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Region Beach is Back!!!

The Arizona Region’s Junior Beach program is back for its third year. The program has become a model for other regions across the country and this year promises to be even better!

In addition to 9 regular tournaments in which the top point earners will have their entry into USAV Jr. Beach Nationals paid for, there is also a High Performance tournament wherein the winners will receive free entry into the USAV Beach High Performance Camp, a Father/Daughter tournament on Father’s Day, a coed tournament and a tournament for female college players, past and present!

To download the 2006 Beach brochure, go to http://www.azregionvolleyball.org/beach/BeachBrochure06.pdf. For a schedule of times and events, go to http://www.azregionvolleyball.org/beach/index.html

AVP Still needs Volunteers

The AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour is looking for volunteers for the Tempe Open held May 5-7 th at Tempe Beach Park.
Volunteers receive an AVP Tour "Event Staff" t-shirt, lunch and beverages, subscription to the AVP newsletter and plenty of interaction with AVP athletes.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer member of the AVP 2006 team, the AVP would love to hear from you. Each volunteer is expected to work a minimum of two 6 hour shifts (morning or afternoon). A brief description of each volunteer position is below.

Volunteers are accepted on a first come first serve basis. Applications are NOT being taken at the Arizona Region Office and need to be faxed, e-mailed or mailed to the AVP office numbers listed on the application. All applicants need to fill out the application and waiver that can be downloaded here.

Boys, Boys, Boys  

The Arizona Region is committed to growing the sport of boy’s volleyball and has made it a goal to increase the number of boys clubs and participants for the upcoming season. If you or you know someone who is interested in starting a boys program in Arizona, contact the Region office for a c.d. that will help in that venture. Put out by the education department of USA Volleyball, “How to Start a Boy’s Club” is free for those interested.


Check the Arizona Region site at www.azregionvolleyball.org and check out the Camps link to find links to several volleyball camps going on around Arizona and surrounding areas.

High Performance

The Arizona Region has announced the particulars of its High Performance Camp to be held June 2-4 th at Kingdom Courts in Phoenix.

The Camp will be under the direction of Melissa Wolter, the head coach at the University of Western Florida and the Assistant Coach for the USA Youth National team the past two years and Erikka Gulbranson, the current coach at Vanguard University in Southern California and the Assistant Coach for the USA Youth National Team the past three seasons.

In addition to running the camp, these two will also use the camp as a chance to identify any players they feel might be possible material for future National Team consideration.

Age divisions for the camp will be as follows:

The HP Select campers must be Girls born in 1992, 1993 and after

The Youth campers must be Girls born in 1990 and 1991

There are no exceptions to this as anyone being considered for the National teams will have to fall in these age divisions.

The Arizona Region has trained and sponsored a team the past five years that has participated in the High Performance Championships. The camp figures to offer more athletes the chance to be introduced to the High Performance Program and the methods taught at the U.S. Olympic training level, as well as give coaches a chance to learn and teach these USA Volleyball techniques as well.

The Region will reevaluate the program next season and make a determination at that time to work on choosing a traveling team once again, or continue the HP camp.

Camp Itinerary

Friday, June 2

HP Select Check-in 11:30-Noon
HP Select Session I Noon till 3 – (3 hours)
HP Youth Check-in 3:00-3:30
HP Youth Session I 3:30-6:30 – (3 hours)

  Saturday, June 3

HP Select Session II 8:00 a.m.-10:00 – (2 hours)
HP Youth Session II 10:00- Noon (2 hours)
HP Select Session III 2:00-5:00 (3 hours)
HP Youth Session III 5:00-8:00 (3 hours)

  Sunday, June 4

HP Select Session IV 9:00-Noon (3 hours)
HP Youth Session IV 3:00-6:00 (3 hours)



After four years of building the volleyball team at Vanguard, hard work finally paid off for Gulbranson and the 2004 VU volleyball Lions. Coming off a winning 2003 season (14-12) she and the Lions produced the program’s first back-to-back winning seasons with a 25-14 mark, breaking the school record for wins in a season for the second straight year. In addition, the Lions finished 11-9 in GSAC and made the postseason playoffs for the first time since the 1994 season. Lifting her overall coaching record at Vanguard to 54-70, Gulbranson will continue the process of taking the Vanguard volleyball program to the next level.

