Bringing roundnet to campus

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Visit the volleyball court on any Wednesday night and you’ll find one TCU student who’s hoping his sport will become the newest trend on campus.

Nicholaus Noguez, a sophomore communication studies major, heard about Roundnet five years ago in his hometown of Wylie, Texas.

“I started playing with a couple of high school buddies of mine and then we realized that there is actually a competitive aspect to it,” Noguez said.

Noguez entered his first tournament in April of 2017 and in his words, was “destroyed,” losing 0-16.

The result did not discourage him but encouraged him to get better and play more.

“After seeing the community and seeing so how many people got together to play the sport they all loved, I wanted to continue playing here at TCU,” Noguez said.

What is Roundnet?

Roundnet is a sport inspired by the basics of volleyball that contains a round net, held up by pegs and a similarly shaped but smaller ball.

The Roundet club practices outside on the volleyball courts on a Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of Nick Noguez.

“The game consists of two teams with two players,” Noguez said. “Each team is granted up to three touches, or hits, before having to put onto the net. Just like in volleyball, you don’t have to use all three touches, but it helps to control the ball.”

Opponents are able to run around the entire net to hit the ball with their hand or any part of their body.

Bringing Roundnet to TCU

Noguez, president of TCU’s Roundnet club, and his friend Matthew Dena, a first-year political science major and the club’s vice-president, decided to start a club team to not only teach the sport but to also practice and compete.

“I moved into Milton Daniel and saw that he had a spikeball net,” Dena said. “That’s really what brought us together and why not get others into this amazing game that we just love.”

The two were able to get approval from the Student Government Association in January to start the club sport and have been meeting up and gaining members since.

Members meet Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. on the volleyball courts, weather permitting, or at the racquetball courts inside the Recreation Center and Saturdays in the Commons at 2 p.m.

The Roundnet club practices inside the racquetball while it is cold outdoors. Photo courtesy of Nick Noguez.

“We have a running group chat if people want to play informally, but it’s a sport you can take anywhere and that’s the beauty of it,” Noguez said. “You don’t have to have a formal soccer field or a giant football stadium to play, you can fold it up and take it anywhere, literally play it in a tree.”

Dena said that the club has about 15 members and is quickly growing as people see that this is a sport anyone can play.

“We’re trying to bring people together over a new sport, introduce a new type of community to TCU,” Dena said.

Spikeball Inc.

Noguez said that Spikeball Inc. is the governing body and one of the leading manufactures of the sport, all pro-tournaments use them.

“There are three to four brands that sell the roundnet nets, Spikeball was the first one that I had, but when I went to a tournament, they only use SpikeBall nets,” Noguez said.

Logan Cornelius, Senior Operations Manager at Spikeball Inc. and pro player, has become a mentor for Noguez and has helped him get into contact with local schools to teach the sport.

“I have started working for Spikeball to teach classes on the sport, to make sure that people are learning that this a sport that people can play for the rest of their lives,” Noguez said.

Nick Noguez, bottom left, takes a selfie with students he taught Spikeball to at Centennial High School in Burleson, Texas. Photo courtesy of Nick Noguez.

In February, Noguez traveled to Austin to teach the game to 37 physical education teachers who then taught their students and purchased Spikeball nets for their classes.

With the help of Cornelius, Noguez has been able to reach out to several other schools to either teach directly to students or to train PE teachers on the sport.  

More than just a sport

The game of roundnet has been more than just a sport for Noguez: it’s served as an outlet that challenges him and develops his character.

“The sport has definitely developed me mentally,” said Noguez. “Playing the game itself requires a lot of discipline. It is easy to get in your head after missing a few serves or not getting easy shots. Working through that definitely reflects in life and getting out of tough situations you find yourself in.”

Noguez said that he has met his best friends through the sport and has become passionate about teaching the sport because it is so fun for him.

Matthew Dena (left) and Nick Noguez (right) set up a table for a club fair in Waits hall to, spread the word about the new club sport team. Photo courtesy of Nick Noguez.

Each week Noguez feels more connected to his friends and peers who join in on Wednesday nights to play.

“My hope is to make a national appearance by the time I graduate,” Noguez said. “I may be a dreamer, but I want TCU to take the national title at the college nationals”