Montpelier High School junior Owen Jones still remembers the time he saw a volleyball match between Brazil and Japan. “It looked so challenging and fun at the same time … I decided to watch more volleyball. When I found out my cousin played for Essex High School and I went to watch their games … I knew I had to play this game.” At the time Montpelier didn’t offer volleyball to boys. In 2022, Owen met with Montpelier athletic director Matt Link. Link knew that other kids were gravitating toward volleyball and a team was formed. According to Wyatt Smith, some Montpelier high schoolers were drawn to the game because they knew that Cam Mack, an ultimate frisbee coach and “an awesome guy” had agreed to coach the volleyball team as well.Smith wanted to give volleyball a try because the skill set matches his own strengths: “I’m really good at jumping from ultimate and basketball.” For about ten years, interest in volleyball among high school boys has been growing across the country. It’s fast paced, the injury rate is lower than for most other sports, and the equipment, nets, and volleyballs can be found in any school storage closet. Then there’s the flexibility: you can play volleyball on a field, in the gym, and on the beach. “Volleyball is one of the most team-oriented sports in the world,” Jones notes. “Since a player can’t touch the ball two times in a row, they’re forced to rely on teammates to effectively send the ball to the other side of the net. Because of this, the culture of volleyball is extremely positive.” Link is proud of this still-new MHS team, which has been playing as junior varsity and is now ready to move to varsity next year. They hope to have the numbers to also support a JV team. “For the kids who started with us the first year … to see them now playing at a level that is indistinguishable from other top varsity teams in the state is great to witness,” says Link. Jones is determined to play when he gets to college. “I look forward to the challenge.” Smith will probably focus on ultima at the college level. “I’m still likely to play some pick up games or beach volleyball because I love the sport. … [Playing in high school] was a fun experience. … I’m glad I was able to be part of bringing the (boys) volleyball team at MHS to life and to help make the team become varsity in the future.” Editor’s Note: Montpelier High School has a girls volleyball team that plays at both the junior varsity and varsity levels.