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Arizona’s Starlings Programs Show National Muscle  

Arizona’s had three of its Starling’s programs win their age divisions at the 9 th Starling’s national volleyball championships featuring 96 teams from across the country, held in late June in San Diego, California.

In the 18’s division, Phoenix’s Kerry 18’s won the gold. In the 14’s division, Tuba City took the gold medal and in the 12’s division, Phoenix’s Kati team took the top spot. Starlings is the largest Junior Volleyball Club in the nation , serving some 2,500 girls in 38 clubs across America. Clubs stretch from New York City to Hawaii, from Portland to Tijuana, Mexico.

The guiding concept has been to provide an opportunity for girls (ages 10 to18) to participate regardless of their socioeconomic background. Club dues, if any, are a fraction of most Junior Club costs and no girl is turned away because of inability to pay.

Cactus Thorns Finish Fifth at Nationals  

June 4, 2006

New Orleans , Louisiana

Greetings Arizona Region Volleyball Players, Coaches, Parents, Referees and Everyone! We are returning from USA Volleyball Open National Championships in New Orleans (May 27-June 3, 2006). Our team, Cactus Thorns, was proud to represent the Region in the Men’s Masters 45’s division at Nationals.

Most of our team members competed in the Arizona Region this year in the adult Men’s A division, representing the Cactus Thorns and Kirby-Emrick Engraving teams. Our roster included Bill Pincus, Don Hudson, Steve Marsh, Paul Becklund and Mike Bonnell, players whom you may know, played against, or may have coached some of you. Personally, this was my 20 th year competing at USA Nationals (at least 20 that I can remember), and I want to guess we had over 200 years playing experience between us!

There were 10 teams entered in the Men’s 45’s division. Our team had a good round of pool play, finishing third in our pool of five. As the #4 seed in our pool we knocked off the 2 nd seed, Papakoa 45 from the Great Lakes Region on the first day of the tournament. The highlight of pool play was our match against the #3 seed, Decker’s/Roof 45. This was a very strong team from Southern California that went on to win the tournament! We felt good about ourselves by pushing the match to three games. Decker’s roster reads like an all-star team: Becker, Pestolosi, Hopton, Zajec, Zelko, and Porr.

In bracket play (double elimination); we played our best match of the tournament in the first round against the #2 finisher from Pool A, E’s Club of Southern California. After being schooled in set 1, 16-25, we hung on to win set 2, 25-23. We had great play from our offense and our defense in winning this game. Bill Pincus, Corey Morishita and Jeff Robison were our MVP’s in set three as the Cactus Thorns completed a comeback taking the match 15-11 in the third set.

This victory earned us the right to play the always tough Outrigger 45’s of Hawaii. They were the #2 seed in bracket play, winning our pool with a 4-0 record. While this match was not close, we did manage a solid effort in set 2, playing tough defense and running our middle attack in transition. Unfortunately, we lost our next match too, in the loser’s bracket to Kings Mountain Fog of Northern California, finishing fifth overall for the 2006 Nationals.

We had a great time in New Orleans playing very competitive volleyball, hanging out with our volleyball friends and making new friends, one of the cornerstones of USA Volleyball that I have enjoyed over my 25 years as a USA member.

Another part of Nationals is enjoying the host city. New Orleans has a long way to go to recover from the hurricanes that flooded the area last year. Some say it will be 20 years before the City is back. Right now, while the downtown and the French Quarter are well maintained and functioning, the city as a whole has many serious problems. The devastation from the flooding looks even worse in person than it does on television. While I question the wisdom of rebuilding residential neighborhoods below the water level, I wish the community the very best in ‘rising from the ashes’ and building a better New Orleans in the years to come. It is a great city with important industrial, commercial and entertainment districts, which should receive a central focus in reconstruction efforts. I look forward to seeing great progress on my next trip the Crescent City.

I hope to see you next season and next year at Nationals in Austin (another Great American City)!

