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November 2005

Glendale Arena Hosts Girl's High School State Championships

Congratulations to all the participants of the AIA State Championships.

Thanks to all who supported this event at the Glendale Arena. It makes a difference for our sport!

Click on the Division to see the tournament bracket finish.

It was first brought up in 2002.

One venue, over 100 high school volleyball teams, and the best each division has to offer.

It took till 2005, but this past November, the dream became a reality.

The Arizona High School Volleyball Championships crowned 7 different division champions over the weekend of November 4th and 5th as the Glendale arena was the one-stop shop for athletes, parents, coaches, fans, recruiters and college scouts.

University of Arizona head coach Dave Rubio attended the event and said, “Overall, it was a very positive step for high school volleyball for the state of Arizona. I could feel the energy level as soon as I walked into the arena! I thought that all the teams and the players, parents and support groups made for a lively environment.”

Chuck Schmidt, the Assistant Executive Director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, (AIA), which is the governing body of high school athletics in Arizona, was equally upbeat about his organizations first crack at a one venue event.

“ From a lot of the feedback I’ve received, the kids really enjoyed the event and coaches as well.” Schmidt said. “The 1A kids were on the same stage as the 5A kids and the crowd had an opportunity to witness all that and the energy in the facility was absolutely fantastic. You had crowds cheering all the time. It was a lot of fun.”

Some were distressed about the scheduling which became erratic at times. In some cases, teams that were scheduled to play at a certain time actually played two hours before, much to the dismay of parents and fans who had driven great distances and bought tickets to enter only to find their team had already finished.
Schmidt states, “In all of our correspondence with the schools, we had thrown out information to the athletic administrators and the coaches that this event is a first come first serve court basis and we needed a worse case scenario of approximate game time. At one point, we were actually about two hours ahead of schedule which is what we told most of the 4A and 5A coaches where we would be. But then we had a few teams show up late and that caused us to have to wait and then we got into the worst case scenario. Had we been able to stay and fill the courts and keep it moving, we wouldn’t have had those issues.”

Another criticism was the televising of just the 4A Division II and the 5A Division I matches. Schmidt understands the concerns of the other teams, but was bound by a contractual agreement.
“ We’ve had a contract with Cox Communications for the past three years. The division split occurred after we had signed that agreement.” Schmidt recalled. “What ended up happening were the conferences that got split into the divisions, we already had a contract in place for the televising of volleyball for both 4A and 5A. So Cox can televise two games, which have historically been the 4A and 5A games. And while we are trying to give equal exposure to each division we have to sometimes choose between which sport is going to be televised. As an example, we did 4A division II volleyball, but in softball we’ll probably do 4A division I. That was out of our control.”

Grand Canyon University head coach Kris Naber enjoyed the chance to see so many high level athletes in one venue. “As a college recruiter, the format was very beneficial to seeing a ton of teams in one location, on one day. Playing at the Glendale Arena had to have given the athletes a feeling of playing in the big time.”
Her only complaint was the playing of several of the finals at the same time. “I felt like having that many championship matches going at the same time, it overshadowed the specialty of being one of the two finalists.” Naber added.

“ We’re going to evaluate the overall format of the tournament and I think we can make some positive changes to how we’ll schedule those games.” Schmidt says, but acknowledges that the AIA’s hands are tied until the legislative council agrees on a 2 out of 3 game format or a 3 out of 5 game format for the 2006 season. Until that decision is made, the AIA will take a wait and see attitude. Yet Schmidt agrees, “There are definitely some things that we are going to improve on as we do with all of our tournaments.”

“ I think the biggest thing I’d like to improve on is creating a scenario where the event is a little more fan friendly and a little more specific as far as how it will work. But we have to wait and see what will happen with the 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5.” Schmidt says.

Regardless, Schmidt is proud to call this first time around a success and adds, “I think next year we’re going to have an even bigger and better event.”

New Girl's Open Division Format Offering More Play in Less Tourneys

Girl's teams that are entering the Open Division this 2005-2006 season are in for some changes.

The Junior Board of the Arizona Region voted this summer to overhaul the way Open Division tournaments are played to give those Open teams more matches and still allow for enough free weekends to play the variety of National tournaments and Qualifiers that dot the landscape of the club calendar.

The format was the 6 or 8 team bracket currently used in the Club Division. The new format will consist of pool play in the morning followed by a tournament bracket. This gives those Open Division teams a minimum of 5 matches in the all-day tournament as opposed to the three they previously played with the Club format.

Even though the Junior Board gave the Open Division one less tournament than last season they will play more matches - 20 matches in four tournaments versus the 15 matches they played last year in five tournaments - an increase of 25% more matches for the season.

The Junior Board was joined by various college coaches in seeing the need for the Open Division to garner more matches throughout the season. With this change, the Region is on it's way

Nov 2005

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