The Pacific Intercollegiate Volleyball Association can boast a brand new member, because on Oct. 22 the Central Oregon Community College Bobcats have joined their ranks. 29 total teams–14 for men and 15 for women–make up PIVA, including Gonzaga University, Boise State, University of Washington, Washington State and University of Oregon.
“I think through the years this is something we’ve always wanted to do,” says Brook Castle, player/coach for the women’s team. “We’ve had to really scrap to build a team because not a lot of women come to COCC strictly to play volleyball.”
Castle went on to point out that her team is borne from a lot of enthusiasm for the sport, despite that some on her team may not have been able to afford to go to the huge universities to play. ESPN reported on a 2010 study done by Ithaca College and a national athlete’s advocacy group on how much athletes on a scholarship have to pay, and the study revealed that the average student athlete pays $2,951 annually in expenses not covered by grants in aid.
“A lot of girls on my team can’t afford to go to the big colleges, so they come here to play,” Castle continued. Castle also says that the Lady Bobcats are likely going to feel like underdogs when they begin play, because they are the newest addition to PIVA and to volleyball on a national collegiate level. “Personally, it helps me,” says Castle. “Being an underdog always encourages me to improve. I can’t speak for the rest of the girls but I hope it encourages them to improve too.”
Chris Roof, conference commissioner for PIVA, talked as well about the impact COCC will have on PIVA and his enthusiasm about having a small college like COCC take a leap up to the national level.
“COCC is the first community college to play for us,” said Roof. “The addition of COCC helps us branch out, get our name out and it helps to grow the sport outside of the varsity programs.”
Roof said PIVA has several events on the horizon, including an event held Dec. 3 to Dec. 4 at Gonzaga University, which teams will have to register for individually, not as a part of PIVA, and pay an entry fee of $150. Admission for spectators, including COCC and OSU-Cascades students, will be free and the doors will open at 8:00 AM, with matches beginning at 9:00 AM.
Looking ahead at some of the events PIVA has planned, an indoor beach women’s volleyball tournament is scheduled Nov. 13th at the East Beach Volleyball Center, with a men’s tournament taking place on Nov. 5 in the same facility. The last tournaments planned are the Spring Semester tournament, with matches on Jan. 21 and 22 at Eastern Washington University, Feb. 4th and 5th at the University of Washington, and Feb. 18-19 at Western Washington University.
The PIVA Championship will be decided in a tournament to be held through Mar. 3rd-Mar. 4th at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
William James can be contacted at email@example.com