Battleline: National Tournament Excitement - The Missourian: Sports

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Battleline: National Tournament Excitement

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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 2:13 pm, Wed Jul 11, 2012.

Four days.

That’s how long it takes to cap a club volleyball season.

It seems rather trivial to concentrate something as substantial as the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships in Columbus, Ohio, down to one simple phrase.

I had the fortune last week to attend the USA Volleyball national tournament with Show Me Volleyball Academy’s 15 Elite team.

And in the four days that our team played in the 15 National Division, one could see every emotion in the ups and downs of the different teams. Emotions ran high as each team tried to end the season with a victory and end up playing on the main courts.

Just looking around and observing was better than reality television. And, for many of the good folks of Columbus who were without electricity and other comforts of home, it would have made great entertainment and a way to get out of the heat.

Not everyone got to play on the stadium-like Court 1 and its towering stands, booming PA system, announcers and everything else to make it a memorable event. Nor did most get the chance to play on Court 2 and its fantastic court located in the shadow of the Court 1.

Our team had the fortune to be able to play within a long shanked pass from Court 2, but we ended up in the far distant corner of Court 48, where our national championship hopes came to an end on Independence Day.

Losing three matches that day sealed our fate to playing in Flight 1 on the final day of the tournament. Our girls finished strong by bringing home the Flight 1 championship (21st place) and the plaque which went with it. It was a great way to end a season which had started back in November.

I was proud for our players, Paige Perego (Parkway West), Claire Harman (Lafayette), Amy Kindt (Marquette), Jordan Kriete (Borgia), Molly Fox (Marquette), Grace Haselhorst (John Burroughs), Amanda Noel (Lafayette), Hannah Cherry (St. Joseph’s Academy) and Bethany Besancenez (St. Joseph’s Academy). It was amazing to see them conclude the season with one final reward.

The whole season was a great one for everyone involved with many memorable moments.

Over the four days of the tournament, SMVA 15 Elite played both semifinal losers, Northern Lights 15-2 and Club One 15 Black as well as fifth-place team Arizona Storm 15 Thunder (Club One and Arizona Storm were two of the losses on Independence Day), 11th-place finisher Black Swamp 15 Oberst and 19th-place Excel NW 15 Team Rox.

Our team put itself into something of a hole on the first day, going 1-2, but came back to win twice on the second day to remain alive for the championship.

Our team’s head coach, Union High School graduate Shane Allen, knows what it takes to win a title as he did two seasons ago. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the year for him to lead another group of eager athletes onto the medal podium again.

All we had to do was win one match on the third day, July 4, to be able to continue in the Gold Bracket.

We didn’t.

Losing three times put the hopes to play on one of the main courts on hold. Nope, it would be something on the back wall for our matches on the final day.

Give the athletes and coaches credit. They bounced back to knock off SWVBC of Milwaukee and A5 Mizuno 15-2 Earl to win the Flight 1 title and leave the Greater Columbus Convention Center with something other than a souvenir T-shirt and the small trinkets exchanged between teams at the start of every match.

I don’t think it was a major surprise that Iowa Rockets 15R won the National Division title. Our team provided officials for a few of their matches and had played them before. They looked unbeatable and they were able to sustain that momentum over the full four days of the tournament, beating Sunshine 15 South Bay for the title.

I know there were a number of other area athletes at the event in the different age groups as I ran into several area residents at the event. If that’s any indication, volleyball indeed is alive and well in this area.

If there was one thing I would like to see, it would be shortening the season though. Most clubs hold tryouts in middle or late November and start playing around the new year. So, that meant that most of the teams at the nationals had been together for over seven months and had been playing for over six.

But the break between the regional and national tournaments seems to be the real problem. The Gateway Region USA Volleyball event was played in early May. That meant that there was a little under two months between that event and the national tournament.

Hitting the middle or end of May usually means reaching a desolate time without many events. There was the Battle for the Arch Tournament which took place in early June (after most schools let out). But there just seems to be some form of disconnect between the end of regionals and the start of nationals.

I know that practice schedules tend to change around somewhat with school reaching its end and the start of summer. It almost seems there’s a loss of the same school-practice structure that was in place during the club season. Something is different.

Teams tend to lose focus. And those teams usually are the first to depart from the championship pools at the national tournament. You’ve got to stay mentally focused and physically sharp from the first whistle at the national event to have a chance.

I believe that if the season was shortened, even if by a few weeks, there would be a better sense of getting the teams at their peak. I know USA Volleyball has to work around potential school conflicts, but there’s got to be a way to get this done in a more efficient manner.

All things considered, it was a great experience to be able to go to the national tournament and one I would be happy to have again.

