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Club sports: Companions and champions

By LibMueller
On April 3, 2014

Varsity sports at Miami University are extensively covered in both print and online news. You can track scores and read up on wins and losses with the tap of a finger or quick scan of a newspaper page. But there are a few unusual club sports you may not know much about-and their athletes find as much joy in team companionship as in victories.

Club roller hockey vice president and treasurer Calvin Fix said the team has recently celebrated some major successes.

"We just finished our second season in which we were regular season champs of the MCRHL (Midwest Collegiate Roller Hockey League)," Fix said. "This is our second consecutive regular season title. We went 16-2. We made it to the regional championship game where we lost in double overtime to Central Michigan."

Although Miami is lauded for its ice hockey team, the Miami club roller hockey team is a force to be reckoned with as well. Because of their performance during the regular season, they are still going to the National Championships.

"All year, we were ranked in the top five in the nation," Fix said. "We are going into our National Championships this year as the number five seed."

Nationals begin Tuesday, April 8. Fix said the team is anticipating triumph.

"We fully expect to come out of it with a national title," Fix said. "Our biggest competition right now is Central Michigan."

If you go watch a roller hockey game, don't expect it to be exactly the same as an ice hockey match, but expect it to be equally exciting.

"Instead of five-on-five, it's four-on-four, so there's more space," Fix said. "There's no checking, so instead of a muscle game, it's more of a finesse and skill game. It's an exciting sport. Most people hear that there's no checking, so they think it's boring. But it's actually really exciting and compared to ice hockey, there's a lot more speed. The games are also extremely high scoring games. There are more goals."

Fix said rather than the thrill of a win, the best part of roller hockey is the team.

"We get to travel, and the thirteen of us get to hang out, compete in the games and experience success together," Fix said.

Katie Hunt, vice president of the club women's water polo team, agreed that the team is the best part of her club sport.

"They're family," Hunt said. "It's just great to go into the pool at the end of the day, even if it was long and full of exams, and release stress and talk to some of my favorite people."

Hunt said Nationals are rapidly approaching for water polo as well.

"We gave Notre Dame and Grand Valley State tough competition, and those two have recently been the top teams in our conference, so it's hopeful for Nationals," Hunt said. "The team's looking really strong. We play with intensity at practice, which translates into games more than ever before."

According to Hunt, there is a Midwest Division Championship Saturday, April 12. The Miami water polo team will play rivals Notre Dame and Grand Valley State. If they win, they will go to Nationals.

"Our goal is to win that conference and go to Nationals," Hunt said. "It's a big goal, but based on what I've seen, it's attainable."

Media liaison for the Miami club dodgeball team, Sam Clark, said club dodgeball has had reason to celebrate as well.

"We played a tournament against Towson University. We had only nine players and they had fifteen, but we actually beat them 4-1," Clark said.

Unfortunately, the MU team had to forfeit because at least 10 players are required, but that didn't stop the dodgeball team from counting the tournament as a success.

Clark said he hopes to raise more awareness about the club dodgeball team and recruit more players. Dodgeball is a way to tap into a competitive spirit and be part of team without committing too much time, Clark said.

"The best part is having something structured and competitive to do that isn't cutthroat," Clark said. "I know a lot of guys on the team have a competitive atmosphere but don't necessarily have time for a varsity sport."

The wide variety of club sports teams at Miami boast both talent and dedication to close-knit teams who, through wins and losses, have written their own unique success stories.

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