Volleyball takes two forms at the Olympic Games. According to the official Olympics website, volleyball was developed as a “less strenuous alternative to basketball.”

Volleyball at the Olympics

Volleyball takes two forms at the Olympic Games. According to the official Olympics website, volleyball was developed as a “less strenuous alternative to basketball.” It was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan at Springfield College in Massachusetts. The sport spread quickly – reaching Japan by 1896, then spreading through Asia. Volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1964.

Beach volleyball began in Santa Monica, California in the 1920s. It spread through Europe by the 1930s. It is believed that its popularity may stem from its ability to provide some light entertaining relief during the Great Depression. The first official tournament was held in 1947 and the first league began in the 1950s. Popular culture of the 1960s led to its popularity. Celebrities including The Beatles and President Kennedy were seen attending games. Beach volleyball was added to the Olympics in 1996 at Atlanta.

In the 2012 Olympic Games, volleyball and beach volleyball events will be held on August 11 and 12. Two gold medals will be awarded in each sport.

Volleyball at MSU

Beach volleyball is not played officially at MSU, but there are several sand courts available around the campus dorms for students to enjoy. There is a varsity women’s volleyball team, and club teams for both men and women. The club teams typically practice and play in the gymnasiums in Intramural Center West (IM West).

Students playing beach volleyball outside one of MSU's dorms.
Club volleyball teams play at IM West.

The women’s varsity volleyball team at MSU played its first season in 1973. They finished their 2011 season with an overall record of 22-12 and a conference record of 10-10. They will open their 2012 season with a Green & White game on August 18 at 6:30 p.m. Their home games are played in Jenison Field House. You can make a gift in support of the volleyball team on the MSU Giving website.

Look below for a Beneath the Pines special – behind the scenes looks at the women’s volleyball facilities and locker room.

The MSU volleyball team helped MSU celebrate a Facebook accomplishment - "Over 100,000 Spartans have declared their professions." 
This sign greets players as they enter their locker room.
Players can sit surrounded by professional jerseys of former MSU players.
A television is available for relaxing and watching film.
A special section of the locker room features team trophies.
Plays can be drawn up on the white board in the locker room.
Lockers bear plaques with photos and names of current players.
A close look reveals name plaques of former players inside the lockers.

Photo Credits: Beach Volleyball and Team Photo taken by MSU Communications and Brand Strategy; All other photos taken by Katie Kelly, Communications Manager, University Scholarships & Fellowships

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