Last weekend our girls traveled to Denver, Colorado to compete in the Colorado Crossroads qualifier. After playing open in our first two big tournaments, our girls expected a victory in the USA Division. We started our trip with a team lunch to a deli right next to the convention center for a chance to bond and grow.
After leaving, our girls were ready to go sweeping their pool as a three seed. We felt very under ranked, being placed 56 th out of 96 teams. We had a lot to prove that they got their rankings wrong! Our day started against the 8 th overall seed Vision Volleyball. These girls were big and could smack the ball but we were able to outscrap and get timely kills to win the set in three 25-22, 14-25, 15-12. After taking down the top in the pool we had a lull and barely scraped by a competent Elevation Peak 27-25, 25-17. After not playing our best coaches asked the girls to dig deep and find their best to finish on top. We came out confident and defeated Club One 25-11, 25-12. Club one had defeated Elevation easily so it was a good lesson in playing your game and winning games you are supposed to win.
A long night ended in a metro ride to the hotel and some sleep for an early pool Saturday. We started our day against Cobb Atlanta, coached by former H2 Assistant Director Michael Loyd. Michael actually coached Camrey her 18’s year for H2 and is a good friend of both of ours. We were excited to compete and our girls came out hot to win the match 25-9, 25-21. Our girls then played Ignit Blue and unfortunately fell. The match went to three and featured a match point that included several diving plays and a kick over the net that led to our defeat 25-17, 19-25, 17-19. Very disappointed in falling out of the number one spot, our girls had to face TESL Red again for the chance to advance to gold. We could not get over the loss and came out like we were thinking about the last game, letting them take a set off us. Although we were playing poorly, we won in three against a TESL team that improved a lot since the last time we played. The final was 25-20, 27-29, 15-9. Utmost respect for all of TESL Red as we had parents, coaches, and parents alike wishing us luck and congratulating us for advancing. I was happy to see St. Louis teams cheering each other on!
Getting second in our pool meant we had a play-in game at 8 o’clock that night. We regrouped afterwards and asked the girls if their effort was 100% the entire day. Clearly, not everyone said yes. We begged the girls to stop being so hard on themselves and to come together as a team. We all went back to the hotel for a few hours to regroup by ourselves before a pivotal match.
Feeling refreshed and regrouped we saw a different 17 UA that night. We were pumped for warmups, cheering and pushing ourselves to be our best. It started in pregame as parents and players were yelling and excited for the chance to move on! We played Legacy National who were no slouches. We bounced back after each hit we took and played our best of the year to win 25-16, 25-20.
Moving all the way from 56 th to the gold bracket is such an achievement, but our girls weren’t satisfied. We faced off against the number one team in the tournament MAVS Blue at 8 am with a spring forward time change. We came out a little flat and a little intimidated, at least that’s what coaches saw. They had some big girls that could hit ten-foot line and our girls were not ready. We lost the first set 15-25 but we did not get discouraged. We came back from a 16-4 deficit and ended the game on an 11-9 run. We knew we could do it and in the second set we proved it. We won 25-20 and gave them their first set loss of the tournament! We rode that momentum into set three and had an 8-4 lead and an 11-8 lead but they proved to be too much. They started hitting crazy shots cross court and dug every ball we put down for an 11-15 loss.
We did not get our bid, we fell short of our goal, but we found out what it takes to win games. Coaches both feel like we took a huge step and the right direction and showed we have what it takes to compete with everyone. We were the only team to take a set off of MAVS and it was unfortunate we met them in the first round instead of later in the bracket. Our girls were very disappointed but looking back there was a lot of good that came out of this trip. We are excited for the next qualifier in Indianapolis where we will be competing for an Open Bid!