FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (July 23, 2019) – The profile of the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships ensures that winning teams will probably be among the most resilient.
Teams of talented players are brought together for four days of training before competing in a tournament against other teams that have been similarly assembled, but also international teams that may have been together longer.
The 2019 HP Championships added another layer of adversity when a broken water main in the city of Fort Lauderdale on July 18, the first day of competition, effectively cancelled a day of play, forcing teams to play three to four makeup matches the following day.
On Sunday, the teams that took the podium in seven divisions knew they had truly earned their medals.
Team Florida from the Florida Region won the inaugural Region Cup as the most successful region HP program.
Women’s International Junior
After winning its first four matches, 3-0, including one against the team from Chile, Girls Select A1 Red, which was playing up two divisions, encountered the South American team again and pulled out a 3-2 win.
Select A1 Red’s next two matches also went five, so when the team met Chile again in the final, and was losing 0-2, it knew how to respond, coming back to win, 18-25, 21-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-11.
“They’re an unbelievable group that I think, from the very beginning, had pretty lofty expectations,” said Head Coach Alyssa D’Errico (back row, far right in photo), the women’s volleyball associate head coach at the University of Dayton. “When adversity struck for them, they did an incredible job rallying together as a group. Every single opportunity for someone to step up in a role we needed them to, they did.”
Select A1 Red outside hitter McKenna Wucherer (back row, second from left in photo), the division MVP, credited her coach for inspiring the team in the final.
“Our coach told us, ‘This is going to be a time you guys are going to remember,’” Wucherer said. “You’re going to come back and win this gold medal. We believed in it.”
Wucherer, who is going into her sophomore year of high school at Brookfield Central in Minnesota and plays for the Milwaukee Sting club, said she learned about leadership at HP Championships.
“I learned how to be a better leader; to come from behind; to start off strong; all the little things,” she said.
Girls Youth A1 Red finished third in the division, coming back to beat Women’s Junior A1 Red in the third-place match, 18-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-13, 15-13
The U.S. Boys Youth National Training Team was split into two squads with setters being changed midway through the tournament as the coaches worked to decide which 12 players would be chosen for the team that would compete at the FIVB U19 World Championship.
The team lost one match in pool play to Boys Youth A1 White, but came back to reach the semifinals, where it beat previously undefeated SCVA Youth International.
The BYNTT Red squad, coached by Penn State men’s volleyball Associate Head Coach Colin McMillan, won the final over Boys Youth A1 Red, coached by 2008 Olympic gold medalist Riley Salmon, 25-14, 25-15, 25-20.
“One of the main things I learned from the coaches is that adversity is always going to follow you and it’s your choice on how you’re going to react,” said setter Joe Karlous, who played for Newport Harbor High School and the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club. He is signed to play for Pepperdine in the fall. “The final thing is ‘no stress,’ no matter what, no stress.”
BYNTT Red outside hitter Clarke Godbold was named the division MVP. Godbold will be a senior at Peninsula High School in California this fall and plays for the Southern California Volleyball Club. SCVA Youth International won the bronze medal with a 25-11, 25-18, 25-19 win over Keystone Region Volleyball Association Boys HP.
Girls International Select
SCVA Select (Southern California Region) lost its final pool play match to Girls Select CT Red-GSCR. It came back to beat Girls Select CT Red-GSCR in the semifinals, 25-18, 25-16, 26-24.
In the final, it went down 0-2 to Team Florida before coming back to win, 21-25, 15-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-13.
SCVA Select Head Coach Matt Fuerbringer, the women’s volleyball associate head coach at Long Beach State, taught his team what it means to be high performance.
“We ate well, we did team meals, we watched video together and did scouting reports. It was a lot for the girls,” Fuerbringer said. “In one 24-hour period we played four matches. Two of them went five. For them to do that, just shows the group had support and everyone contributed.”
SCVA Select outside hitter Rylee Schulz, the division MVP who plays for Santa Fe Christian High School in California and Coast Volleyball Club, said her team bonded quickly.
“The second we got in the gym, we would do games together,” she said. “We would always talk. I just remember every single time we would get on the court, we were always laughing.”
Aloha Girls National Select finished third, beating Girls Select CT Red-GSCR in the final, 25-19, 23-25, 25-16, 21-25, 20-18.
Girls International Youth
Team Florida truly had an international tournament, beating teams from New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Canada on its way to winning the title.
In the final, it beat Team Ontario Females out of Canada, 25-18, 25-18, 25-22.
Head Coach Adis Imamovic, who coaches for the Jacksonville Juniors Volleyball Association, said his team’s pool play loss to Girls Select A1 White may have helped it win.
“The girls felt like they had something to prove,” he said. “Maybe without that loss, it would have gone differently. It proves how hungry and how resilient they all are.”
Team Florida all tournament outside hitter Erin Morrissey, who plays for Florida’s Plant High School and Orlando Tampa Volleyball Academy, enjoyed getting to know this new team.
“Everybody was so nice and so funny,” she said. “I was kind of surprised because my club team is strict and serious, which is a good thing. But honestly, we got things done when we needed to and connected so well. I loved playing with them.”
Boys National Select
1 Boys Future Select A1 (USAV HP)
2 Badger Boys National Select (Badger Region)
3 OVR HP Select (Ohio Valley Region)
4 AZ Boys Select (Arizona Region)
Boys National Youth
1 Team Florida BNY (Florida Region)
2 SCVA Youth National (Southern California Region)
3 Great Lakes Lightning HP (Great Lakes Region)
4 Badger Boys National Youth (Badger Region)
Girls National Select
1 OVR HP Select (Ohio Valley Region)
2 Lone Star Select (Lone Star Region)
3 Badger Girls Select (Badger Region)
4 ODR HP Girls Select (Old Dominion Region)
Girls National Youth
1 OVR HP Youth (Ohio Valley Region)
2 Aloha Girls National Youth (Aloha Region)
3 Girls Select A1 Stars (USAV HP)
4 ODR HP Girls Youth (Ohio Valley Region)
Girls Future Select
1 Team Florida (Florida Region)
2 Lone Star Future Select (Lone Star Region)
3 Iowa Future Select (Iowa Region)
4 Oklahoma Future Select (Oklahoma Region)