INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (June 29, 2019) – Fates were changed in the span of three matches on many courts this afternoon in the 14 divisions at the 2019 USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships.
Austin Performance (Austin, Texas/Lone Star Region) entered its round 2 match against Livewire (Phoenix, Ariz./Arizona Region) undefeated with a 5-0 pool play record. Livewire, meanwhile, stood at 3-2. In an epic, three-set battle, Livewire handed Austin its first loss, 25-19, 21-25, 15-9.
Heading right back to the court in a doubleheader, Livewire then fell to another 3-2 team, SG Elite Roshambo (San Gabriel, Calif., Southern California Regon), 29-27, 25-12. SG Elite then took on Austin, handing them a second loss, 30-28, 25-20.
Livewire coach Jeff Dumbrell knew the match against Austin would be tough, as a 5-0 record always brings with it a sense of confidence. But during the match, he made adjustments to counter the opponent’s offense.
“We started to notice that their pin hitters were really the only ones that they went to … their outsides and their right sides, so we definitely made some changes by putting our best defensive players in the back row. We also created more offense for ourselves by having some of our offensive players play six rotations.”
Livewire moved into the Gold bracket after a challenge match win and will play Nebraska Premier Sunday morning, a positive move after Friday’s results.
“We always had plans to be on the podium,” Dumbrell said. “I think we went into yesterday a little too cocky, and we got brought down a little bit. That’s what we talked about last night after we played, making sure that coming into today we were ready to rock.”
SG Elite Roshambo is also in Gold after winning a challenge match against Texas Tornados in three sets Saturday evening. They’ll face Gainesville Elite.
SG coach Shari Iwatani has a few girls making their first appearance at nationals and believes that affected their performance earlier in the tournament. The team’s play today was more in line with what she’s come to expect.
“We had a lot of inexperienced, first-timers, so I think their pre-game jitters are done,” she said. “I think we’re finally playing what we should have been playing since day one. But nerves got the best of us earlier.”
Iwatani thinks the squad has what it takes to be on the podium.
“When all cylinders are working and we’re all on fire, it’s fun; we run a fast offense that keeps other teams on their toes.”
Austin Performance won a challenge match and moved into the Bronze bracket, playing KSVB at 11 a.m.
Joining Livewire, Nebraska Premier, SG Elite and Gainesville in Gold are NKYVC Tsunami, Six Pack, Mintonette and Ozark Juniors.
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