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ABERDEEN | Construction work has begun on a new Aberdeen volleyball facility as the sport gains popularity in the area.

The new Matchbox Sport Recreation Center under development at Centennial Commons will bring volleyball competitors to Aberdeen. Local volleyball players usually had to travel outside the city to compete in club tournaments.

Members travel from across northeastern South Dakota and North Dakota to compete, said Alexz Smith, Matchbox owner and club director.

The private 12,000-square-foot center will primarily host the Matchbox volleyball club, but there will also be opportunities to host camps, clinics, private lessons and tournaments.

"The concept in itself is pretty confusing to people. It's a private athletic facility, not a school, with the ability to offer independent sports instruction," Smith said.

Last year was the club's first season, which runs January through June. Nearly 200 players ages 8 to 18 participated, but Smith hopes the group will expand once it finds its home.

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"Right now, we practice wherever we can. A lot at (Presentation College) or wherever we can get it. Wherever we can find space, we try to snag it up," Smith said.

Smith is hopeful that more Aberdeen athletes will join the volleyball club once the new facility is built.

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