Gulbranson has thirteen years of coaching experience to her credit, including junior national, club, high school, individual, camp, and clinic experience. At the university level, Erikka has been an assistant at CSUB, University of Idaho, Utah State University, and most recently at the University of Southern California. After serving two summers as an assistant coach for the USA Girl’s Youth National Team (GYNT) in international competition, Gulbranson took over the head coaching role this past summer. Guiding the USA GYNT to a fourth place finish at the 18U World Championships in China, Gulbranson continues to expand an already vast coaching resume and growing knowledge of the game.

Gulbranson was a four-year team captain as a player at Cal State Bakersfield, and helped lead the Roadrunners to three NCAA Division II Championship appearances and two second-place finishes. The outside hitter was invited to try out for the US National Team following her senior season.

Erikka attained a B.S. degree in Physical Education and a M.A. in Education at CSUB. She is single and makes her home in Long Beach.

Melissa Wolter

The University of West Florida found the perfect fit for the new head coach of the fourth-year Argonaut volleyball program in Melissa Wolter. Wolter took over the young program in 2003 and also serves as the UWF Senior Woman Administrator. In just her first year at West Florida, Wolter led the team to its best season record yet of 24-7, including a 15-match winning streak and the Argos' second straight bid to the Gulf South Conference Tournament. Her 2003 squad also set team season records in all categories: kills, attacks, hitting percentage, digs, blocks, service aces and assists. The Argonauts made their first appearance in the AVCA Top 25 and ended the season nationally ranked for hitting percentage (25th), kills per game (20th) and assists per game (26th).

Wolter joined the UWF staff from University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisc. a fellow NCAA Division II institution. She was the head coach of the UWP Rangers for three years, and prior to that time served as an assistant after graduating from UWP in 1998. Wolter led the Rangers to their seventh-straight Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament in the fall of 2002 with a winning record of 16-11. In addition, Wolter was named the Assistant Director of Marketing for the UWP Athletic Department in 2001.

Outside of her responsibilities at UWP, Wolter has nine years of experience with camps in the state of Wisconsin and coached Junior Olympic volleyball with teams such as Wisconsin Power, Milwaukee Sting and Wisconsin Select. In 2002, she took on the role of the Chair of the Badger Region High Performance programs, the entry level program for the USA Volleyball pipeline. This past summer, Wolter earned the high honor of being selected as one of two assistant coaches for the USA Youth National Team. The team traveled to Puerto Rico in early July to compete in the NORCECA Championships. The USA Youth National Team went 4-0 winning the gold medal and a chance to compete in the 2005 Youth World Championships.

In her collegiate career, Wolter was a four-year starter and three-year captain for the Rangers from 1993-96. She was twice named to the All-Conference Academic Team. Also as a student, she was a member of the Student-Athlete Mentor Program and athletic council. Hailing from Waunakee, Wisc. Wolter helped lead her prep team to four consecutive state tournaments, claiming the championship twice. She also competed with the Wisconsin Volleyball Club. Wolter earned a B.S. in business administration from Wisconsin-Parkside with a minor in communications in 1998.


Cost for the HP Select camp is $165

Cost for the HP Youth camp is $165

A $50 deposit must accompany your High Performance Application and Medical Release form.

Even if you already have a medical release form filled out from your club team, you will still need to download this and fill it out.

You will receive an e-mail letting you know if you were one of the first 50 campers to register . If your registration arrives late, your check and forms will be returned to you.

Mail the completed registration form, and the medical release form with your deposit to:

The Arizona Region of USA Volleyball
2105 S. 48 th St. Ste #108
Tempe , AZ 85282-1019

Attn: High Performance Camp

For questions, contact erichbke@msn.com

We Are Listening!

With the recent on-line poll regarding the new Open Division format, the Arizona Region received several responses from coaches, players, parents and fans.

While this is the first year of the new format, it is clear from the responses in this unscientific poll that many of you are not happy with it as 86% of you asked the Region to overhaul the format. Most common complaints were the long day, the down time and the fact that there isn't a crossover match.

Most of the positive responses reflected the Region's intent, which was more play for those Open teams to better compete at a National level. The Junior Board will revisit the Open format in their summer planning retreat. If you have input or suggestions, please email your Junior Board representative.

Coaches Corner

Each month, Quick e Sets will bring you some input from coaches around our region and beyond.

Arizona State University recently announced the addition of Mike Wall to their volleyball staff for the 2006 season. Wall comes to ASU from the University of Utah, where he served as an assistant coach for the Lady Utes, helping them to the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season. Prior to joining the staff at Utah, Wall was an assistant at St. Mary's in 2004. The Gaels enjoyed their best season in school history with Wall on their staff, finishing the season at 24-4 and ranked #10. They earned a spot in the Sweet 16 of that year's NCAA Tournament, and went 4-1 against Pac-10 schools, including two wins over eventual National Champion Stanford. He also served as an assistant coach for the UC-San Diego men's program for two seasons.

