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One hundred and forty miles west of Phoenix, Daniel and Maria Maya took the best the city of Parker, Az. had and made them champions.
It wasn’t an easy road, but one that used the winds and bumps and to their advantage. As Daniel says, “Their dedication is what got them to this level.”
The level of which he speaks is the Region Championship for the 18 Club division, a first for his Colorado River 18-1’s team who downed Club Red’s 17-Black team in the final held Saturday, April 28 th at South Mountain Community College.
Daniel and Maria undertake running the Colorado River Club team to further their region’s play. “My wife and I are both high school volleyball coaches.” Daniel says. “We do club because you will not compete at State if you don’t. Unfortunately we do not have the easy access to club like the girls of the Phoenix area. My wife and I wish we had all of these great coaches available to coach our girls. We have to do it all. I guess the advantage we have is we are the only club in this area and we can pick the best to travel to Phoenix.”
“The other reason we have been successful is these girls are very committed to the club.” Maya says emphasizing his point about sacrifice. “Many play softball and track. They only go to the club tournaments that don’t interfere with those activities. These girls rarely have a weekend off and they often come to practice volleyball after a hard afternoon of high school softball and track practice.”
But Club Red’s road, while not as long or perilous, was bumpy as well. “I thought I was going to be the assistant of this team”, Terri Spann says, “And I inherited the team after the 1st tournament of the season. I don't think they knew what they were getting into with me as their coach, but I changed my style of coaching for them and they took me in with open arms.”
Spann’s style showed early and often as the 17-Black squad stayed in the top 2 teams of the Championship division all season. “We always worked hard no matter what.” Spann says. “Going into regionals we were preparing for the unexpected thanks to prom! We had our whole team throughout the pool play and crossover and then lost half of our team to prom for the bracket play. But our girls knew what we were going against and were not going to use that as an excuse.”
Maya was ecstatic about how his 10 th seeded girls played the day and into the finals. “Our girls played great for the finals. They finally learned how to win a championship. We just told the girls to play to win. We feel in the past we had played not to lose. The attitude of attack and score was what we tried to sell. What ever it was, the girls played awesome. It also helped that we did not have softball, track, or prom on this day. We were only missing one of our impact players.”
But Maya points to an attitude that helped his team get to the pinnacle of their division. “We try to live by a quote I saw on a Nike T-Shirt. ‘Champions aren’t made by chance. Champions are made by CHOICE.’ Our girls have been working for this championship since they were 13 years old. The sad part about this championship is we are the only ones who know how big an accomplishment this is. Our community is not aware of how many teams are in the 18 and under Championship Division or how competitive this level of play is. Championships at this level don’t happen by chance. We are very proud of our team’s accomplishment.”
Equally proud is Spann of her girls. “I felt like we grew as a team mentally and physically.” Terri says smiling. “I wanted this team to improve as a team and individually so they could take it into their high school teams and they did both.” She says proudly. “All of my players stepped up, learned a lot of new things and had an open mind while doing so. I'm just grateful they accepted me as their coach when they didn't expect it to be me.”
Region Championships tournaments are here. The format is very different than our regular power tournaments. The tournament will last most of the day instead of just half day. Lots of information follows. Please read all the information at http://www.azregionvolleyball.org/juniors/girls/RegChampInfo.html
The Arizona Region is finalizing plans to host its first annual Golf Tournament to help raise funds for charitable programs throughout the Region.
The tournament will be held at the Phantom Horse Golf Club located at the Pointe South Mountain resort in Phoenix.
A 7:30 a.m. start on September 15 th includes a golf car, practice balls and bag tags in addition to lunch. The cost for the event is $120 per individual and $400 per foursome.
The tournament will coincide with the Region’s General Assembly held before the beginning of the 2007-08 club season. For costs and availability, contact Christy at the Region office at 602-454-1367.
Arizona weather proved to be another challenge for these tough beach players at the last in-season tournament on April 15 th. Windy does not even begin to describe the conditions that had pop-up tents rolling away and volleyballs floating all over the court. This coincides with January’s tournaments freezing rain and freezing temperatures, the deluge that came with February’s tournament and the unseasonable hot March outing.
With the largest turnout of the season, the eleven 12’s teams and nine 16’s teams pushed their way through pool play and into bracket play. Jordan Anderson and Ashley Hull went undefeated in bracket play beating Kelsey McHugh and Briana Keller-Galley in the final set.
Anna Gott and Betsi Metter dominated the 16’s division once again. The team went undefeated beating Nikki Burke and Daryn Serna 21-14 in the final set.
The wind continued to roar throughout the afternoon but the girls, and boys, played right on through.
The 14’s were the first to start their pools at 2 pm and the last to finish their bracket at 6:30 pm. Fourteen teams pushed through but when the final match of the day started at 5:55 p.m., it was Heidi Thompson and Bianca Arellano coming out on top, beating Kirea Mazzolini and Becca Sponcil 17-15, 15-11. (See photo below)
The 18’s division had some extra competition this time with ten teams in all. Michele Anderson and her 10-year-old partner Sarah Sponcil went undefeated on the day. The two beat out Kelsey Janke and Emily Allen 15-11, 15-10 in the final match.
The four teams that made up the Boy’s Division stayed focused on the game throughout the day even with all the extra girls running around the Victory Lanes sand courts. Nick Benson and Mitchell Nielson continued to shine. The team beat Tyler Hornacek and Jordan Anderson in the final match. Jordan stepped in to help out Tyler when his partner, Marques Valdez, had to leave early. Nonetheless, the boys played great as a team all afternoon.
