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April 2005


Line Judges Not Needed!

For two hours on a sunny afternoon in late April, a volleyball game became the center of a small universe.

No, Misty and Kerri played in Tempe, delighting the throng of fans that had flocked to see the AVP’s Arizona stop.

This game was in a dot sized town of less than 1000 residents that sits smack dab on the border of Arizona and Mexico called Naco.

For two hours this sunny afternoon, residents of Naco, from both the Arizona side and the Mexico side set up nets across a border to symbolize the knocking down of walls and barriers.

Paul Tompkins, a computer teacher for the local school district helped organize the event which had been a tradition since the 1970’s but took a year off last year. But this year’s game took on a bigger meaning.
The controversial “Minuteman Project” has put Naco at the center of a national debate and brought to the town its own unique set of problems.

“Our main goal was unity and to show that we are one community even though we have this wall here.” The wall of which Tompkins speaks is 10-12 feet of girded steel that separates two countries.

Tompkins cleaned out a drainage ditch at a low spot in the wall, and built two volleyball courts that were big enough to handle the participants, which numbered nearly 100. Kids from local orphanages and church groups from the area and as far as San Diego came out and served it up. ‘We came and we played volleyball and everybody pretty much had a great time, “Tompkins says unassumingly.

Enrique Marones, from the San Diego group said "It's all about the spirit of cooperation. Building bridges of communication, not fences of separation. A great way to show we're all the same race, the human race."

“I love it. I’m not any good.” Chuckles Tompkins about why he chose volleyball. “It’s just that everyone enjoys it!” Tompkins hopes to continue the tradition next April as well.

Tornadoz Sweep Storm for Second Straight Region 12's Title

AZ Sky’s 12-Tornadoz defeated Arizona Storm’s 12-1’s team to win the Arizona Region 12’s Championships on April 2nd giving Coaches Sean Parchmann and Denise Nasser their second straight Region 12’s crown.

AZ Sky 12-Tornadoz is the 12's Champion

“I really don’t know what to say, other than I am really proud of the girls, we are a very solid all around team,” lauded Parchmann. “We really pushed them this year and they responded, especially with jump serving.”
Tornadoz captain Heidi Thompson led her squad with five kills and eight aces. “It’s really exciting, this season was really good as we lost only one set all year,” said a grinning Thompson. Alex Willcoxson added five kills and 2 aces for the Tornadoz.

Early in set one, AZ Sky broke open a close match with a six point run to take a commanding 10-4 lead. Later in the set, Sky ran another five points and swept the opening frame, 25-15. Thompson and Willcoxson had three kills each in the first frame.

The Storm showed their resolve in set two, leading 8-4 early on by strong serving by Nicole Battle and the net play of Paige Pfeiffer, who led Arizona Storm with 12 kills in their semifinal win over AZ Sky Blue Ice. The Tornadoz found themselves down 18-13 when Parchmann called a timeout. Willcoxson recalls that team huddle. ”We needed to talk more and shake off our mistakes.” She said. “We weren’t concentrating.” Parchmann told his team to take a deep breath; smile and focus on playing their game, looking for a little refocus time.

AZ Storm 12-1 is the Runner Up

Sky went on a six point run and tied the score at 20-20 when Storm Coach Mindy Buhrow called a timeout. But with Sky down 21-20, Thompson went back and jump served four aces and a service winner for a 25-20 Tornadoz victory to set off a wild celebration by the team and parents.

Storm coach Buhrow was gracious in defeat. “AZ Sky is a very solid team, very dynamic,” applauded Buhrow. “I am very proud of our team as we played ball for ball with them. Overall, I could not have asked for a better 1st year experience with a great group of girls.”

Storm’s Pfeiffer agreed. “It feels really good (to finish 2nd), I’m really proud of our team, it was a lot of fun,” stated Pfeiffer.

AVP Tour Stop Leaves it’s Mark on the Region

The AVP Pro Volleyball Beach Tour made it’s now annual stop at Tempe City Beach Park on April 22-24th delighting casual and die hard fans with the chance to participate, volunteer and cheer on the best beach players in the world displaying their enormous talents.

2004 Athens’ Gold Medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh were pushed to the limit by Elaine Youngs and Rachel Wacholder, but came away with their third straight Tempe Open Women’s title. The capacity crowd was then delighted to a nip and tuck Men’s Finals match win for Stein Metzger and Jake Gibb over Dax Holdren and Jeff Nygaard.

As just a fan, you may have missed the other involvement the Arizona Region had in this stellar event. You may have noticed bright yellow shirts scurrying across the sand to shag balls, or change the score boards. Chances are those were your junior players from the Region who volunteered their time and energy for a chance to be a part of the AVP. Most walked away with a smattering of sharpie-stained autographs of their favorite players on their yellow shirts and visors, and perhaps a bit of sun in the process.

In addition to the volunteers, the region also helped to provide statisticians and sponsor help for the three day event. And let’s not forget the handful of local beach players who shrug off the long odds of making a dent in the tournament’s Saturday draw and battle Friday in the qualifying portion of the tournament.

AVP Commissioner Leanard Armato couldn’t be happier with the Tempe stop. “The players love it. The amenities are wonderful. There’s a great volleyball following and it’s growing by the minute. Being in the hub of Arizona State University is also a great draw for us. It helps bring in the next generation of AVP players. So we’re delighted with our progress in the market.”

Even though the tour stop battled for sports fans that had NASCAR and the playoff Phoenix Suns on the same weekend, Armato was still encouraged. “Maybe next year we won’t come in when every single sporting event is the city is happening at the same time.” He says tongue firmly in cheek.

“ Our attendance figures were up from last year so we were delighted with the attendance. We had a packed stadium even after we had almost doubled the seating this year, so we were very pleased.”

The Tempe stop is one of the most costly for the AVP tour, as sand has to be trucked in two weeks before the event, and then vacuumed up after. “We have to create a real beach in a beach park,” Armato says, “but at the same time, it’s a terrific environment.”

Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said the city was thrilled to host AVP for the third year, citing estimates that the event delivers a $2 million direct impact to Tempe hotels, restaurants and businesses each year.
" Spectators and athletes alike get to soak up the sun and fun in the great environment of Tempe Town Lake," Hallman said. "We hope to continue this relationship for many years."

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April 2005

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