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‘Roundnet’ Now Officially A Penn State Club Sport

Roundnet has taken the world by storm, and it has officially reached Happy Valley.

You may’ve heard of Spikeball before. The popular volleyball spinoff with its distinct yellow ball can be played anywhere there’s a yard, a field, or even on a beach.

Well, it’s time you learn that Spikeball is actually just the brand that revolutionized the sport, and President Tyler Keener and Vice President Henry Pleszkoch are trying to do the same for the newfound club, roundnet.

“We were a registered student org here at Penn State, the Spikeball/roundnet club, and now we’re transitioning to club roundnet as a club sport,” Keener said. “Our founder, Isaac Freeman, created it back in 2018. He graduated, and now he passed it on to us.”

Keener’s passion for the game began in high school when like most, he used to just play for fun. But one time, a friend asked him to come to a tournament for charity, putting a new competitive spin on the once-recreational hobby.

“We started winning these small tournaments,” Keener said. “Then, I unknowingly signed up for an actual, official Spikeball tournament and got it handed to me. I didn’t know there were that many serves and this whole competitive side to the game.”

Keener, along with Pleszkoch and treasurer Zach Bender, reached out to the club sports office to see if they could transform their vision into a reality, and they put in countless hours to help it come to fruition.

Keener tackles a lot as president, but one of Pleszkoch’s main focuses as the vice president is to facilitate travel and make sure it runs smoothly. That’s a big difference they’ll have this year with roundnet becoming a club, being that it is now associated with, and partially funded by, the university.

In other words — Penn State and the Nittany Lion logo are now officially represented by a roundnet team.

“It’s always cool to spread the love and just teach people about the backyard game we all know and love,” Keener said. “But also, as we do that, if they fall in love with the basics, then you teach them the next stage of the sport, which is the competitive side.”

“It’s really just an awesome sport to play just for fun, but not many understand how competitive it can get,” Pleszkoch continued. “But, you can also just come and play for fun. That’s why it’s in backyards, lawns, and on the beach. It’s just a fun game.”

Aside from the increased competitive aspect, the sense of community stands out to both Keener and Pleszkoch when they think about why roundnet deserves to be a household sport.

“If you’re in the select community of competitive players, it’s one of the most tight-knit communities because everyone’s so close because it’s still in its beginning stages,” Keener said. “Everyone is so nice to each other at tournaments, and you meet a lot of friends.”

At tournaments, you have beginner, intermediate, advanced, and then premier contender being the highest player designation. In order to work your way up in the tournaments, you have to win the previous division.

Currently, Penn State has four premier-level players that will aim to help carry club roundnet to glory in the year of its inception. For collegiate tournaments, schools will bring a squad composed of five teams — three open (men or women), 1 women’s, and one co-ed. Whichever school wins three out of five matches claims victory.

Keener and Pleszkoch think roundnet has the potential to take off and become even bigger than it is now, and they want to be catalysts by doing their part at Penn State.

“I think definitely in the coming years we’ll be able to grow our roster. For club sports, there are four different levels. Right now, we’re at the first level, so as the year’s progress, we’ll be able to move up the ranks and hopefully take more people to travel,” Pleszkoch said.

Club roundnet is still in its infant stages, and Keener and Pleszkoch have big plans for its glow up. They say that even in the near future, perhaps, Penn State could be a host to a roundnet college sectional tournament.

If you’re interested, follow @psuroundnet on Instagram to stay updated on everything Penn State club roundnet. As long as you’re a Penn State student, you can join or get involved.

A tentative tryout date is currently set for 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday, September 5, at the IM Fields (Lower East Field). Additionally, you can email Keener ([email protected]) or Pleszkoch ([email protected]) with any questions.

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About the Author

Zach Donaldson

Zach is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. He is a writer for Onward State and serves as an editor for Penn State’s CommRadio. He hails from Downingtown, Pa., or in other words "just outside of Philly." When he's not watching or ranting about Philly sports, you can probably find him at the gym. If you like sports tweets, follow him on Twitter @zachdonaldson_ and all inquiries can go to [email protected]

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