The A5 Volleyball club team, based in Roswell, concluded its season in Dallas at the USAV National Championships in early July. Mason Rooney documented her team’s journey though the tournament over the course of the event. This is part one of a multi-part series that will conclude in the August 14 edition.
It’s July 1 and after thirty-three weeks of training, our team is traveling to Dallas for the National Championships.
This is the week we’ve been training and waiting for all season. After our school’s volleyball season ends, the A5 Volleyball Club holds tryouts in early November.
Over the course of the season, teams play in certain qualifying tournaments trying to finish in the top three of their division to earn a bid for Nationals.
There are four divisions that a team can qualify within: Open, National, USA, and American. The most competitive division is Open and my team, A5 16-1 Jackie, earned our Open bid at the Big South Tournament in Atlanta March 31.
There are around 4,000 16 and under teams across the nation and only approximately 300 teams tried to qualify for the open field.
This is my third year playing club volleyball and I’ve been with most of the girls on my team since my 14’s year.
This year has been a little different because we’ve had some challenges due to injuries. Two of my teammates were out the majority of the season recovering from major surgeries. Alex Mills, Emily Lehman and Alyssa Munlyn joined our team this year and have been a huge reason for our success. Jackie VanFossan and Scott Cioffari are our coaches and have done a great job of preparing us all season for this week. We begin play at 9 a.m. July 2 and have great competition all week.
We have the talent, the training and the heart to do amazing things this week and I know we will!
Day One of Nationals
Today was our first day of competition with four pools of eight teams each.
Over the first two and a half days at Nationals, we will play those other seven teams in our pool. We played three teams from our eight-team pool today. Each of the 32 teams in the Open bracket has about twelve players. One thing that all of these girls have in common is the motivation we receive from others.
An incomplete list of those who encouraged, motivated and pushed me to play this game would include Jona Braden, , coach Cioffari, coach VanFossan, Suzanne Fitzgerald, Nikki Zimmermann, my brother Peter and Tindall Sewell. All athletes have those who “champion” their involvement in their sport. Common motivators to athletes are our parents, so from all athletes to our parents; thank you, you matter!
Coaches are known for motivating and teaching their teams. This year coach VanFossan, taught us an important lesson. She inspired us by telling us that when we play we can’t let the other team “into our house,” meaning we couldn’t let other teams get to us while we were playing.
She taught us that all we have to do is focus on our team and what we are doing instead of worrying about the other team and letting them get in our heads. Coach Cioffari has taught us to “play in the moment.”
He educated us that we can’t control anything but the point we are playing at that moment, so why focus on anything but the things you can control.
We did a great job of protecting our house and playing in the moment today.
We started out this morning playing Club West from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Paige McKnight, our setter, did a fantastic job during this match! Paige was very offensive in the second set and had five kills (which is very impressive as a setter).
We won the first set, 25-21, and the second set, 25-20. We faced Front Range from Denver in our second game of the day. Amber MacDonald, our libero, had a great game.
We lost after a hard fought three sets. We won the first set, 25-23, but than lost the second set, 25-22, and the third, 15-11. Our final game of the day came against AVA from Houston. Harley Sebastian, one of our outside hitters, stepped up in this game. She had six kills and a block.
We won the first set, 25-17, lost the second 25-14, but won the tiebreaking third set, 16-14. Overall we had a great day and will continue pool play tomorrow morning!