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Club Red “Dream Team” Fulfills Expectations

Made up of Arizona’s High Performance athletes and some USA High Performance girls, the Club Red 16’s team was the Region’s “Dream Team.” And they lived up to that moniker by winning the Region’s 16 Open crown and qualifying for next week’s Junior Olympic Nationals in Florida.
Coach James Felton knew the expectations for this squad were lofty.  “This is a very talented group of kids and at the same time it’s one of the best group of kids I’ve ever coached.” Felton said.  “There were different expectations to deal with…what the individual players and parents expected in joining this team and what we hoped to accomplish as a team this year.  Basically, I tried to combine what was important to each player individually with the beliefs I have about the game and felt that would make us better collectively.”

The team played in the Open division and won their first three tournaments, going from the 31st ranked team to number 5 after their fourth region tilt. They also finished 2nd at the Far Western National Qualifier to earn a spot into Nationals. But at Regionals, they ran into a stubborn East Valley 16-1 squad who gave Felton’s squad all they could handle in a tight three set match.

“East Valley played with a lot of heart and passion.” Felton lauds.  “You could see it in the way they played defense especially.  I don’t think we necessarily played with that intensity for all 3 games.  The good thing for us is that this season we’ve played a lot of tough, close and I think that experience helped us in this close match.”

Felton and assistant coach Staci Smith knew how special the team was, but made sure not to overload the girls with those expectations. “This was one of the most fun teams I’ve ever coached and each girl has a unique personality that has made the group even more special.” Coach Felton said. “Road trips have been a blast.  When I played in college, my coach once told me it’s the times when you’re with your teammates away from the court that you’ll remember much more than the times on the court – that is so true.  The season is still fresh, so I’m really proud of the girls for the run they made in Reno winning six straight matches and beating some really good teams.  But I know in the future I’ll never forget my assistant coach – Staci Smith – and me walking into one of the rooms in Denver and seeing the girls dancing in the dark with neon head bands and glow sticks.”

Felton has been coaching long enough to know that it’s rare that teams stay together these days. “We have a lot of young kids that could play 16s again or maybe the whole group plays 17s next year.  That hasn’t really been my concern.  All year I’ve felt this was a special group for many reasons and I just wanted focus on this group & this season.  Then deal with next year after JOs.  In the long term, there is a real good chance that a majority of these girls will end up playing at high level D1 college programs.  Our play in Reno really grabbed a lot of attention for the girls.”

Felton uses a coaching philosophy of relating to players and of how the game should be played. “I think both are important because we’ve all know coaches who relate well and don’t get the players any better or coaches where the reverse is true.”
 “In relating to players I would say that honesty & trust are probably the most important part of it, especially with girls.  A team cannot function unless we are all honest with each other – in good times and bad.” He says.
 “Also, we need to enjoy coming into the gym as much as we do so volleyball at any level has to be fun.  I try to have fun with the girls and allow them to have fun – whether it be at practice, tournaments, or road trips.  I know some people who have only seen me coach might not believe that, but my players do - they know game time is more serious and every other time is more fun.”  

Felton says the on court philosophy is about being serving and passing. “We’ve been a really good serving team this year and we are continually trying to be the best passers we can be.  Those two facets aren’t the flashiest parts of the game, but a lot of a team’s success is based on them.”

“After that, I like my players to be smart-aggressive players – whether it’s attacking, blocking, setting, or digging.  Within reason, I’d like them to be aggressive and go for it, rather than holding back and playing tentatively.  The funny thing about our team this year is that we have a couple of players who are overly aggressive and we’ve worked on being a little smarter with it, then we’ve had a few players who are overly tentative and we’ve worked with them about going for it.  Plus, I think playing that way, going all out, is more fun.”

For the Coach and for his players.

Misty May is coming to Tucson!

Two-Time Olympic Gold Medal Winner Misty May will be hosting a “Gold Medal Experience” presentation Sunday July 5th at The Westin La Paloma Resort in
Tucson from 6:00-9:00 pm. The Cost is $40.00 and is open to the Public as
Coaches, Players, and Fans are welcomed!
An autograph session to follow immediately after presentation!

Misty will also be hosting an All Skills Clinic for girls ages (10-18) July 5-7 at Amphitheatre High School.
Session I: 9:00-11:30 am
Session II: 1:30-4:00 pm

Clinic is 6 total sessions (registration is on a first come first serve basis) Cost: $155.00

For details and registration please visit: www.volleyballclubdinamo-az.com
or call (520) 954-0066

If additional information is needed please send inquiries to: VBCDinamo@gmail.com
Hope to see you there!

