H2 14 Illini West Red Persistently Fights for First Place

This past weekend on March 11, the H2 14 Illini West Red team visited Bishop DuBourg High School in St. Louis, Missouri for the DuBourg Classic. With tough teams in their pool like Rockwood and TESL, the ladies just came in third in pool play, moving on to the silver bracket. After playing and beating Elite 14 Red behind Elena Schrof and Anna Reese’s strong hitting, setting, and serving abilities, H2 14 Red once again found themselves at the silver championship against the Gemini Titans. After winning the first game and getting excited, the ladies fell the second game, bringing them again to a third game for the championship medal. Even with loud, cheering parents, friends, teammates, and coaches, H2 14 Red fell to the Titans and received the medal for second place in the Silver Bracket. H2 Illini West 14’s teams continue to strive for more and will be working hard in practices to achieve those goals. Congrats on the medal ladies; let’s move forward!

H2 STL 15 Black back-to-back 2nd in Gold!

“Okay campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties because it’s cold outside…it’s Groundhog Day!” Well maybe it isn’t February 2nd and Bill Murray isn’t in Punxsutawney, PA, but Sunday sure felt like it. After finishing 2nd in Gold at the Thunder Classic last week, the ladies of H2 STL 15 Black came into the TESL Center for the March Madness and earned 2nd in Gold for the second straight week. This makes four 2nd’s in Gold out of five tournaments this season. From the beginning, it was evident that the winner of the tournament was going to come from our bracket. As stacked bracket with two Rockwood teams and a scrappy St. Louis Crossfire Elite team caught us on our heels giving us a split after taking three of four sets from both Rockwood teams in our pool. Having deciding set victories during the pool play gave us the point differential of a 1st place finish in pool play for the 5th consecutive tournament. The 2nd place team was a tough Rockwood 15 Carolina team with a Libero that just didn’t let anything touch the court. After beating 15 Carolina in a two-set sweep, we both knew we’d see each other again for the Gold. But first, we had to get through a 15 Illinois Heat team. After a 19-6 blowout first set, IL Heat found a spot and started out on top quick and we were forced to come back from a deficit early. Unfortunately, in sideout ball, we ran out of time dropping the 2nd 19-17. Dejected this team was not. They knew exactly what they did wrong and co-Captain Riley Kleber just looked at me and said, “relax coach, we got this.” The girls took over with a dominant serve performance in the 3rd by setter Sarah Gingrich delivering a seven-serve run with two aces and two out of system serves pulling away to a 15-7 3rd set victory. As expected, Rockwood 15 Carolina was in our sites for our goal of winning Gold. The girls started off slow going down 10-4 early. Again, after a much-needed timeout, they looked at me and their eyes said it this time, “we got this coach.” I let them work out their game plan and they didn’t falter. Not only did they fight back to tie, but a back and forth battle emerged ultimately H2 taking the 1st set 27-25. Going into the 2nd set, Jenna and I could see the girls were gassed from the many hard-fought matches and practices over the last three weeks. The girls gave 100% every whistle and battled every volley and left everything on the court, but on this day, the goal was not on our side and we fell in the next two sets to Rockwood. As the 2nd place medals were handed out, I could see they didn’t want to put the medal on for pictures. As I told them we’re always a 1st place team no matter what but be proud of the battle fought today for others would love to be in this position just once and we have been there four times. The girls grabbed their medals, and smiled for pics, knowing that we are a 1st in Gold team and that’s what matters.

