The Few, The Proud: The Spikeballers

by Alexa Schmidt Asst. A&E Editor

You’ve seen their faces. You’ve heard their music. Maybe you’ve joined in on a game or two. And you’ve probably wondered how they play so well. The Spikeball guys often seen on the quad when the weather is nice never miss an opportunity to get outside and play their favorite game.

Junior civil engineers Joseph Campiellia and Marco Armato are dedicated players to the unique game. Their friend, Chris Hoffman is often seen playing with them as well.

These students are no strangers to the concept of the game. All you need for Spikeball is the set and four players, each in pairs.

“My friend actually introduced me to the game in high school and we played one summer like every day. I started a club at my high school and eventually brought it here. I’ve been traveling to tournaments for like 2 years now and I’m just spreading it to my friends,” Campiellia said.

While Campiellia was exposed to the game in high school, Armato discovered the game through a different route.

“I saw a Youtube video like a year and a half ago and thought it was cool so I got it. I brought it here, and I saw Joe [Campiellia] and his brother Mike playing, and thought, wow they were pretty good, and then they brought us to a tournament and it was mad fun. And now we play all the time,” he said.

On the other hand, Spikeball is known for being a casual game. Hoffman bought the set for the beach, but met Campiellia and Armato on the beach and joined. Since then, he’s gotten better at playing.

Although there is not an official club for it, Campiellia has thought about the idea.

He said,  “I don’t really have the time to go through that whole process, but I’m trying to spread it to as many people as possible. I’d love to have a little unofficial thing going on.”

Hoffman described Spikeball as “volleyball, but instead of hitting it over a net, you hit it on a trampoline. That’s the best way to put it.”

Campiellia added, “A mix of four square and volleyball. Imagine the net, like a volleyball net on the ground. So you have three hits between you and your teammate to get the ball back on the net and it’s got to go off the net cleanly. It bounces once and hits the floor for you to get a point.”

In total, it’s two people versus two people. It is a very fast-paced game, and there are no boundaries. It is possible to make up your own rules, but it starts to get confusing quickly.

Spikeball sets come in two sets: the pro-sets, which are $100, or the regular set, which is $60. The pro-sets are used for tournaments and to refine your skills, while the regular set is more for the beach or more casual atmospheres. It may seem pricey, but for the spikeballers, the money is worth it.

Campiellia said, “Once you buy the set, if you break any part of it you just email them and they send you replacement parts for free.”

The guys don’t have a groupchat to communicate when they want to play, but they say it’s a work in progress. As of right now, they just text each other. The only challenge they face is during the wintertime, when the weather does not permit them to use the quad. They try to find space inside of Draddy Gymnasium, but it gets tough when schedules conflict.

Besides being a recreational activity, Spikeball tournaments are popular among players. Just recently, on Sept. 8, Armato and Campiellia drove to University of Connecticut to a college sectionals tournament. As a pair, they came in the top at 16th place.

“Tournaments are fun, but they’re also pretty hard. Everyone’s really good so you get wrecked, but you learn,” Armato said.

“At tournaments they have like 50-100 nets going at a time. You just get a big field and spread them out,” Campiellia said. “I won a tournament, so that has to be my best memory. Coming home with some prize money.”

“The best part of spikeball is playing with people you like and having crazy rallies that are kind of dumb but just like diving and flapping and having people yell at you is the best part,” Armato said.

Catch these guys out on the quad before the weather turns!