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.
Our 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.
Sunday 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.”