Photo courtesy of @ouroundnet on Instagram
Club sports are a staple of the college experience, and Oakland University is no exception. One of the fastest growing clubs at OU is the Roundnet Club.
Roundnet — commonly referred to as Spikeball — is a fast-paced game with two teams of two going back and forth with volleys played around a circular net. A common inference is that roundnet is the baby of volleyball and foursquare.
Roundnet originally began in 1989, faded out of popularity in 1995 due to outdated equipment and then got a resurgence in 2008 when Spikeball CEO Chris Ruder took over the brand. Fast forward to 2020 — when the roundnet club was founded — roundnet club president and co-founder Alex Doty is ready to bring the game to OU.
“We worked together to build what it would look like because I had this idea since 2019 to make the club,” Doty says. “I was able to get people together and bring my idea to fruition.”
Doty had first discovered roundnet in 2018 while attending multiple grad parties that summer, saying it’s “kind of like the grad party game.” He would go on to buy his own net and end up driving to Grand Rapids to participate in a tournament with a friend.
“It opened my eyes to Spikeball as a competitive sport,” Doty says. “This could be something I do at Oakland … it would be my own to make and see how things go.”
Vice President Jon Herppich has also been around the world of roundnet since 2019, and he joined forces with Alex to make this club a reality. Herppich says being vice president is a really cool experience.
“Since I’ve been here since the start of the club, the coolest thing I’ve seen from roundnet is the transformation from the first meeting on the grass behind the track — with about 10 people — to our meetings now that have around 40,” Herppich says. “Being VP to a club that is growing so fast is awesome because we can plan events, run practices and know that people are going to come and want to learn and play the game of spikeball.”
Meetings are currently held 9:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. every Monday at the Grizz Dome with a potential outdoor meeting to be added in late March, weather permitting. For meetings, all people need to bring is a mask and shoes as the nets and balls are provided.
Doty and Herppich are looking forward to the future of the club, with the first collegiate tournament for the club set to take place in April at Bowling Green University. The high stakes tournament will send the winner to nationals.
Doty’s goal is to bring three squads — a squad being three teams of two — to the tournament so there’s still time to join. Sign up for the tournament will be available on the club’s linktree.
Herppich believes that the Roundnet Club will continue to grow as it’s accessible to almost everyone.
“You don’t have to have any special talents or physical attributes to play — you can just show up and have fun,” Herppich says. “I also think Spikeball is going to continue to grow on college campuses everywhere … it offers community when you have a club, and it offers competition with collegiate tournaments.”
Roundnet Club is open to teach new people who haven’t played Spikeball before, with a goal to have a competitive team and also have fun. Some students express interest in the club, no matter their experience with the game.
“I played it a couple times,” sophomore Jason Washington says. “I was aware that there was a club at OU. I thought about joining a few times in passive thought.”
“I have never played Spikeball before — I wasn’t aware of the Roundnet Club,” freshman Stephen Green says. “I would be interested in learning how to play Spikeball and becoming competitive.”
For more information, check out the roundnet Instagram page @ouroundnet or visit their linktree.