Tstreet goes for the block against TAV in the 14 Open final.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 30, 2019) – With a kill by right side hitter Julia Waugh, Tstreet 14 Carson (Southern California Region) broke out in celebration as the team captured the 14 Open title Sunday at the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships.
Tstreet closed out the tournament 9-2 and with a 25-21, 25-19 victory over TAV 14 Black (North Texas Region). TAV also finished the tournament 9-2, with its only other loss to A5 Miz 14 Helen in the team’s tournament opener.
Tstreet was in control most of the match but still sometimes found itself losing ground against TAV’s offense. In those cases, Tstreet head coach Tanner Carson reminded them to focus on their motto.
“Breathe, believe, battle,” Carson said. “We try to tell them that every time out.”
Captains Nicole Feliciano and Waugh agreed that what keeps the team going is how well they work together.
“We practiced so hard for this tournament,” Waugh said. “We always thought ‘be in the moment.’ At practice we would say, ‘don’t think about nationals, think about what you’re doing right now to get better at nationals.’”
For eight of the players, including Waugh and Feliciano, it was a return trip for a medal. Last year, they won bronze as part of Tstreet 13-Taylor in 13 Open.
“All 11 players are phenomenal,” Carson added. “The girls who are on the sideline who don’t get to be on the court in those matches are phenomenal players and phenomenal teammates. They all support each other, and they all play whatever role they’re asked to play. They do it with their whole hearts.”
Third place in 14 Open went to Legacy 14-Elite (Great Lakes Region) and Minnesota Select 14-1 (North Country).
Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events.
Premier Nebraska 14 Gold (Great Plains Region) had its final three matches go the distance, including the championship match against Six Pack 14 (Iowa Region).
Premier lost the opening set to Six Pack, 25-18, and then pushed itself from the jaws of defeat by winning the last two sets 25-22, 15-13.
Captain and libero Makenzie Dyrstad said it was exciting to play in such a pressure-packed match and gave credit to coach Ashley Martin for helping them fight back.
“She told us to adjust to them and play together and trust each other,” Dyrstad said. “That’s how we knew we were going to win – if we relied on each other and had ultimate trust.”
Although Nebraska is known for volleyball primarily for the success of the Huskers, the club system is also excelling. Last year, Premier won a silver and a gold at nationals, and the club has 16 teams in Indianapolis.
Martin said her club’s focus on the experience leads to that kind of success.
“Even though we draw from a smaller population, we’re still able to put together really solid teams,” she said. “It shows the development we have at our club; the directors at our club are organized and awesome people, and they’re all about the kids. It’s not about the wins (for the Premier club directors). It’s about what gets the kids better and what’s the experience for the kids.”
With Six Pack taking silver, the bronze medals in 14 National went to Gainesville 14 Elite (Florida Region) and Ozark Juniors 14-1 (Delta Region).
TAV 14 Blue (North Texas Region) swept through the USA division, winning every match in straight sets, except a round 2 loss to Vision 14 Gold (Northern California Region) on Saturday.
In the championship match, TAV was never really in danger against Tribe 14 Elite Sebastian (Florida Region), winning 25-12, 25-17.
Head coach Arthur Stanfield said the team has a good mix of skills.
“We have a well-rounded group,” he said. “We play 10 kids every set, so everybody’s engaged. We got beat last year in the quarters, 15-13 in the third, so we tried to figure out something we could do to maybe win that 15-13 game. So, [the players] gave us an extra hour a week of conditioning and stretching, and core stuff. Whether that helped physically that much or just mentally, we’re putting more into it.”
Third place in 14 USA went to SF Tremors 14 Wolverines (Southern California Region) and NC Volleyball Academy (Carolina Region).
Texas Image (TIV) 14 Black (North Texas Region) picked up a 25-23, 25-23 victor over Miz LB 14 Rockstar (Southern California Region) to win the 14 American title.
Head coach Petela Afungia said the team has progressed “1,000 percent” over the course of the season.
“Every qualifier we’ve been to, we’ve been playing in the open division,” said Afungia, who added that while the team didn’t qualify to nationals in open, they managed to qualify in American in a regional qualifier. “I’m just so proud of them. They did a fantastic job. Their bond (is special). They really started to trust each other midway through the season.”
Bronze medals went to Tstreet 14 Jon (North Texas Region) and Academy 14 Gold (Northern California Region).
Wave 14 Scott collected gold in Patriot with an undefeated record capped off by a 25-16, 25-18 victory over Empowered 14 Elite Red (Hoosier Region). Wave lost just one set in the tournament.
Bronze medals went to Capital City Juniors (Southern Region) and Coast VBC (Southern California Region).