By Sunny McMurry
Are you looking for a fun way to spend an evening with your kids? Get dressed in your orange attire and take them to Huff Hall in Champaign to watch the nationally ranked Illini women’s volleyball team in action.
Under the leadership of new head coach Chris Tamas, at this writing, the Illini women have a record of 12 -3. This year’s team is looking great, and the energy and excitement in Huff Hall is contagious.
Our top tips for a successful family outing to an Illini volleyball game:
Despite the campus location, parking is free: The Illini play at historic Huff Gym, which is located just up Fourth Street – not too far from Memorial Stadium. But don’t worry. Parking is free and if you arrive to the game early enough, you can usually find a spot in the lot adjacent to the building. There is also free parking available in the grass next to Huff Hall. Be prepared, though- leaving the lot after the game sometimes takes a while, so either plan to stick around for a little bit after the game or get out to your car as quickly as you can so you can be one of the first to leave.
Tickets need to purchased – but they won’t break your budget. Volleyball is one of the five University of Illinois sports that has paid admission. If you need to buy tickets, find the ticket trailer in the circle drive on the west side of Huff Hall (parking is on the east side). Single game general admission tickets are $6, youth are $3 and U of I students are free with an I-Card. On days with multiple games (like the Illini Classic), ticket prices will vary from about $4 – $15. HOT TIP: If your children are enrolled in the Fighting Illini Kids Club, they will get free admission with their Kids Club cards. For the 2018 Illini Volleyball Schedule, click here.
Get there early to soak in the great atmosphere. Make your way into Huff Hall in time for warm ups, when you can watch both teams in action, enjoy music and concessions and find your seats. Many times, the players will throw out t-shirts to the stands after they are introduced. While you are there, also keep an eye on the Spike Squad, the Illinois volleyball student cheering section.
Where to sit? A few thoughts. Seating on the second level is general admission seating, and is first-come, first-served. Be careful to not have your view blocked by the pillars. A seat on one of the outside edges, or along the stairs is sometimes one of the best seats up there, as opposed to mid-court. For those who want to pay a little more money, the reserved seats offer a great view of the action on the court.
(Advanced tip) Sign up your kids to be ball kids: If you enjoy the games and your child wants to be closer to the action, check out this Chambanamoms article on how to sign your child up to be a volleyball ball kid! For updates and details about the team, also be sure to follow Illinois Volleyball on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/illinivball/.
Have a ball, and Go Illini!
Sunny McMurry is a clinical experiences specialist for early childhood and elementary education programs at the University of Illinois, where she works with students who strive to be teachers. She and husband Jim have three children and enjoy Illini sports, Disney trips, and being active.