On April 17, the Walla Walla University Men’s Volleyball Club put on a volleyball tournament, the Onion Classic, for five high schools. This was the first ever men’s high school volleyball tournament hosted at WWU, completely run by the club.
Participants traveled from Auburn Adventist Academy, Cascade Christian Academy, Portland Adventist Academy, Puget Sound Adventist Academy, and Walla Walla Valley Academy to play from 8:00–6:00 p.m. at the Winter Education Complex. Portland’s team took home the gold at the final championship game Sunday evening.
Mark Oliinik, senior biology major, is president of the Men’s Volleyball Club and captain of the club team. The WWU club team has traveled to many tournaments on their own against other universities and colleges. He proposed the tournament idea because he knows there is an interest among many high school boys to play volleyball but not many opportunities.
Several of the high school teams arrived on Saturday evening to join in activities set up by the club. Drills were set up so the high schoolers could mix and get to know each other and the club members. “We wanted to help the students interact with each other, build friendships, and for us specifically to establish relationships with them so they know there is a club here and they are more than welcome to join if they try out,” Oliinik explained.
Much planning and preparation went into making this tournament happen, according to Oliinik. He started reaching out to schools in the winter to figure out the best date for everyone. Next year, he hopes the team captains are able to reach out even earlier in the fall to ensure as many schools can come as possible.
There was an average of ten to twelve players on each team involved in the tournament. “Seeing the substantial interest in men’s volleyball, I was surprised by how big the teams were. We tried to emphasize it would be the annual Onion Classic, the first of many,” Olliinik described. Even with new leadership next year, the men’s club team plans to host this tournament again and help it grow.
Posted on April 28, 2022