/

Area Scoreboard

Football

Friday, Sept. 19

*Ft. Zumwalt S 56, Washington 7

Borgia 42, Cardinal Ritter 6

*Union 55, St. Clair 35

*Sullivan 27, Pacific 10

Owensville 19, Hermann 16

St. James 28, Ash Grove 7

Brentwood 41, Cuba 24

*St. Charles West 49, Warrenton 7

South Callaway 55, Wright City 6

Friday, Sept. 12

*Ft. Zumwalt North 49, Washington 0

*Borgia 35, St. Dominic 0

*Union 27, Pacific 19

*Sullivan 47, St. Clair 21

Hermann 65, Wentzville Liberty 7

*Owensville 29, St. James 28 (OT)

Cuba 22, Windsor 6

*Warrenton 14, St. Charles 6

*Bowling Green 55, Wright City 0

Friday, Sept. 5

Warrenton 14, Washington 6

Borgia 13, Maplewood-Richmond Heights 0 (forfeit)

*Union 32, Sullivan 19

*Pacific 20, St. Clair 18

*Hermann 52, St. James 20

Owensville 35, Cuba 8

*Wright City 36, Montgomery Co. 0

Friday, Aug. 29

Sullivan 30, Washington 8

Borgia 56, Union 13

Ozark 41, St. Clair 0

Potosi 34, Pacific 13

Hermann 54, Cuba 12

Blair Oaks 42, Owensville 0

St. James 36, Houston 18

Warrenton 28, Troy 0

Orchard Farm 36, Wright City 18

Friday, Aug. 22

Washington 26, St. Clair 21

Borgia 48, Owensville 12

Parkway West 49, Union 39

Pacific 28, De Soto 20

Park Hills Central 34, Sullivan 27

St. James 12, Cuba 6

Hermann 61, Montgomery Co 12

Warrenton 26, St. Dominic 23

Trinity 28, Wright City 24

Softball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at Notre Dame    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt N    4:30 p.m.

*Union at Owensville    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Warrenton    4:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Northwest    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Dominic at Borgia    3:45 p.m.

*Union at Hermann    4:30 p.m.

*St. Clair at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

South Callaway at New Haven    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Union at Ft. Zumwalt N Tny    TBA

St. James Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt S    4:30 p.m.

Union at North County    4:30 p.m.

Warrenton at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Principia at Sullivan    4:30 p.m.

Hermann at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

Owensville at Cuba    4:30 p.m.

St. James at Bourbon    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Borgia at Duchesne    4:30 p.m.

*Holt at Washington    4:30 p.m.

*Pacific at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at New Haven    4:30 p.m.

*Hermann at St. James    4:30 p.m.

Volleyball

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Sullivan at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    5 p.m.

*New Haven at Union    5:30 p.m.

*Pacific at Hermann    5:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Washington at Duchesne    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at Owensville    5 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    5:30 p.m.

*Hermann at New Haven    5:30 p.m.

*St. James at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

O’Fallon Christian at Borgia    6:30 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    5:15 p.m.

Providence at Crosspoint    7:15 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

Saturday, Sept. 20

New Haven Round Robin    9 a.m.

ECC at Wentworth    1 p.m.

ECC vs. Graceland JV (Wentworth)    3 p.m.

Washington at Gateway Match Up    TBA

St. Clair at Seckman Tny    TBA

Monday, Sept. 22

St. Clair at Salem    5 p.m.

Bourbon at Sullivan    5:30 p.m.

Dixon at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

Cuba at St. James    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint at Bethel    5:30 p.m.

Crosspoint vs. Thomas Jefferson    6:30 p.m.

Hermann Tournament    TBA

Boys Soccer

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Crosspoint at Fulton St. Albans    4:30 p.m.

Tolton Catholic at Borgia    5:30 p.m.

*Washington at Ft. Zumwalt E    6 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

*St. Louis at ECC    4:30 p.m.

Union at Affton    5 p.m.

St. Clair at De Soto    5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

*St. Clair at St. James    5 p.m.

Dixon at Sullivan    5 p.m.

Borgia at Trinity    6:15 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Eagle Ridge at Crosspoint    4:30 p.m.

Tolton at Fulton SA    5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

*Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    10 a.m.

Crowder at ECC    2 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 22

Hillsboro at Union    5 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Tuesday, Sept. 23

*Fulton SA at Thomas Jefferson    4:30 p.m.

North County at Union    5 p.m.

*St. James at Pacific    5 p.m.

*Borgia at St. Dominic    6:15 p.m.

CYC Tny    TBA

Cross Country

Thursday, Sept. 18

St. Clair at Lutheran North    4 p.m.

New Haven, St. James at Steelville Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Festus Inv.    9 a.m.

Hermann at Fulton Inv    9 a.m.

Thursday, Sept. 25

Washington at Rolla Inv    4 p.m.

Union, Owensville, St. James at Belle Inv    4 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hancock Inv    8:30 a.m.

Pacific at Viburnum Inv    10:30 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

St. Clair at Elsberry Inv    4 p.m.

St. James at Dixon    4 p.m.

Girls Golf

Tuesday, Sept. 16

*Borgia at St. Dominic    3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

Ft. Zumwalt S at Washington    3:30 p.m.

Borgia at AAA Meet, Lutheran SC    TBA

Wednesday, Sept. 24

Washington at GAC Central Meet    TBA

Thursday, Sept. 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    3:30 p.m.

Boys Swimming

Saturday, Sept. 20

Borgia at Ft. Zumwalt W    8:30 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 29

Washington at Ft. Zumwalt South    3:30 p.m.

*Conference Games

Racing News