Father’s Day Fun for Dad and Daughters

The Region took the Father’s Day tournament out of the midday heat and off of Father’s Day and saw a receptive 48 teams at this year’s event.

Wayne Sponcil followed in the footsteps of last year’s multiple winner, Norm Anderson, by winning the 14’s with daughter Sarah and the 16’s with daughter Becca. Anderson and daughter Lexi finished runner up in the 16’s division and Team Neis took the silver in the 14’s.

Anderson did win the 12’s with daughter Jordan topping a very game Team Braun 15-12 in the final. Team Metter topped Mark and Asia Hoagland for the 18’s crown.
Several of the Dads remarked how much fun the tournament was and wished it could be more than just a once-a-year event. Stay tuned…




Dinamo’s Lane Reports from Russia!
Story and photos by Taylor Lane

My name is Taylor Lane and I play for VBC Dinamo 16 Elite. In May our team travelled to Moscow Russia to play in the Victor Filipchenko Memorial Tournament. We were invited by the Russian Volleyball Federation to be the U.S representative in this year’s tournament. Victor Filipchenko is considered one of the most influential coaches in Russian volleyball history and the tournament was to honor his contributions.

Before we left our coach reminded us that each of the teams and their players train and play for entirely different reasons than most American teams. These players are playing for their futures (as professionals) or to gain a spot on their national teams, or to receive an education. It was important to know that other players our age have different motivations for being a volleyball player.

We competed against professional and youth national teams from Russia, Ukraine, Moscow, Belarus, Israel, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. We were placed in Group 1 with the defending champions Russia, Belarus YNT, and Kazakhstan YNT. In Group 2 Moscow, Israel, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. All eight teams stayed in the dorms at the Shusdor Sports School just outside Moscow. All the teams also ate their meals together in the cafeteria before and after training and then again before and after matches.

On our second night our coach arranged for us to see the finals of the Russian Superligue between Dinamo Moscova and Zarechie Odintsovo. Both teams participated in Champions League and are considered two of the top teams in Europe. There are some great pictures on our website of the match. (www.volleyballclubdinamo-az.com). Odintsovo won the match in 4 sets to win that night but Dinamo won the next night and won the Championship.

We spent a lot of time interacting with the other teams when we were not training or playing a match. This is also different than in the states. I also noticed that all of the players and coaches carried themselves with great pride, dignity and were very respectful towards everyone. This was most apparent during the opening ceremony when each team’s captain carried their nation’s flag during the march in. Towards the end of the ceremony there was a song and dance presentation; it was a celebration of Russian history and culture. Each team was very attentive and there was great pride seen by the members of both Russian teams.

We learned that every team except for Israel trained twice per day for four hours a day. The level of international volleyball is very high, the most obvious difference between volleyball in Europe and back home (besides everyone’s height!) was that these teams made very few unforced errors and executing at a high level was the only way to have a chance to win. Very few points were unearned.

The second biggest difference was the style of play. Eastern European teams play a very high game hitting and blocking. It took a couple of matches for us to make some adjustments and get used to this style but we were able to and finished the tournament playing the best we had all season. We ended up losing a tough match against Kazakhstan to have a chance to make the Final Four, and would play Ukraine in the crossover to play for 5th place against either Belarus or Israel.

On our days off we visited the Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basel’s Cathedral, and the Moscow Circus. On the first day off all of the teams (except for the team from Moscow; they stayed and trained) took a tour of the Kremlin. The Kremlin with is Russian for “fortress” was beautiful and the architecture is like nothing we had seen before. The Kremlin is surrounded by a moat that was built in the 17th century to keep intruders out. Our tour guide informed us that many of the current Russian diplomats work on a daily basis inside the Kremlin. We also had a chance to visit Cathedral Square; this was in the center of the grounds and was a collection of four churches that Russian’s used to use for weddings, funerals, and baptisms. We got to listen to a small choir in one of the churches and the lady who was singing had an amazing voice. Everyone in the church stopped and listened to her beautiful voice. After the tour we ate a traditional Russian meal in a restaurant just outside the Russian’s version of the Pentagon. After dinner we went to see the Moscow Circus. All of the acts were from different parts of the world and were amazing. From the trapeze artists to the water show each act had the audience on the edge of their seats. The evening ended around 10:00 pm. The following morning we would play Ukraine.

