WACO JUNIORS VOLLEYBALL
After facing teams from all over the country, including Wisconsin, Texas and California. the Waco Volleyball 14 Swoosh team came back with a bronze medal in the American division at the 2013 USAV Junior Girls National Championships. The four day tournament started with Waco as the top seed in their pool and ranked 7th overall. After a tough loss to eventual 5th place finisher PVA 14 Elite, Waco cruised through the rest of their pool without dropping another set over the first two days of the tournament.
At the beginning of the third day, Waco was placed into a new three team pool. A top two finish would guarantee a spot in the challenge round. After two grueling matches, the team finished in first place with one final match remaining. After a long wait, the team squared off against LiveWire, a solid team from Arizona. Coach Anthony Avillanoza continued to emphasize his ball control philosophy and implored his team to limit errors and keep the ball in play. The team listened and performed the game plan to perfection. Making only eight hitting errors, and having almost as many aces as serving errors, the Waco team cruised to an easy straight sets victory.
The final day of competition brings all sorts of nerves. Not only was Waco playing the number one seed in the tournament, but they were also looking to end an eight year medal drought for the club. The first match started out great with an ace. From there, the team didn’t look back and gained another straight sets victory. The semi-final match was against Vision, a perennial nationally ranked club from Palo Alto, California who came into the tournament seeded fourth overall and had yet to lose a match. The first game did not start well and Vision made quick work of Waco. Coach Avillanoza reminded the team of past instances where they had lost game one and had come back to win the match. This time the team started out fast and forced a deciding third set. Unfortunately, a comeback win was not in the script and the Waco season ended with a 15-12 loss.
Overall, the tournament was an incredible success, with the Waco Volleyball club receiving it’s first medal for the 14’s age group and the first medal in the American division in any age since 2005. The girls received their bronze medals proudly and will treasure the moments and memories made for many years to come.