Wall played collegiate volleyball at BYU, helping lead the Cougars to two National Championships. He earned First-Team All-American honors in 2001, and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament after a three-game sweep of UCLA in the championship game. Wall also earned First Team All-American honors in 2002, and still holds eight BYU records. He went to play volleyball internationally, including two stints with the US National Team before returning to the US to become a coach .

Improving Serve Receive by Changing the Target

Side out and you score a point. A few years back that wasn’t the case. Siding out was about stopping your opponent from scoring points. Now we can stop our opponents from scoring points and in addition score points for ourselves. In the past siding out was the premiere determinant in winning and losing volleyball games. In the present it is even more important. So how do we improve on this event?

We suggest that you move your serve receive target, your setter, off the net. In watching the Brazilian Men’s team, it was noted by Dr. Carl McGown, that their setter would position himself off the net five feet to receive the pass. In fact he would often hang out around the T (where the 3m line and side line meet) and then go to the pass. The passes would generally be off the net and he would go and set from there.

Now what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing this?


  1. Fewer balls will be passed over the net.
  2. Fewer balls will be passed so close to the net that the setter will be unable to make a good and hittable set.
  3. It will allow your setter to move further off the net to make sets on poor passes that are behind the 3m line. It will essentially extend his/her range. Don’t we want our setter to set the ball rather than others on the team?
  4. It will keep the sets off of the net. This is a chief factor in hitters hitting out, being stuffed, and tipping.
  5. It will keep our quick hitters from crowding the net and make it easier to hit around or off the block.


  1. It will take some time to train quick hitters to hit from off the net.
  2. The slide attack angle will have to be changed from parallel to more of an angle approach.
  3. It will take some time to train our passers to pass off the net and not too the net.
  4. You have to spend some time training your setter to be able to move towards the net to set those balls that are passed close without netting.

How far off the net do we pass? I would suggest that you experiment and see what is best for your setter and team. Try three to five feet. Chart your hitters and see how well they hit from passes off the net compared to how well they hit from passes at the net. A coach, who has been working on this concept, with his team this season, found that his hitter’s efficiency was markedly improved when they passed off the net. When charting the hitters he found that his hitters had significantly more kills when being set from off the net. When passed behind the 3m line his hitters tended to have more balls kept in play. Finally, when the passes were from 0-2’ off the net his hitters had many more errors and very few kills.

Remember serve receive will to a large extent determine your team’s success.

 Good luck,
Mike Wall


Please let us know what you think of this newsletter and any ideas you have for future e-newsletter stories or suggestions. Also, what did you think of the Region’s newsletter Covering the Court that was mailed to your home last week. Please send feedback to erichbke@msn.com Thank You.


Argosy University/Phoenix has announced the launch of the Argosy University/Phoenix Center for Excellence in Sport (ACES) at its campus.  Through this new center, students enrolled in the school’s M.A. in Sport-Exercise Psychology and PsyD in Clinical Psychology programs will provide important mental health training and services to Arizona-based sport professionals, athletes, and coaches that will help these individuals sustain both mental and physical well-being in their athletic practice. 

 “We created ACES to establish the sport-exercise psychology program at Argosy University/Phoenix as a provider of sport psychology services in the greater Phoenix area and throughout Arizona,” says Dr. Clinton Gardner, president of Argosy University/Phoenix.  “Students enrolled in our program, as well as coaches, athletic directors, and athletes, will benefit from this collaboration and extension of the top-notch sport-exercise psychology training at our school.”

 Through ACES, students will provide mental preparation strategies and training to a variety of individuals, including athletes, high school and college coaches, parents, and professional league and competitive recreation team members.  Recipients of the training will be taught skills regarding the sharpening of concentration, “mental toughness,” team building, and balancing athletics, work, academics, and family life.

 According to Dr. Robert Harmison, chair of Argosy University/Phoenix’ sport-exercise psychology program and director of ACES, the new center fosters the pursuit of performance and excellence among athletes and related individuals.

 “Through ACES, our graduate students will provide performance enhancement services via workshops, classes, and consultation,” explains Dr. Harmison.  “We will tailor our services to the needs of the athletic community to promote excellence in sport and life.”

 ACES is overseen by Argosy University/Phoenix’ Sport-Exercise Psychology faculty and staff members, which include those credentialed by the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, the United State Olympic Committee, and state licensing boards.

