Canterbury women love sand lot volleyball

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Canterbury - posted Fri., Jul. 29, 2011
Silver Star AC player player returns the ball. Photos by Denise Coffey.
Silver Star AC player player returns the ball. Photos by Denise Coffey.

Wendy Dayger watched from the sidelines as her team, the Court Jesters played the Cocktail Girls in outdoor volleyball. “Dead play,” she yelled out, as a ball went out of bounds. The Canterbury resident gave up softball three seasons ago to start a women's outdoor volleyball league. The response has been incredible. “The women are so grateful to have this in the area,” she said.
Offered through the Canterbury recreation department, the league carries eight teams with an average of six to eight players on a team. Currently there are players from 18 to 58. Skill levels range widely, according to Dayger. “Some women started playing volleyball just a few years ago,” she said.
The sand courts are a huge draw.
“You can't beat outdoor volleyball,” said Dayger. “You can dive in the sand and not get hurt.” But she admits that every season it takes a couple of weeks of practice to get her sand legs back.
Each team requires a minimum of four players. Only six players are allowed on the court at a time, but some teams carry up to eight players on the roster. Teams rotate players in and out, as needed. The teams play three games in a match with points up to 25 per game. They play rally points, so points can be scored on every serve. It keeps the game moving along faster, said Dayger.
“You serve as long as the ball continues to drop inside the court boundaries,” she said. “No matter what team is serving, someone is going to score a point.”
In an effort to keep the costs down, team captains are responsible for determining the outcome of any discrepancies. If captains can't come to a mutually agreeable decision, it's an automatic replay.
There are no referees. They judge their own games in order to keep the costs down. Team fees are $100, and non-residents pay a $10 non-resident player fee. The season runs from June to the end of August. Playoffs take the last three weeks in the season.
Towards the end of the season, teams will be split into two divisons based on the standings. Teams play everyone in their division. Standings are recalculated and playoff schedules are made.  
“Everyone gets a chance, no matter where you finished in the league,” Dayger said.

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