Volleyball leagues heat up North Avenue Beach

By Taylor Hartz | Staff Writer

On any given summer night, volleyball nets hang across North Avenue Beach in Lincoln Park, as teams gather to bump, set and spike volleyballs through the air.

The courts are open to the public so long as players bring a net, but leagues like Chicago Sport and Social Club, S3 and Players Sports Group give teams access to beachfront courts, nets, balls and organize matches.

One Monday night in late July, even as storm clouds rolled in over Lake Michigan, at least 20 teams were spread across the beach for 7:30 p.m. games. As the games started, players shouted encouragement over the sounds of crashing waves and seagulls.

For volleyball veteran Nick Ferrell, North Avenue Beach is where it’s at. Ferrell currently plays with Chicago Sport and Social Club though he has played with Players and will join a second summer league with S3 soon.

Each league has its own flavor. With Chicago Sport Social, players take the game seriously and players know each other and are looking to win a few games, Ferrell said. On the other hand, Ferrell explained, a league like S3, which stands for Simply Social Sports, are more focused on socializing. S3 teams are made up of random sign ups, so players have a
chance to make new friends.

“Beach volleyball is one of my favorite sports because you really rely on your
team to win and you’re close enough to your teammates that you can chat and catch up, and have fun while you play,” Ferrell said, “You also can get up to speed without being in the best shape of your life.”

Shoshanna Muszynski gets ready to serve during a volleyball game at North Avenue Beach. Photo by Taylor Hartz

For new player Shoshanna Muszynski, North Avenue Beach has been the ideal spot for her first season of volleyball.

“The area we have is reserved for volleyball so there isn’t much of a crowding issue. We get an amazing view of downtown at North Avenue. It’s also very central for everyone on our team.”

Muszynski is new to city sports leagues
and she said the experience at the beach
has been great.

“My favorite part has been seeing how well you can use a team to play better.
It’s a sport you can’t play alone, and the harmony between teammates is so vital. I love the feeling when we play really well together, even if we lose,” she said.

“There’s no better feeling than improvement and seeing everyone smiling no matter the score.”

Anyone interested can check out the sports leagues’ websites for more information or just head down to North Avenue Beach to watch players enjoy the summer sport with a great view of the lake and city skyline.

Published August 2, 2018

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