West Volleyball In District Lead
West volleyball is off to a 4-0 start in district play.
The Warriors are going for their ninth straight year in the playoffs. Their strong start in district comes despite the fact they have just a handful of varsity players back from last year. I asked head coach Alysia Hill how much her team has learned so far this season. “A lot. On a scale of 1-10, 10. They just want to keep on learning and that’s what’s so exciting about this group of girls. They’re pushing every day they get on the court.”
West volleyball continues district play Tuesday night by hosting Miller. The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team dominated the 2018 NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship all the way through to its final victory – a 25-13, 25-12, 25-23 win over Canada in the gold-medal match on Saturday in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Americans finished the tournament with a 5-0 record.
The U.S. had five players selected to the all-tournament team. Outside hitter Jess Mruzik (Livonia, Michigan) was selected as the most valuable player and best spiker. Libero Hattie Monson (Morris, Illinois) was tabbed best receiver and best digger. Setter Kennedi Orr (Eagan, Minnesota) was chosen best setter. Outside hitter Allison Jacobs (Stevenson Ranch, California) earned second best spiker. Opposite Emily Londot (Utica, Ohio) was chosen best opposite.
Both USA and Canada qualified for the 2019 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship as the top two finishers in NORCECA. Canada reached the gold-medal match for the first time in tournament history, and previously reached the podium only in 1998 with a bronze-medal finish. Canada had not participated in the zonal event in the previous 12 years (six editions of the biennial tournament). The U.S. did not lose a set in its five matches in the NORCECA Girls’ U18 Continental Championship, outscoring opponents 375-191 (average of 25.0-12.7 set scores). The Americans yielded more than 17 points in a single set just once in the tournament, which was the final set of the championship match.
Leading by a slim 12-10 margin in the opening set, the U.S. out-scored Canada 13-3 down the stretch to win 25-13, thanks to a 7-1 block advantage. In a near exact repeat of the opening set, the U.S. bolted from a slim 12-10 margin in the second set by scoring 13 of the final 15 points to win 25-12. The Americans rallied from a 7-1 deficit in the third set to win 25-23.
“We are happy,” U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team Head Coach Jim Stone said. “The thing that I really like about this team is that they improved. They kept improving over the course of the training period. If that meant we qualified, that is great, but we wanted to keep improving and they did that.”
Mruzik led all scorers with 19 points that included 14 kills on 24 swings, three aces and two blocks. Robinson added eight kills on 14 errorless attacks and five blocks for 13 points. Londot contributed 13 points with 12 kills on 17 swings and an ace.
“A couple weeks ago, we were out in Colorado Springs – nobody really knew each other. We were only training together for two weeks,” Mruzik said. “This team has bonded better than any team I have ever been on. The team chemistry was out of this world – no team drama, we held each other accountable. We each did our job, and I think that is so important. Winning this tournament was a team effort as every single person contributed every single practice, every single game.”
Middle CC Crawford (Kansas City, Missouri) pocketed seven points with three kills on six attacks, three blocks and an ace. Orr totaled three blocks and an ace for four points. Jacobs tacked on two aces, one block and one ace for four points. Back row specialist Taylor Sydney (Grove City, Ohio) rounded out the scoring with an ace.