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Molten 18-Black coach Kurstan Olaso knew from the beginning of the season that his boys had what it would take to win a Region Championship. “It was a matter of getting better, individually and as a tea, as the season progressed, since we knew our competition would.”
Call him a prophet; call his psychic, but for sure you can call him a Region Champion.
Olaso and his boys defeated the Az. Primitive 18-1 squad two sets to one to win the boy’s 18’s Regional Championships held at HomeCourts in Tempe on December 16th. It was Molten’s 4th straight trip to the finals and third title in those four seasons.
Olaso early season goals with this team were clear. “This team was unique in the sense that we had a lot of individual talent, but not a lot of team chemistry at first.” He says. “It took a couple of months of hard work to get that together. These boys learned a lot about not just the end result, but how to get there and what it takes to get to where they wanted to be.”
The Molten 18-Black lost only two matches all season, a factor Olaso says came from having the team train and play at such a high level always. A factor that the Coach says helped them in their semifinal match against Zona’s 18-1’s team after losing the first set.
Individually, Olaso put great emphasis on accountability and attitude, and his players seem to grasp it. “This team did a great job of supporting one another and helping each other when they were not at their best.” Olaso praises.
“Klayson Barlow and Sean Ostrander stepped up for us in the end with a lot of offense since Gavin Tanner was cramping in the finals. Our middles, Jesse Noble and Randy Blunck, did a great job of blocking and transitioning in the middle for us. And Andy Meissbach, our libero, managed to keep our serve receive strong throughout the majority of the season. I had three setters on this team, neither of which was a full time starter until the day of Regionals. Justin Peterson played a big role throughout the season for us but our sophomore setter, Ben Dockter, came out strong that day with a huge jump serve and a lot of confidence running our offense. Our team became much better when they learned how to push each other, regardless of who was starting that day for us.”
Olaso used a tool that helped the players with their perceptions. “ The team came up with a success diagram that they used to rate their own performance at practice and someone else on the team.” He says. “This showed them that sometimes their perception of their own game maybe different from others and I think they learned a lot from each other. It was great to see different guys picking up the slack when things weren't always at its best. My goal was to have them all playing at a level where they were able to recognize what needed to be done to reach their goal and to have them constantly pushing each other to get there.”
Mission accomplished Coach!
It was inevitable. Even the Vegas bookmakers would have made this a sure thing.
Throughout the whole boy’s season, two teams battled it out for the top spot in the 14’s age division. And it’s not an exaggeration when we say, EVERY tournament.
But despite losing 3 of the 5 tournament finals to the Club Cactus 15-1’s team, the Rage 14-1’s put it together in the finale, taking the 14’s Regional championship on December 16th at HomeCourts with a 2 sets to 1 victory. The score of the third set was…you guessed it…17-15!
“ From the first tournament we knew it could happen.” Coach Beth Nuneviller mused. “However, in any given match any of the teams could win in the 14-boys depending on serving and passing. Every team got so much better over the three months. However, Club Cactus was very strong and each tournament came down to Rage and Club Cactus in the finals. It really could have gone either way...in fact the 17-15 in game three summed up the season!”
Nuneviller laughed about how far the boy’s had come. “This was the first time each of the boys except one had played organized volleyball on a team, so just to watch the growth over the season was amazing. It began with learning how to rotate and play their position and led to a stuff block to end the final game of Regionals. That was the ultimate ending to a special season.”
Cactus Coach David Nobrega credited Rage with being a little steelier at the end. “ Our nerves got the best of us in the last few points of the third set. The guys didn't want to swing hard, they were afraid of making a mistake, and Rage was able to transition off the easy balls and attack aggressively.”
Nuneviller admits it was pretty funny to watch her at the beginning of the season thinking the boys even wanted to listen to her. “I was used to coaching college women and it took me quite a while to adjust to coaching 12-14 year old boys with lots of energy.” But she stayed with the basics and making the game fun, giving them lots of opportunities to put what they had learned into action.
Nobrega agrees with the principles that at this young age, winning is important, but not THE most important thing. “ I want to teach my players how; how to win, how to be leaders, how to learn from their mistakes, and how to overcome adversity. The winning is not important at this age, but the how is. If you worry about the how, then the results are usually good.”
“The three big things we focused on was communication, have fun, and out hustle your opponents.” Nobrega discusses. “There may matches we would be losing and during the time out we would refocus the team to worry about the three hows and not the score. This usually resulted in us turning the match around and winning.”
With many younger players still able to play in the 14’s division, odds are
they’ll see a lot more of each other in the years to come.
Bet on it!
USA Volleyball has announced their tryout dates and sites for both boys and girls for consideration for the upcoming Youth, High Performance and Junior age groups. For the tryout schedule, click here.
If you aren’t sure what age group your athlete should be trying out for, go here.
Before you tryout, you must fill out an HP application. The girl’s application is here
and the boy’s is here.
A national meeting will be held in Colorado Springs in late January. The Arizona Region’s High Performance course for 2007 will be decided at that meeting.
Jerry Fitzsimmons, the Executive Director of the Volleyball Hall of Fame said, “I want to express the thanks of all of us here at the Volleyball hall of Fame for the tremendous support we have received from USAV and the Regional Volleyball Associations. Your support has enabled us to make some significant strides throughout the year. We look forward to your continued support.”
The VBHoF has introduced a newsletter which can be downloaded in PDF form at http://www.volleyhall.org/images/dec06vnewsletter.pdf
They have also upgraded their website.
The Hall continues to look for financial support. For information on how to donate, go to http://www.volleyhall.org
The Arizona Region will be offering three beach tournaments during the regular club season for juniors only. The dates of these 2007 tournaments are January 21st, February 11th and March 11th.
All the tournaments will be played at Victory Lanes Sports Park located at 22603 N. 43rd Ave in Glendale. Ages and times will be posted on the Region website.
If you are already a registered member of the Arizona Region, tournament fees will be $10 a player. If you are not a member, a $7 one-day membership fee will be added.
These three tournaments are not part of the Region’s Junior Beach program starting in May. Information on that program will be posted February 1st under the beach link on the Region’s website.
For more information, contact Eric at email@example.com
Home Courts in Tempe is offering Blind Draws on Sundays beginning January 7th. The cost is $7 per player and you must be signed up by 5:45 with pool play beginning at 6 p.m. sharp. HomeCourts is located at 7303 S. Kyrene Rd. For more information, contact Peg at firstname.lastname@example.org
They join Kingdom Courts in offering these unique playing opportunities. Kingdom Courts hosts their blind draws on Friday nights at a cost of $8 per player with doors open at 7:00 p.m. and play beginning at 7:30. For more information go to www.kingdomcourts.net
For tournament information, go to the Region website at www.azregionvolleyball.org and pull down the juniors menu at the top of the page. From there, click on girl’s, then tournament info and the age group you are looking for.
You can click the name of the site at the top of your pool for a mapquest map to the facility. We urge you to double check the directions as mapquest is not always 100% accurate.
To download wallpaper for your computer featuring the players of the national teams, go to http://www.usavolleyball.org/National/wallpaper.asp This service is free.
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 email@example.com Thank You.
If you are interested in advertising in the Quick e set Arizona Region e-newsletter, contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org