Despite being a little tired from the tour we had to regroup and focus for the match against a very good team. We started the match well and won the first two sets, both scores were very close and Ukraine took that momentum and won the next two sets including a 33-35 fourth set. I think both teams were exhausted after that set but we both wanted to win the match. We had the lead on the side change and held on to win 15-13. We would play the Belarus YNT for 5th place later in the afternoon.

We lost to Belarus in our opening match in three sets. They are a very good team and I think if they were in the Group 2 they would have been in the Final Four. We lost the first two sets before taking the third. We found ourselves in a hole early in the fourth set and we had to come from behind but fell a little short 24-26. We played our best match of the tournament and hope that we can use that momentum for Miami.

On the last day we visited Red Square. We took the subway and that was definitely a cultural experience. The trains moved much faster than they do back home. Once we got to Red Square we did the typical touristy things, we bought t-shirts! It rained for the first time on our trip but we spent most of our time in an underground mall shopping and searching for Sbarro! We got stuck in a rainstorm but it wasn’t that bad as we spent a few hours in an unreal mall. After the rain cleared we all walked to St. Basel’s Cathedral and took some cool team pictures.

All in all it was great experience that I am sure I and my teammates will never forget. I think could speak for my team when I say we would do it all over again in a heartbeat. We learned so much about other cultures and people, got to see some amazing professional volleyball and got to see other styles of European volleyball. Definitely a trip to remember! Italy next year!

Volleyball in the Cool Pines of Flag!

The Flagstaff Athletic Club is hosting a 4th of July sand tournament for those of you wanting to beat the Phoenix heat and head north for the holiday!
The tournament is July 3-5th with division for Men’s, women’s and coed.
To register for the tournament or for more information go to  www.flagstaffathleticclub.com or call 928-779-5141.

The Flagstaff Athletic Club is also offering Friday night drop ins. Get to Flag for the weekend and want a little volleyball action, go to the FAC at 3200 N. Country Club Drive and for just $5 join in the fun. For more information on the drop in, contact Beth Overton atboverton@infomagic.net or call 928-779-5141

Join the Fun at the 2nd Annual Red Rock Sprint & Unified Triathlon to Benefit Special Olympics Arizona

Please support our recent partnership with Special Olympics Arizona by joining the fun and helping raise funds at their Second Annual Red Rock Sprint & Unified Triathlon.  This event will take place at the DC Ranch Village Health Club & Spa on Saturday, September 12, 2009.

This exciting day will include two triathlons (Sprint and Unified), great food, major prizes and priceless memories!

The “Sprint Triathlon” includes a 300 yard pool swim, 20k bike and 5k run.  The registration fee will be $75.

The “Unified Triathlon” includes a 50 yard pool swim, 2.5 mile bike ride and half mile run.  There will not be a registration fee for these teams however there is a suggested fundraising goal of $75 per participant.

A Unified Triathlon Team will consist of 3 individuals in the following possible combinations:  1 Special Olympic Athlete and 2 Unified Partners
2 Special Olympic Athletes and 1 Unified Partner

To register and learn more about this event, please go to the following website:

Dunphy Dazzles Coaches at NAU Clinic

One of the United State’s foremost coaches came to Flagstaff June 12-13 and shared his knowledge and wit with 25 lucky coaches from around Arizona.

NAU Coach Craig Choate coached with Dunphy at Pepperdine in 2007.  “The NAU coaching staff were extremely proud to be able to get someone with Marv Dunphy’s stature to come to Flagstaff to put on a coaches clinic. Choate said.  Coach Dunphy is not only a legendary coach, but an outstanding clinician.” He added, “Marv has this great ability to talk with coaches and not at them.”
Mile High Club Director Jenny Phelps from Prescott echoed Choate’s sentiment.  “I'm amazed at how personable and patient they ALL were, especially with their long list of credentials and knowledge about the game. I'm amazed that more people did not take advantage of this absolutely GOLDEN opportunity!  I learned a ton, had an excellent experience, and am VERY THANKFUL that it was even offered!”

First year coach Cherry Polvodore of Peoria drove up and made a weekend out of it. “What can one say after attending a Marv Dunphy coaching clinic? To learn from a master in anyone’s field is something to not be missed.” Polvodore said. “ I am not sure master is the proper term but when you have been a 4 time national champion, had your team bring home the Olympic gold medal not once but twice, and have been inducted in to the Volleyball hall of fame master seems to fit pretty good.”

