Women’s club volleyball plays penitentiary game

By: Kyle Isaacs

While other club teams may continue with their ho-hum practices on campus to prepare for their upcoming season, the Xavier women’s club volleyball team is doing things a little bit differently.

For the second year in a row, the team will be heading to Dayton Correctional Institute to host a volleyball clinic and practice with the women who are detained there.

The Xavier Newswire spoke with junior Bridget Hill, the treasurer for the women’s club volleyball team and a three-year player.

Xavier Newswire: Could you explain more about the upcoming event?

Bridget Hill: We are going up to a women’s correctional facility in Dayton (Ohio) to set up a clinic for the women on their volleyball team.

We first had the opportunity last year to go play this team and had an amazing experience. They asked if we would be willing to come back and give them a clinic this year, to give them suggestions on their game and ideas for drills they can do during their practices while they have free time.

XN: What must you do in order to play in the prison (background checks, etc.)?

BH: A few weeks before we go to the prison, we submit a roster of everyone who will be attending, and background checks are done to ensure the safety of both us and the women in the prison. No family members of any inmates are allowed to go in.

(Last year) when we got to the prison, we had to sign in and leave all phones and bags outside of the facility. Keys were the only thing we could bring and those had to be checked in at the front desk. We received guest passes that we were required to keep on at all times while inside. Shoes and volleyball gear had to be run through a metal detector. Also, we were escorted through the yard to the gym.

XN: What was the reaction from the team members after leaving the prison?

BH: There was an array of reactions from our girls after the first time we went, as it was a completely different environment than any of us had ever experienced.

The most prevalent reaction, however, was one of appreciation. We came to realize how much we have and the opportunities we have to share our experience and spread the Jesuit tradition to these women.

The gratefulness we received from the women was almost too much. Something that was not difficult for us to do meant so much to these women who have limited opportunities.

XN: What is the most unexpected aspect of the whole thing for you as an individual?

BH: The most surprising thing that came out of this experience is how friendly some of these women are. They just wanted to talk to new people and hear all about us and about Xavier.

Their coach came up to us after we had finished scrimmaging and told us the women had asked him if they could paint a big “X” up on the wall out of appreciation for our time there. We all felt very humbled and it made us that much more excited to come back and share this experience with more players next year.

XN: What are some of your upcoming tournaments for Club Volleyball?

BH: We are hosting a tournament in Schmidt Field House on Nov. 9 and have traveling tournaments coming up in the spring semester. We hope to take a second group of volleyball girls to the Dayton Correctional Institute next semester as well.