 To commemorate the opening of ACES, Argosy University/Phoenix will host a special kick-off event on Saturday, April 22, 2006 at the school, located at 2233 West Dunlap Avenue.  For more information about ACES and Argosy University/Phoenix, visit www.argosyu.edu/phoenix/aces.  

 Argosy University/Phoenix is one of 13 Argosy University (www.argosyu.edu) campuses and six extension sites in eleven states.  Argosy University offers doctoral and master's and bachelor programs clinical psychology, counseling and education. Argosy University also offers doctoral, master's and bachelor degree programs in business administration, bachelor's degrees in psychology and associate's degree programs in various health sciences fields. Argosy University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA) ( 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602, 1.312.263.0456, www.ncahlc.org).

National Club Qualifier Results

2006 Junior Nationals - Atlanta, GA - National Division

12-National AZ Sky 12-Twisterz
13-National AZ Storm 13-Troopers
14-National East Valley 14-Orange
15-National Arrowhead 15-Ravens
16-National Arizona Jrs 16-1
17-National Desert Sky 17-Flash
18-National Arizona Jrs 18-1

2006 Junior Nationals - Atlanta, GA - American Division

12-American No 12's Division
13-American AZ Sky 13-Freeze
14-American Arizona Jrs 14-1
15-American Arizona Jrs 15-1
16-American East Valley 16-Orange
17-American Zona 17-Errea
18-American Zona 18-Errea

Sun Devil Turf Challenge is Back

One of the Southwest’s best grass tournaments is back again. After a one year scheduling hiatus, the Turf Challenge is back and bigger than ever on April 22nd and 23rd at the practice football fields of Arizona State University.

Cash prizes awarded to the winners of Open, A and B divisions for men and women on Saturday and on Sunday, coed divisions as well as 4’s will be held.

No junior players are allowed in the tournament due to NCAA rules.

To download a registration sheet or for more information go to www.turfchallenge.com.

Coaches Clinic for IMPACT Recertification Scheduled

The Arizona Region has scheduled an IMPACT recertification clinic in conjunction with the High Performance Camp scheduled June 2-4 th.

Coaches will be shown the training and technique used at the National team levels by High Performance National Youth Team Coaches Erikka Gulbranson and Melissa Wolter.

The clinic will be on Saturday, June 3 rd from 12:30- 2 p.m. and Sunday, June 4 th from 12:30-3 p.m. In the off time, coaches may be asked to observe and even participate. The cost for the four hour clinic is $60 which included a Kaepa coach’s polo shirt.

Only 24 coaches will be accepted into this clinic. If you are not sure of your IMPACT status and need to know if you are due for recertification next season, contact the region office by e-mail.

To register, go on the region website at www.azregionvolleyball.org and click on the Coaches Corner tab at the top of the page.

Get Out the Vote

It is election time in the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball. Click on the office name below for the eligibility requirements and a description of duties for each position. Terms of office will commence on June 1st. This will allow all the Board members to take part in the Board/Staff Planning Retreat in July. The following positions are up for election this spring:

Executive Board Positions -

Official's Division Coordinator
Adult Division Coordinator

Junior Board Positions - 2006 Junior Club Zonal Breakdown

Metro Northwest Representative
Metro Southwest Representative

Adult Representatives - (These positions are not Board Positions but are representatives from the Adult Men's and Women's Division that fall under the Adult Division Coordinator)

Female Player Rep
Male Player Rep

Nominations will be taken for all positions until April 14, 2006. Nomination forms for all the positions may be printed off the Region website at www.azregionvolleyball.org.

Executive Board

Junior Board

Adult Player Representative

For questions about any of the positions up for election, contact a sitting Board Member or the AZ Region Office

Once the candidates are known, the information submitted with their nomination forms will be available here to view. The election will begin on April 29th at the Jr Girls Region Championship sites or via mail or email. Voting will be available at all the Region Championship venues except the Jr Girls 12's and the Jr. Boys. A ballot will also be available here to print off and send in or may be requested by email or mail. Voting will conclude on May 13th. All mail in ballots must be received in the AZ Region Office by May 13, 2006 to be counted.

Who may vote -

All Regular members of the Arizona Region may vote for the Executive Board positions.

All Junior Club Directors in the zones that are up for election may vote - 2006 Jr Club Zonal Breakdown

All Regular Adult members on the roster of a men's or women's team may vote for the Male and Female Player Reps.

If you are interested in advertising in the Quick e set Arizona Region e-newsletter, contact Eric at erichbke@msn.com