Arizona Region of USA Volleyball

14's Region Championships 2008

Storm Rains on Kaboom
for 14AAA Regional Gold

Storm 14’s Coach Andja Mann saw it right away.

The Connection.

“ Their amazing connection.” Mann says. “There was an instant bond formed from the beginning of the season. They got along very well and respected everyone’s individuality! This is the closest knit team I have ever had.”

That closeness was a key element in Storm’s win over Arrowhead’s 14 Kaboom for the 14AAA Region title.

Mann says the team’s goals were just that, TEAM goals and as it turned out, more than possible. “One of our season goals was to be the best in the state and finish first at Regionals so their focus was 100% on winning! They were so fired up and nothing was going stand in their way of that Gold medal!” Mann says.

After winning the gold medal at Regionals, Mann says the team taking 13th at Nationals was the capper to an amazing season. And the passion her team played with comes from Mann herself.

“ My coaching philosophy is to have passion for the game of volleyball!” Mann says. “I challenge each one of my athletes to take their game to the next level and have fun doing it. I believe in teaching life long lessons such as team work, good sportsmanship and strong work ethics!”

Mann doesn’t hesitate to put the future of her team on a pedestal. “Many of my girls will venture into high school next year and will travel in many directions in the years to come.” She says prophetically. “I can say that many of them can determine their own destiny with their talent! Every one of these girls is capable of continuing their love of the game in college!”

AZ Storm 13-Thunder Trumps Az. Heat 14-1 for 14AA Title

Rachel Mittlestaedt, the coach of the Az. Storm 13-Thunder team saw her team go after what they wanted.
“ We had been talking about winning regionals for about a month,” Mittlestaedt recalls, “And they had been working really hard for it. I saw them do things that day that I had never seen before like passing consistently and serving strategically.”

That focus to detail earned her Storm 13-Thunder squad the 14AA Championship over Az. Heat’s 14-1’s squad.
“ On the day of regionals the girls really managed to put together everything that they had been working on all season.” Mittlestaedt lauded.

She coached a team that enjoyed the game, the training of the game and most importantly, each other.
“ The most special thing about our team was the way that the girls got along.” She says. “They were all really supportive of each other and really wanted to see their teammates succeed.”

While the team was looking for fun on and off the court, Mittlestaedt brought a solid work ethic to this team that paid off at Regionals. “I don't think that you can ever be too young to learn the value of hard work.” She explains about her coaching philosophy. “We pushed the girls harder than most of them were used to. It was tough at first and I think some of them were unhappy about the work load but by the end of the season they were really disciplined and were pushing each other to do what they knew was the right thing.”

Mittlestaedt sees a big future with her squad. “Many have committed to do great things this summer like High Performance and college camps. If they work hard for another year I think lots of them will have a great chance of making some of the top high school teams in the state.”

Flagstaff Jrs. 14’s Top TSV 14’s for 14A Crown

“ Here we are!”

That’s’ how Flagstaff Jrs. coach Angela Davis described her team on the day of Regionals.

“The day of Regionals, we were prepared.” She says of her Flagstaff Jrs. 14’s squad. “We had talked about success and talked about the heart inside them all season long, and they believed it. Regionals, for us, was a time to show that we had learned from all the bumps & bruises throughout the season, and were ready to say ‘Here we are’.”

With that attitude and an arsenal of offense, they topped Paul Olson’s TSV’s 14’s for the 14A Championship.

While Olson’s squad came up a bit short, he applauds the efforts his girl’s made throughout the season. “I felt all season that all the team lacked was a belief in themselves as individuals and in each other as a team.” Olson says. “During the season when times got tough, the girls would struggle. The week before regionals, we played in the Wigwam Classic and the team learned to play through adversity and gained the confidence they had been lacking all season. That confidence carried over into regionals allowing these girls to push through adversity and have a great day.”

Davis created her own adversity, if you will. “We spent a lot of time doing ‘team bonding’ activities.” She recalls. “One example was the early morning wake-up call that all 12 girls got one Saturday morning, starting at 5:30 a.m. Assistant Coach Danielle O'Rielly and I went to each home and woke each girl up and brought them for donuts and activities! As we woke each girl up, a Kodak moment was also made. It should be noted that I did not have a lot of morning people on the team! Not only did the coaches and the girls have a great time, the parents absolutely loved it!”

Olson appreciated the dedication his girls showed throughout the season. “One of our practice nights was Friday night and we still had almost 100% attendance at every practice.” He recalls. “I feel that dedication is what allowed us to continue to improve so that we had our best tournament the last tournament of the season.”

Olson is a big believer in fundamentals, and how there can’t be enough of them taught to younger players. “My coaching philosophy is to make fundamentals the focus of everything we do.” He explains. “It may take longer to have scoreboard success, but I feel that taking short cuts that allow them to ‘win’ early will stunt their growth as a player in the long run. I also like to get the girls involved in some of the decisions that affect the team such as how we set up our serve receive. Again it takes a little longer for them to ‘GET it,’ but once they do they have a deeper understanding and mastery of the skill. I know there can be a great emphasis placed on winning and I do agree it is important, but I feel the player’s long term development is the most important thing I can do for them as a club coach.”

Davis’ key word is also GET! “For me, success comes from having passion in everything you do!” she says. “What I remind the girls of every practice is that they ‘GET’ to play volleyball! And, what I remind myself everyday, is that I ‘GET’ to coach volleyball. How simple it is to take for granted the little things, like playing volleyball. So, a constant reminder, that they ‘GET’ to play volleyball, is all they need to learn, to love the game!”

May 2008

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