FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (July 21, 2019) – When a distant relative of Danial Levent’s told him he had a granddaughter who played volleyball, Levent thought it was just another proud relative.

“I figured it was a grandfather tooting his granddaughter’s horn,” he said.

Levent had been a high school and college volleyball player in New York and had played professionally in Finland.

When he returned, he started coaching at his alma mater, Baruch College. Eventually he founded and coached for the International Volleyball Club.

Two years ago, he was invited to coach for the USA Volleyball High Performance A2 program. He also found out that his distant relative had not been exaggerating.

“I found out she had been invited to the A2 camp, but had torn her ACL that year and couldn’t go,” he said.

This year, both Levent and his relative, Elise Agi (in photo above), were invited to the A1 program at the USAV High Performance Championships at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.

The pair got to meet for the first time.

“I was super excited,” said Agi, 15. “It was nice to have someone from the volleyball world in my family.”

Levent is coaching Boys Future Select A1. Agi is playing for Girls Youth A1 White. She lives across the country from Levent in San Francisco, where she plays for Encore Volleyball Club and University High School.

Levent and Agi have something else in common. Their family is originally from the Tatar region of Kazan, Russia and both were brought up to speak fluent Tatar.

“I had never met her before, but it feels like I’ve known her longer,” Levent said.

Girls Future Select Final

Team Florida beat Lone Star Future Select in the final, 25-16, 25-23, 25-14 to finish the tournament at 7-0.

“I can’t take any credit at all. This team is super talented,” Head Coach Courtney Draper said. “Our middles weren’t even hitting 1s before we came. We had two practices, kind of got them in sync. Every time we played, they got better.”

Setter Juleigh Urbina credited the broken water main that cancelled the first day of the tournament with bringing the team together.

“We kind of had a party in my room,” Urbina said. “We were in the pool a lot.”

Iowa Future Select finished third.