About 30 of Ball State's alumni will be in town this weekend for the annual alumni volleyball match, in which the varsity squad takes on a team comprised of former Cards.
Worthen Arena will be rich with taunts and razzes Saturday, head coach Joel Walton said.
"Sometimes our alumni come into the locker room prior to the match just to talk some smack to our guys," he said.
But stiff competition will not take a back seat to the horseplay: Among the returning alumni will be former all-Americans Todd Reimer and Chris Beerman, "Two of the most competitive players we've seen here in the last 10 years," Walton said. When they team up, "fireworks should be flying."
Greg Romano, who played on the national team until last year; Mark Laugh, who had a tryout with the national team this summer, and played on a professional team in Germany last year; Jeff Robertson, a former starting setter for the Cardinals; and recent graduate Brian Hughes are other former players that will bolster the alumni team.
Many of the alumni come back with surprisingly keen skills, Walton said. "It's almost as if they come back a little bit smarter," he said, "because maybe their bodies aren't doing quite what they used to."
Walton is not worried about the outcome of Saturday's match, however he said the advantage definitely lies with the varsity team. Besides the game, the staff, team and alumni will gather Saturday for a luncheon -- where everyone has a chance to do some catching up.
"Brian Hughes just had a baby with his wife," Walton said, "so my wife's looking forward to holding the baby a little bit.
"It's just really nice for the alumni to be able to come back; get a chance to see the university. And it's nice to get an opportunity to sit down and get reacquainted; find out how everybody's lives are going; see their spouses; see their children."
Ball State's regular season play begins Dec. 1, with Loyola and Quincy in Chicago. The first home match will be against Concordia Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. in Worthen Arena.
The alumni game will take place in Worthen Arena Saturday at 7 p.m.