Buckeye High School Head Coach Leaven Eubank came up with his family and was glad he did.  “What an awesome experience, the knowledge, the vision, and the desire to teach it to anyone at any level.” Eubanks lauds. “What a missed opportunity for those who could not or did not attend. When you consider the coaches that were in attendance ranged from current college coaches, to new coaches and every level in between, Coach Dunphy addressed every coach with the same respect and desire to ensure they understood and got the answers they were looking for. I have been to a lot of coaching clinics in the past 28 years and it is refreshing to hear a coach who has had so much success and has coached at the highest level talk about things that both challenge you and at the same time make you feel you are on the right track with some things as well.”

“Marv is he wastes no time in anything he takes on, speaks with passion for the sport, and has a genuine desire to make you a better coach.” Polvodore added.  “From words of wisdom, to basic skills broken down, every motion is efficient and purposeful.   From teaching theory, to practical application, from understanding rotation to knowing how to use it to your advantage and using hands on game like drills to get the most out of limited practice time. It was non stop learning and an amazing course.  I am not sure my simple thank you was really sufficient for what I learned over the 2 days.” 

“I think sometimes as coaches we are as hard headed as our athletes and we do not want our thought process or style challenged.” Eubanks says matter of fact. “That is very unfortunate because our athletes need us to stay current and fresh in knowledge and approach to the game. Volleyball unlike many over sports continues to change both in rules and style and what are we missing as coaches if we do not attend such opportunities like this and others. I would encourage anyone who was unable to attend to attend the next time coach Dunphy is in town. I think you will walk away with a whole new perspective on the game and the skills that are used to play it.”

2009 Summer Camps Directory

For a complete list of volleyball camps going on in Arizona over the summer, go to the Region website at www.azregionvolleyball.org and click on camps. They are not in any particular order and while the Region does not recommend one camp over another, it does want to get the information out to our members. If you have specific camp questions, contact the camp personnel directly.


Metter Proves her Mettle being named to USA National Beach Training Team

While a familiar figure on the sand courts of Victory Lanes for the past several years, it took a National tryout for the USA National U19 girl’s beach squad to give Ahwatukee’s Betsi Metter a bigger fan base of those who marvel at her talents.

Metter is the ONLY non Californian in the boy’s OR girl’s U.S. Youth (U-19) Beach National Training Team. She travels to Southern California each week to work out with the team in the hopes of competing Aug. 19-23 in Alanya, Turkey.

“It is a great honor to be picked as one of the top 10 girls and getting the opportunity to train with some of the best coaches and beach players.” Metter says. “There is a lot of competition and I know I will become a better player because of this training experience.

 Not only are the practices challenging and competitive, but they are fun and keep me motivated to play.”

Metter will find out in Mid-July if she was chosen to go to Turkey. Best of luck Betsi!

A Shout Out from Ave Maria University

My name is Mary Reed.  I am the new volleyball coach at Ave Maria University. I am contacting you to see if you know of any players that may be interested in playing volleyball for Ave Maria University. It is a new program and we have scholarship money available. Please email @ maryreed15@yahoo.com me or feel free to call me @ (239)280-2503.
Thank You,
Mary Reed
Ave Maria University Volleyball Coach
5050 Ave Maria
Ave Maria, FL
(239) 280-2503

Maccabi Games Offering Volleyball at Sports Festival

The Maccabi Games is a sports festival type event for Jewish athletes. If you have any Jewish athletes that might be interested in participating on a volleyball team please give them this information. The Games are next summer well after JO's are over with so there is no interference with club volleyball.  The games are August 2-7th in San Francisco, Ca.
The contact is Brian Katz. Phone 480-221-4790 or email katzbs@earthlink.net

Help Us Grow the Game!!!

If you are 16 and older and a volleyball player who wants to help others, we want YOU!
The Region is looking for both male and female players that want to donate their time to help teach the game of volleyball. The Grassroots division is working on clinics and camps for outside organizations, schools, etc. to help grow the game.

The Region is assembling a team of volunteer youth coaches to help with these camps. These hours can be used for community service for National Honor Society, Boy and Girl Scouts, etc.

For more information, contact erichbke@msn.com

Want to Get the Word Out???

If you have a tournament, program or volleyball related story or activity and want to share it with the rest of the Arizona Region, send it to Quick e-Sets. We’ll be happy to put it out to the hundreds of volleyball enthusiasts in the desert and beyond. E-mail it to erichbke@msn.com


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.

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