Central Zone Championships – Feb 27-28

The Central Zone Championships at the Circle City VBC complex in Indianapolis provided a good opportunity to compete against some high quality teams. We participated in the highest level, 16 Open, which challenged our players. The structure of this tournament was a little different than the norm. There were 15 teams placed in 5 initial pools of 3 teams each. Winners of those 5 pools then moved to one “Super Pool” of first place teams. Two other pools of five were created with the remaining second and third place teams. Teams then played out these five team pools and there were no follow-on playoffs.

C69A4456Our initial three-team pool proved quite strong. The first match against Circle City 16 White we trailed 14-18 before going on an unbelievable run to win 25-19. We continued our fine play to sweep the match with a second game win. Our next opponent, NKJV 16 Elite, looked very formidable but we played extremely well to take the match in two games and secure a first place finish in our initial pool.

Next up for us was the 5 team “Super Pool” of first place teams. Vision 16 Elite and Northern Indiana Volleyball Association (NIVA) 16s were our first two matches. After a poor first game we competed better but still could not match the opponents’ intensity level and we lost both matches in two games each. They were two very tough matches to finish our day. Fortunately our pool was scheduled to finish in the early afternoon, enabling a good team meal early Saturday evening at the Coachman Restaurant.

C69A4037Sunday morning’s schedule was also a good one since we had a bye for the 8 am match and then played at 9 am. Our opponent was Northern Kentucky Juniors Volleyball (NKJV), and, with consistent solid play, we won 25-14 and 25-17. That set up our final match with Circle City 15 Purple, a team ranked 5th in the country in their age group, and who had given up only 47 total points in their first three matches on Saturday. Their talent and intensity level was somewhat overwhelming as we fell behind 0-6. Although we did a few things well they rolled to a 13-25 win. The second game we competed much harder and gave them a good run before losing 19-25 and ending our pool play. Overall, we finished 4th out of 15 teams, a good showing at this strong tournament. More importantly I believe we came away with a better understanding of what it takes to compete at a high level.

We were a little shorthanded this weekend as Sara was performing as Gabrielle, Cinderella’s step-sister, in her school musical and Saturday Grace was attending the state high school swim finals, where her brother WON STATE in his two individual events. Special thanks to Hannah Grupe who joined us on Saturday and played well. Kudos also to the team for handling the revamped lineup and responding to some position changes. All in all, it was a good experience this weekend.

Thought for the Tournament

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

Taylor with the pleasantly powerful poised and perfectly placed pound.

Taylor with the pleasantly powerful poised and perfectly placed pound.

Danielle shapes her platform behind the deep cross court attack.

Danielle shapes her platform behind the deep cross court attack.

Gwen jousts with NKJV's middle blocker for a point.

Gwen jousts with NKJV’s middle blocker for a point.

Multi-tasking between matches.

Multi-tasking between matches.

With a quick jab step Audrey intercepts the attack and passes to target.

With a quick jab step Audrey intercepts the attack and passes to target.

One of Ashley's ridiculous ricocheting rockets off really reluctant receivers.

One of Ashley’s ridiculous ricocheting rockets off really reluctant receivers.

Faith extends to save a ball as the coaching staff erupts in excitement.

Faith extends to save a ball as the coaching staff erupts in excitement.

Guest player Hanah rejects the opponent's attack.

Guest player Hanah rejects the opponent’s attack.

Amanda's high arm extension renders the block useless.

Amanda’s high arm extension renders the block useless.

Four matches + pasta = One tired Faith

Four matches + pasta = One tired Faith

MH Grace avoids the double block in the middle.

MH Grace avoids the double block in the middle.

Mel goes low to pass the serve.

Mel goes low to pass the serve.

If Amanda is not playing volleyball she is usually doing this.

If you don’t see her playing volleyball you probably will see her doing this.

A clip from Ashley and Danielle's "Dancing with the Stars" audition tape.

A clip from Ashley and Danielle’s “Dancing with the Stars” audition tape.

Taylor challenges the middle blocker with her quick attack.

Taylor challenges the middle blocker with her quick attack.

Danielle bombs away from behind the ten foot line.

Danielle bombs away from behind the ten foot line as Faith and Mel look on with admiration.

Gwen's jump set draws the blocker.

Gwen’s jump set draws the blocker.

Hey Audrey, Those karate lessons are starting to pay off.

Hey Audrey, those karate lessons are starting to pay off.

Gwen and Ashley connect with the quick attack in the middle.

Gwen and Ashley connect with the quick attack in the middle.

Blue Crew awaits the start of the second pool.

Blue Crew awaits the start of the second pool.

A "Faith"fully executed serve reception.

A “Faith”fully executed serve reception.

Lefty Hannah attacks down the line from the left side.

Lefty Hannah attacks down the line from the left side.

TayBlock4

Taylor/Hannah Block

TayBlock2

Amanda/Taylor Block

TayBlock1

Taylor/Amanda Block

Taylor/Amanda Block

Taylor/Amanda Block

Amanda with the carefully crafted King Kong cross court kill.

Amanda with the carefully crafted King Kong cross court kill.

Fighting a strong headwind, Taylor struggles to complete the block.

Fighting a stiff headwind, Taylor struggles to complete the block.

Danielle with the lively lucious lovely lucidious line shot.

Danielle with the lively lucious lovely lucidious line shot.

Part of some strange ritualistic pre-game custom.

Part of some strange ritualistic pre-game custom.

Was working on a nice caption for this picture when I looked closer --- why do they call them kneepads if they are not used on the knees?

Was working on a nice caption for this picture when I looked closer — why do they call them kneepads if they are not used on the knees?

Gwen skillfully avoids the net on this sweet back set.

Gwen skillfully avoids the net on this sweet back set.

Middle attacker Ashley avoids the block.

Middle attacker Ashley avoids the block.

Avery Grace enjoyed Saturday's dinner too!

Avery Grace enjoyed Saturday’s dinner too!

Careful copious captivating concentration by Faith.

Careful copious captivating concentration by Faith.

Hannah and Ashley shut down the NKVC attacker.

Hannah and Ashley combine to shut down the NKJV attacker.

Amanda ensures this overpass never really makes it over.

Amanda ensures this overpass never really makes it over.

Blue Crew anxiously awaiting their food order.

Blue Crew anxiously awaiting their food order.

Love these back slide attacks by Grace.

Love these back slide attacks by Grace.

Hannah with the harsh heavenly hard to handle right side attack.

Hannah with the harsh heavenly hard to handle right side attack.

 

 

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