named as an Olympic Sport in the 1960’s – prior to the 1964 Olympics that took place in Tokyo, Japan. The rules of the sport are extensive to say the least. Both teams consist of six players, but essentially the key to the game is as follows; a player on one of the teams begins a 'rally' by serving the ball from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team's court. The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court and the same practice is continued until a side wins the point. 

A sport that has been gaining plenty of traction in recent years with the presence of the Olympics – Volleyball can be played both indoors and outdoors – but there has been a split between both the outdoor and indoor game in recent years. However, this is no such issue within the UCD Volleyball Club – with success coming the way of the club.

With plenty of success fuelling a feel-good factor around the club, the University Observer caught up with the club in recent days, where they explained why one should join forces with them; “People should take up Volleyball because it’s a great sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. It can be played both indoor and outdoor or even on the beach. 

“It’s a fun way to burn calories as it improves your balance, reflexes and hand-eye coordination. It provides students with a strong team environment. Every player is important and holds a specific role. UCD Volleyball is very welcoming to all skill levels and provides a great space to learn and grow.”

Sarah Escalante, a club member, added; “I personally chose to get involved with the UCD Volleyball Club because I was in first year and I was excited to join as many clubs as possible. I was more of a beginner as I only played for one year in Secondary School. I felt a sense of community within the Beginners training. I quickly began to see improvement in myself as well as creating a solid group of friends. Second year, I was involved in the student team and I continued to feel a sense of community which I hadn’t experienced as I was mainly a tennis player which isn't really a team sport. Now, I’m in the final year of my course and I’m a part of the committee for a second year and I'm still loving the volleyball and constantly improving my skills.

“Our men’s student team coach (Benny O’Regan) along with 7 players from our women’s premier team (Miriam Gormally, Marie-Claire Sabogal, Regina Halpin, Fiona Lamont, Alex Graves, Orla Lynch and Emily Frazell), have all competed for Ireland internationally this year, whether it was the women’s indoor European Championships in Luxembourg in May, the CEV Continental Cup Olympic Qualifier in Bettystown this past June, or the Small Nations Beach finals in Perth, Scotland. We’re growing some talented players! Miriam and Marie-Claire also help coach the women’s student team, imparting their years of wisdom.”

Escalante concluded; “The main highlight of mine within the club was being recognised by the Bank of Ireland UCD Sports Awards with Club Event of the Year for hosting Intervarsity’s 2018/2019 and our annual Blitz tournament. I was a part of the Events team who managed both tournaments. We ensured that the matches were on schedule and the players were happy and playing as much volleyball as possible.”

With plenty of goings on at the minute with the UCD Volleyball club, it is no surprise to see many trying out the sport during Orientation Week and beyond. With indoor competition beginning soon – the 13th October to be exact – the club have been busy in recent weeks, represented on the international stage as recently as September 22nd. Seven competitors from the UCD Volleyball Club represented Ireland in Perth, Scotland – with success on the podium just escaping the talented stars in the United Kingdom. 

There is plenty of exciting talent to watch out for in the club, with Alexandra Graves and Miriam Gormally both agonisingly missing out on a medal in Scotland recently while a whole host of other talented players such as Marie-Claire Sabogal, Regina Halpin, Fiona Lamont, Orla Lynch and Emily Frazell all gained recognition for their sterling effort. Should you wish to join the UCD Volleyball Club, you can contact them via their social media channels or by email (