Hitting from the right side,

David “Lefty” Williams

Tam Ra Represents Region in Women’s AA at Nationals

I traveled to New Orleans this past Memorial Day Weekend with 6 other women who made up Team Ra-W. We competed in the Women's AA bracket and finished 5th.  We had a wonderful time and the competition was great. Unfortunately we ended our tournament on a very controversial call by the table score keeper. Not to say that we would have won that match, however, that's what makes sport so interesting. With that said we still competed very well and enjoyed New Orleans. I, as well as the rest of the team, was glad to have the tournament hosted in New Orleans so that we may (in whatever small amount) contribute to the re-building efforts. The facility was in great condition and the tournament was run well. We also enjoyed representing Arizona in the AA bracket and plan to compete again next year.

 Thank you for the opportunity,

Coach  Tricia Melfy

Education Weekend Planned for Region  

The AZ Region is putting forward an Education Weekend the weekend of Nov 3-5th.  We are offering a CAP I, CAP II, VCAP (volleyball condition course), IMPACT course and IMPACT Instructor Training course.  The cost for CAP I is $150 per person, CAP II is $265 per person, VCAP is $65 per person.  John Kessel and Stu Sherman are two of the Cadre members - a third to be named shortly. Make this weekend the one to attend for your coaches.  Sign up on The USAV website at www.usavolleyball.org/ under Education.  The specific requirements for CAP are there as well.

Volleyball Hall of Fame Seeking Donations

The Volleyball Hall of Fame, located in Holyoke, Mass. is asking for your help. This history filled site operates on donations. Please take a few minutes to check out their site at http://www.volleyhall.org/and give what you can.

USAV Men’s National Team Coaches’ Clinic , Sept. 28 th – Oct. 1 st, 2006, Anaheim, California

   Featuring Men’s National Team coach Hugh McCutcheon and his coaching staff, this clinic is available to all coaches. For more information, download the flyer here.

AZ Junior Beach Makes Impact at Jr. Beach Nationals!!!

Arizona ’s beach royalty took on the rest of the country July 21-22 at Dockweiler Beach in El Segundo, Ca. for the USAV Beach Junior Olympic Championships.

Betsi Metter and Kelsey Brown, both from Ahwatukee and the 14’s champions in the Arizona Region Junior Beach Program, took the gold medal in the Under 14’s division with a convincing 21-9, 21-18 win over Dalas Dodd of Manhattan Beach, (AVP Legend Mike Dodd’s daughter), and S.J. Coons (Los Angeles). It caps a beach season where Brown and Metter won 4 of the 5 tournaments in the Arizona Junior Beach season they entered together as well. Metter who just turned 14, also had two first place finishes, and two second place finishes in the girl’s 16’s division in which she won the season point total.

Anna Gott, also from Ahwatukee, and her partner Kendra Glendenning ( Clovis, Ca.) took the silver medal in the girl’s Under 16 age group. Gott and Glendenning lost to Tara Roenicke (Alta Loma, Ca.) and her partner Elizabeth Younglove ( Clovis, Ca.) 21-18, 13-21, 8-21. Gott called her 21-19, 8-21, 15-13 semifinal thriller over Lane Carico ( Manhattan Beach) and Kelly Holford ( Long Beach) “the most amazing game of my life!”

In the upper age groups, Tracee Vargas and Danee Quail took the silver medal in the girl’s Under 20’s division losing to Jade and Jazmin Machado (Encinitas) in the final. Both teams qualified for the main draw of the FIVB Junior World Championships on Aug. 23-27 in Myslowice, Poland.

Arizona was the only state other than California to have three top two finishes in the 152 team tournament.

Before the USAV Beach Junior Olympic Championships, several members of the Arizona Junior Beach program participated in the USAV Beach High Performance camp held in the same locale July 18-20th.

HP Beach Campers on the beach in El Segundo, California
Back Row: Melissa New, Ashley Kelty, Anna Gott, Betsi Metter
Front Row: Kelsey Brown, Vanessa Eubank, Natasha Lucero, Michelle Hein,
Sarah Sponcil, Lexi Anderson

For one-stop volleyball information in the state of Arizona, go to:



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