When Jenna Grider-Ortega and Erica Raisor took over as co-directors of Hope Area Volleyball Club (HAVOC) in 2016, it had two middle school teams and four high school teams.
The following year, HAVOC had six middle school teams and five high school teams. Last year, the club fielded 27 teams in total with around 260 players and 32 staff.
Due to the club’s growth, HAVOC began looking for its own facility. On June 1, it closed on a 7,800 square foot property on the east side of Columbus on Eastwood Drive, just north of 25th Street.
“We’re just getting bigger,” Ortega said. “We were running out of space in the schools to the point where we had to downsize drastically and make a lot of changes. It allows us to be more open.
HAVOC, which attracts players from Bartholomew and surrounding counties, primarily used Hauser High School’s main field and gymnasium. It used a temporary facility near the airport from October 2020 to April 2021 during the COVID pandemic.
Using school facilities, HAVOC had to schedule practice times for school teams.
“It’s great (now) because we can go in and out whenever we want, and it’s up to us,” Ortega said. “It’s not temporary. It’s our home for good, and we can do with it whatever we want. It’s been one of our goals and our vision for so long that it’s good that it’s happening.
Co-directors Erica Raisor, left, and Jenna Grider-Ortega pose for a photo in front of the new HAVOC facility on the east side of Columbus.
The facility includes two full-size courts, as well as a lobby and coaches office. Ortega, in his second year coaching Columbus North, had the Bull Dogs practice there Monday and Tuesday while North’s floor was being waxed.
“We’ve wanted our own facility for a long time, and when COVID hit, we had a temporary home,” Ortega said. “Then last year we moved back to Hauser. It’s just trying to find a local place that we wanted to be, an area that would benefit whatever we were looking for. We’ve been looking for a long time. Erica has spent a lot of time to look for, and then it happened. It’s perfect for what we needed as a training center. We’re not going to have any tournaments here, but we can be here as much as we want too as long as we want without having to go through the schools and stick to their schedule.
HAVOC started in 2003 when Ortega and Raiser were in high school at Hauser. Jets coach Jeff Case and former assistant Becky Schoen led the program until Ortega and Raisor (Case’s daughter) took over in 2016.
The Hope Area Volleyball Club (HAVOC) has moved to a facility on the east side of Columbus.
Raisor currently hosts a boys’ volleyball program twice a week and hosts weekly skills nights with female players at the new facility.
“The big benefit of having our own facility was to get our girls to the gym and our boys as much as possible so we could give them more practice time, more touches, which not only helps them improve as an athlete, but improve the school systems and their programs as well,” Raisor said. “A lot of girls are athletes in general and use athletics as a kind of outlet, and we have our own house, our own house, that’s a constant, and the girls will feel more comfortable get into a place where they feel at home and are just able to relax and play ball and focus on getting better.