Congratulations to all juniors that played in this season’s beach tournament. We hope to see you all back out at Victory Lanes come May for our summer program. For more information and a registration form, check out the beach home page.
USA Volleyball is offering free specific online newsletters for Junior Girls, Junior Boys, Beach, Women’s National Team, Men’s National Team and Coaches Education. You can go to http://www.usavolleyball.org/FreeNewsletter/ to sign up for the newsletter you want.
In order to make these newsletters as timely and as interesting as possible, USAV is asking for your help. Please let them know about stories that feature junior players, coaches, and programs. They want to know about accomplishments on and off the court. Do you have any photos to share? Are there any budding poets or authors in our junior ranks?
Please help us recognize these talents and accomplishments that we know flourish at the high school and club levels. Feel free to submit photos and story ideas at any time to Bill Kauffman (girls) and BJ Evans (boys). Please get the word out to coaches, players, parents and tournament directors that USA Volleyball wants and needs your ideas and contributions.
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.
The Arizona Region, in conjunction with Phoenix College, will again support the USA National High Performance Program with their second annual 2007 High Performance Camp.
After last year’s successful venture, and by popular demand, the Region’s HP Camp has been expanded.
This year’s camp is still accepting applications for both camps. For information, click http://www.azregionvolleyball.org/juniors/camps/index.html
Volleyball Arizona is holding a beach clinic featuring the 2006 Tempe AVP men’s Champions Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers on May 10 th at Victory Lanes Sports Complex.
For more information on this unique opportunity, or to get more information on VAO’s summer beach events, go to www.volleyballarizona.org or call Aaron at 602-532-7931.
Phoenix College Volleyball Coach Karen Sitkiewicz announced this week she is forming leagues for High School aged girls over the summer to be played at PC.
The leagues will run for 4 weeks on Tuesday nights (6, 7, and 8pm match times). Your team chooses if they would like to participate in June, July, or both and the teams will play in 2 matches per night. One official and a scorekeeper will be provided, no uniforms are needed and there are unlimited substitutions.
For information on this league and other programs at Phoenix College, contact Coach Sitkiewicz at email@example.com
The 2007 Arizona Region Junior Beach Program is back and bigger than ever. Tournaments start the week of May 14 th. To register, go to http://www.azregionvolleyball.org/beach/index.html
Here are some of the FAQ’s we are responding to:
Can we play with any partner?
Yes as long as they are of the age you are going to compete in.
What time do the Tues. and Thurs. tournaments at Victory Lanes start?
Registration for weeknight tournaments begins at 5:00 p.m. and the pools will be announced and started at 6:00 p.m. If you are going to be late, you can call the tournament director and have your name put in the draw.
Can a player play in more than just their own age division?
Yes, they can play up, but not down. For example, a 14’s team could play in the 14’s, 16’s and even the 18’s division if they so choose. This gives every age except the 18’s a chance at 1 tournament per week.
What about the special tournaments, like the coed and the Mother’s Day Tournament?
Two weeks before those tournaments, there will be instructions posted as to times, special rules, etc.
If we played in the In-Season Beach program, do we have to register for the Summer Beach program?
Yes, the in-season beach had no charge to register, but the summer program does indeed have a one time $20 sign up fee. Tournaments are still $10 per player.
Can we register at the first tournament?
If we didn’t play club ball this season, is there an extra charge?
There is a $17 fee added to the $20 registration fee for a summer membership with the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball. If you played club, you only have to pay the $20.
Can we bring food in?
No. At all of our sites, the only thing that can be brought into the parks or clubs is water. Each of the sites has food and drink for sale. At both Victory Lanes and SportsPark in Tucson, there is a $2 per person entry fee.
Every year USA Volleyball Guidebook publishes a list of people in each Region that have been named as recipients of the Meritorious Service Award. Last year, the Arizona Region named Jim Feickert, Eric Hodgson, Jonathan Norris and Ernie Vasquez as the award winners. Now, it is time for us to send USA Volleyball the names of the recipients for this season.
If you are interested in nominating someone you feel has gone above and beyond the call of duty in our Region, contact Becky Hudson at the Region Office BEFORE May 15th.
The Arizona Region would like to send out it’s condolences to the Family and friends of 25-year-old Alexandria Meekcoms whose life was tragically ended last week when a small plane carrying her and her parents crashed off the coast of Carlsbad, California.
Meekcoms was a former player and coached for both East Valley Juniors and Arizona Primitive. She was a current member of the Women’s team Phoenix Phire.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Alexandria’s family and friends.
The world’s best will be here next weekend for the AVP Sanderson Ford Glendale Open at the Westgate Plaza. Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor will attempt to defend their title as will Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers on the men’s side of the draw. Don’t miss out on the biggest volleyball event in Arizona.
May 10-13, 2007
Date: May 10, 2007 - Complimentary
Dates: May 11 – May 13, 2007 (Pricing Table listed below):
|Type||Price||Discount Available||Quanity Available|
Premium Seating Reserved
(Courtside Rows 2-5)
|Group 20 or more||$15||Included||GA Only|
|Group 40 or more||$12||Included||GA Only|
|Student (Valid with ID)||$10||Included||GA Only|
For Group Tickets please contact Genevieve Villegas at 623-772-1264.
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