MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (April 30, 2016) – Lori Endicott-Vandersnick has competed at the highest levels of volleyball, playing in two Olympic Games and helping Team USA win bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Now she is giving back to the sport at the grassroots level and is coaching the Springfield Juniors at this weekend’s USA Volleyball Girls’ 18s National Championships in Milwaukee.
“I think for me it is an opportunity to give back to a program that I have been really proud of after playing in the Olympics,” Endicott-Vandersnick said. “This team I coach is part of the Community Olympic Development Program, and it plays under Springfield Juniors. It was started by the United States Olympic Committee as a grassroots program, and Springfield, Missouri, is just one of 16 cities that has this CODP, and we are the only program with volleyball. I think it is a really unique opportunity, especially for me to be able to do this.”
Springfield Juniors went through pool play undefeated in five matches and dropped just one set.
“I think sometimes we take for granted and forget that she is an Olympian and have the best of the best,” Springfield Juniors libero Gerri Idos said. “It is the greatest experience, and I know everything she says will benefit me and make me a better player and person.”
As a player herself, Endicott-Vandersnick joined the U.S. Women’s National Team in 1989 after a stellar career at University of Nebraska. She was named the Best Setter at the 1990 World Challenge Cup and FIVB Super Four before helping Team USA to the bronze medal at the FIVB World Championship. Endicott-Vandersnick added Best Setter at the 1991 NORCECA Championship and the 1992 FIVB Super Four. At the 1992 Olympic Games, she was selected as Best Setter.
Now as a coach, Endicott-Vandersnick has been proud of the accomplishments of her Springfield Juniors club.
“This group is such an amazing group, not just as athletes, but as ladies,” Endicott-Vandersnick said. “They always represent themselves, their families, this program with respect through their communications with the officials and other coaches. They are a great reffing group. I think that says a lot about them as people, and they have had a lot of success in past years finishing second at nationals one year. We have won a couple qualifiers as 17s and 18s.”
Endicott-Vandersnick is just as proud of her players for what they do off the court.
“The players also have a high level of character and respect for the game and themselves,” Endicott-Vandersnick said.
According to Endicott-Vandersnick, the program started in 2005 with 20 players with just herself coach in one gym. Now the program has expanded to about 300 players in the program with 10 assistant coaches in four facilities.
The Springfield CODP program is not standing still in its own development.
“We try to add new things every year,” Endicott-Vandersnick said. “This year we added sand volleyball into the program, and I am excited about that. The majority of these players have gone through the CODP as athletes when they were younger. I think that is a good representation of the program and continuing to work hard through the game, persevering sometimes when things get difficult allows you to have that success. Plus, a great attitude and working hard and all those things that epitomizes what a great athlete is all about.”
Idos is a veteran of the program having joined the team coached by Endicott-Vandersnick at age 15, but has been a part of the CODP program since she was 11.
“We have qualified for Nationals since we were 12s, so I have gone to National seven years,” Idos said. “When we were 15s, we won silver in the Nationals Divisions.”
This year in Milwaukee, Idos is looking for a different results – a first for the program.
“Trying to get the gold this time,” Idos said.