Indianapolis, Ind. (June 29, 2016) – Day three of Championship Finals at the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championship at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis with 13,000 athletes on 75 courts, but the emphasis today was on the 13s in the Open, National and American divisions.

Today also marked the final exhibition matches and training session for the USAV Collegiate National Team – Indianapolis. The team of 36 has been training here since June 21 and is part of USA Volleyball’s High Performance pipeline. This time in Indy is considered a second tryout for the U.S. Women’s National Team. 

13 Open

In the 13 Open Division, TAV 13 Black (NT) defeated Coast 13-1 Luis (SC) in three, 16-25, 28-26, 15-17.

Corinne Atchison, head coach TAV 13 Black, has won national titles in this division the last two years. 

“I get a new group each year,” she said. “I always stay at 13s, so I always have a new team every year and this group knew what they wanted to accomplish as a team and to just try to represent what TAV is all about … hard work and discipline.”

She’s interrupted by players on her team, “Can we get ice cream? Can we get ice cream?

She answers them, “Yes, you can get ice cream after this.”

Okay, so hard work, discipline and ice cream. Hey, they’re 13 and they just won nationals.

“They were behind twice (in the championship match), losing a set, being behind in a game and coming back and taking the whole thing in three,” she said. “They never stopped fighting.”

What’s it like to be a volleyball coach of young girls? “It is my favorite thing. I’ve been doing this for 16 years. I couldn’t ask for a better job. Everybody asks me if I get nervous and I do. And I know that’s the time for me to quit when I don’t get nervous and excited for the kids.”

13 National

Alamo 13 Premier (LS) won the 13 National title over CVC 13 Black (OV), 25-13, 25-21. 

Debra Gonzales has been coaching at Alamo since 2012, when she retired from coaching and teaching in junior high for 35 years. She coached volleyball all those years and a number of other sports. 

She said that she got involved with coaching volleyball with her three daughters: Jaci, Nicki and Dominique, all of whom went through the Alamo program and played in college. Dominique, her youngest, earned two national titles at Penn State as a libero.

This was Debra’s first national title. Alamo lost in the semifinals in the Open Division with her very first 13s team four years ago. Today’s team won because they “stayed focused and stayed with the game plan. We’re very undersized, but they play with heart all the time. They practice and play really hard. 

What’s special about this team that won today? “They play with heart.”

13 American

The Flyers 13 Rox-Bill (NT) won the 13 American title in three, 25-21, 19-25, 15-9, over Vegas Aces 13 Black (SC). The Flyers are newer team with just three girls coming back from last year. 

Former basketball coach Bill Raitt leads the Flyers as their head coach.

“I picked up a lot of girls who were not picked by other clubs,” said head coach Bill Raitt. “You know, I love those type of kids because they want to be there and they want to push and they love it. They all really, really gave effort for me. I pushed them hard. I really like those kids. I pushed and pushed and pushed them. They could basically run the system with me not even being there. 

“We’re a very undersized team, so I made sure we ran a very fast offense. That’s the only way to beat good teams is with good defense and fast offense. 

The team has been in existence for six years and this is the first national championship for any of their teams in club history. Bill has been coaching for six years, prior to volleyball he was a basketball coach. 

“I studied a lot of film. I played sand volleyball, didn’t play indoor. I’m a student of the game. I record college volleyball and watch it 24/7.” 

This age group “responds well. Still a learning phase in their life and in volleyball, so they listen and they give me 100 percent effort. They’re not perfect at all … we’re constantly working on their platform, working on everything.”

“I haven’t been with the team as much as usual. My 12s team qualified also and there were a lot of times where they played at the same time, so I’ve been jumping back and forth. I’ve been getting here at eight in the morning and leaving at 10 at night.”

“My 12s are playing at 4 o’clock, right now.”

The life of a USAV junior volleyball coach.

13 Open
Gold: TAV 13 Black (NT)
Silver: Coast 13-1 Luis (SC)
Bronze: Madfrog 13’s N Blue (NT)
Bronze: Sunshine 13 Westside (SC)

13 National
Gold: Alamo 13 Premier (LS)
Silver: CVC 13 Black (OV)
Bronze: Sky High 13 Black (GL)
Bronze: NKYVC 13-1 Tsunami (PR)

13 American
Gold: Flyers 13 Rox-Bill (NT)
Silver: Vegas Aces 13 Black (SC)
Bronze: Mintonette Sports – m.32 (OV)
Bronze: TVC 13-1 Pitzen (OV)