College connections bring volleyball team together at Show-Me State Games

Sunday, July 29, 2012 | 8:03 p.m. CDT; updated 10:05 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 30, 2012
Members of the One Hit Wonders volleyball team competed Sunday in the Show-Me State Games.

COLUMBIA — The squeaks of shoes on the floor and whistles being blown echoed throughout the gymnasium. The smack of a volleyball hitting skin could be heard between teammates' yells for the ball.

On one court, a team in bright, neon-yellow T-shirts moved around as the members worked to return the serve of the opposing team. Accompanying an image of a volleyball on the team's shirts was the team's name: One Hit Wonders.

Sunday's adult co-ed volleyball competition was the One Hit Wonders' first time competing in the Show-Me State Games. It was also the first time the group had ever played together as a team. Team captain Nate Leech has been playing volleyball for 15 years and came up with the team's name.

"I felt One Hit Wonders was appropriate since it is our first time playing together," Leech said. "This might be the first time, might be the last, but it's appropriate because we've never played together."

The team is made up of players from Branson and St. Louis. Leech had been thinking about getting a team together for a while, but called up a friend from college about three months ago in hopes of creating a team.

Leech played co-ed intramural volleyball with Brooke Hanchette when they both attended the University of Central Missouri in 1998. Hanchette has been playing for more than 20 years and brought two friends to the team, one friend she played with in high school and the other whom she plays with in St. Louis.

"I came and watched the Show-Me State Games a few years ago," Hanchette said. "I know a lot of teams from St. Louis that play here so I figure I'd join in on the fun."

Despite each individual's experience, playing together as a team for the first time presented challenges. The first few games were spent getting used to each other.

"More than anything, you're scared to pick positions," Leech said. "That and running into other players. The better we communicate, the better we play."

Between games, teammates huddled together and discussed strategy and possible position changes. During games, players congratulated each other on good hits whether the point was won or not. Those who waited to be substituted yelled encouragement and advice from the sideline.

"Everybody is really nice and easy to communicate with," Hanchette said. "It's easy for us to find our groove."

One game had teammates occasionally bumping into each other as two players went for the same ball. With what Leech called a competitively laid back team, what could be tense moments turned into something to joke about later.

"Maybe we should play on opposite sides so we don't run into each other," Charlie Warfield told Hanchette.

Warfield was invited by Leech to play on the team after the two played together in a recreational league in Branson. He has been playing volleyball for 12 years, but Sunday's competition was a new experience.

"It's a different system, a different style," Warfield said. "I've played men's indoor my whole life, so playing co-ed is lots of fun."

Warfield, who is in the process of moving to Branson, also enjoyed seeing the different teams interact.

"The volleyball circle is pretty small. It's cool how everyone knows each other," Warfield said. "Learning Missouri's circles is kind of fun."

Though the team didn't win any games, Hanchette was happy to face quality competition.

"It's fun to get out on a weekend and play with the big kids," she said.

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