Roundnet club spikes into OU


Photo Courtesy of Alex Doty and OU Roundnet

OU Roundnet practicing their skills at the upper fields.

As quarantine winds down, students will be looking for ways to get out and be active. One club has just the game for this time: roundnet.

“[Roundnet is] if volleyball and foursquare had a baby,” Alex Doty, Oakland University Roundnet president said.

Roundnet — the generic name for Spikeball, which is used by the company that owns the rights to the game and equipment — is played with four people around a circular net. Teams of two stand together and the game starts when team A spikes the ball onto the net, bouncing it toward team B. Team B has to hit the ball three times before bouncing off the net and back into team A’s possession.

A typical roundnet rally goes like this: the ball bounces off the net toward player one, player one hits the ball to player two, player two hits the ball back to player one and player one hits the ball back to the net, which bounces the ball to the other team. 

The game continues until a team fails to make three hits or a fault occurs. While there are teams, there are no set sides in roundnet, creating a frantic atmosphere where anything can happen and everywhere is in play.

For a more in-depth look at rules and to see a game in action, Roundnet Australia has a video explaining everything

“It looks pretty easy, but it is not easy your first time,” Doty said. “By about the third or fourth game you pick it up and you start to figure things out.”

Doty founded the club after entertaining the idea for about two years.

“The summer of 2018, right before I came to Oakland, was when I first started playing Spikeball,” Doty said. “I kinda thought about it my freshman year and started thinking about it more seriously my sophomore year. When the pandemic hit, it threw off any plans I had to start the club in the spring.” 

Fortunes changed once Jon Herppich, club vice president, started classes at OU in 2020. Doty and Herppich got some friends together, formed the club and began officially playing by September as a club sport. After three weeks the club grew to about 20 players, which the club attributes to their Instagram account with over 200 followers.

“I feel like we have gotten so much exposure out on there and it’s just been shared around like crazy,” Doty said.

The pandemic has prevented OU Roundnet from competing against other schools’ clubs, but the club is registered with the Spikeball Roundnet Association and ready for competitions once the all clear is given.

If roundnet sounds like something to get into, practices are held on Tuesday nights from 10:14 to 11:45 p.m. at the dome on Pioneer Dr. OU students are welcome to drop in, though they need to fill out the forms on IMLeagues before playing. Nets and balls are provided, so all players need are sturdy shoes and the readiness to run.

“Spikeball is going to be the new biggest sport,” Herppich said. “It is going to be — at least in the college atmosphere — as big as football and soccer. It is on the rise.”