COLUMBIA — After a pass from one male teammate to another, Nicole Murphy started yelling.
"Girl, girl, girl, girl" Murphy said quickly, reminding Team Quinn to get a female player to touch the volleyball before it returned to the opponent's side of the net.
A rule in coed volleyball is in place to ensure that play between the sexes remains fair. If the ball is hit more than once, a female has to touch it before sending it over the net.
Twelve teams played in the Show-Me State Games coed volleyball competition on Sunday at Columbia College. The teams not only had a mix of men and women, but also age and experience.
Team Quinn of Columbia had players aged 17 to 51. It won the tournament last year, but did not place this year.
After last year's title, the team was reassembled this year with two new players and led again by Tracy Quinn, who has played volleyball for 21 years and coached for six years at Capital Area Volleyball Club in Jefferson City. Two of the Team Quinn members had college volleyball experience and all but one has played for at least a decade.
Quinn said the Team Quinn members have grown to know each other through play at the YCMA in Jefferson City.
"We're a close-knit group. We like to win, but we also like to have fun," said Julie Flanner, 30, who has been playing volleyball for 18 years.
The youngest player, Zach Henson, is 17 and going to be a junior at Blair Oaks High School in the fall. He just began playing volleyball last August.
"I can't believe how fast he's picking up passing," Brian Vaughn said, watching Henson from the bleachers. Vaughn has played with the members of Team Quinn many times at the YMCA during pick-up games, held every Thursday night during the summer.
Flanner and Murphy both said that coed volleyball can be more competitive than women's.
"The guys just hit so much harder," Flanner said to her teammate, Kari Boeckman.
Boeckman said that the taller net made it difficult for women. At the tournament, the net height was between the standard height for men and women's play. This made it easier for the men to jump high and spike.
"The nets should be set at standard men's height, which is 7-11 and 5/8," Quinn said. "But the nets were set a little low this weekend."
Quinn said that one main difference between coed and men's volleyball is the attitude of the players.
"With that much testosterone on the court, it can get rowdy," Quinn said about men's volleyball. "When you have women around, it tempers some of the guys' attitudes."
"I love watching volleyball. Coed is harder for the women, but it's fun to see the men jump three feet in the air," said Lorna Murphy, who came from Jefferson City to watch her daughter Nicole Murphy play. "Plus, I love watching these girls block the guys. It's so fun."