This tournament saw the return of middle hitter Kenadi Barriger in a limited rotation role and she didn’t let her team down delivering a modest seven kills at a .357 hitting percentage. But K’s most important contribution was the five stuff blocks! Middle hitter Riley Kleber led the offensive wave delivering her first double double of the season with a team high 20 kills at a .406 clip and 10 digs along with six blocks and seven service aces. Outside hitter Tori Mohesky was right on Riley’s heels with her 3rd double double of the season with 19 kills and 14 digs and tossed in 7 serving aces to round out her day. Outside hitter Hailey Cortinas had her best tournament of the year coming in with her first double double of the season with 18 kills and 10 digs. Right side Myah Helmkamp is hitting her season stride and had some hammer dropping sideout kills on the outside finishing with 10 kills overall. Myah’s tag-team partner RS Cami Marteeny came in with 9 kills and 4 digs, 2 of her digs came in the critical semi-final match with IL Heat to keep Sarah’s serve run going. Second year Libero Emily Johnston was tasked heavily on Sunday with some very tough serving Rockwood teams and an overly tipping Crossfire team. Emily held her position with 41 digs bringing her season total to 134 digs, 34 serves with an outstanding 50% ace/out of system ratio. Key moment was a five-service run with three aces to close out the 27-25 1st set win of the final match. Setter Anna Richter stepped her game up bringing her third double double of the season guiding her rotations with 45 assists and covering her defensive responsibilities with 13 digs. Setter Sarah Gingrich came to play as well ringing up her first double double on the year with 36 assists and 10 service aces at a 91% serve efficiency. Middle hitter Sally Albers, who stepped in on a moment’s notice over the last two weeks for injured Kenadi Barriger, contributed six kills and one block on the day. As Kenadi is full strength, Sally will return to her full time select basketball team. The girls and coaches of H2 STL 15 Black thank you for joining the team in a time of need.

After four 2nd place finishes in Gold, most teams would consider this a successful season. Not to these girls who are hungry to get past this barrier and earn 1st in Gold. Although humble for the experience to earn 2nd, they understand 1st is the prize they want more than anything. This weekend we’re on the road to Bloomington, IL for the JVA Illini Elite 15U/16U Central Finale with the goal of bringing home 1st in Gold for the H2 program! Again ladies, excellent performance on Sunday. Coach Jenna and I are extremely proud of each and every one of you!



H2 South takes 1st in Gold

The H2 South (16’s) attended a 2 day tournament Hit it to win in Indiana. They came out undefeated taking 1st in gold. This team has impressed me so far this year. With one 1st place gold metal, three 2nd place metals, and placing in two times gold brackets so far.


H2 STL 15 Black Take 2nd in Gold

On Sunday, after a week off the ladies of H2 STL 15 Black returned to action at Crestview Middle School at the 15U Thunder Classic and captured their third 2nd place in Gold on the 2017-2018 season. After taking 2nd in Gold in their first tournament of the year a 16U in Perryville, the next week taking 2nd in Gold at Mineral Area and a 3rd in Gold at 15U Forest Park two weeks ago, these ladies have earned three medals in four tournaments this season. The girls charged forward into the Thunder Classic taking out PLVC 15-2, Serves-U-Right and a scrappy H2 STL 15 Illinois Black during pool play, taking 1st place with all three matches played without dropping a set. Entering the first round of medal play, it was an all H2 matchup pinning STL 15 Black against 15 Cardinal. The girls used a balanced attack, fast transitions and pinpoint serves to take out 15 Cardinal in two. All day on the court next to us, we eyed the team we knew we’d have to get through in order to earn 1st, a very talented Rockwood Navy 15 team that is currently 3rd in the Gateway Region ranking. The girls stepped onto the court for the Gold final with confidence exhuming from their bodies. After a monster warmup, it was back to back point exchanges until separation came at 12-10 and Rockwood never looked back. The 2nd set started off the same with H2 holding a brief lead until Rockwood’s same server that gave us fits the first set, had a short run to create a separation. Back to back questionable reffing calls put the girls behind and on the defensive for the rest of the set. We couldn’t overcome their speed and size losing the 2nd set 25-18 and going down in two. During the post-match huddle as I presented them with their 2nd place, I told them “that is by far the best team you have faced all year, and we had them on their heels looking around for two sets.” Although the score sheet said it was a loss for 15 Black, these girls now know just how talented they are and that they can compete against the best teams in the Gateway Region!

A true team effort across the board. Key accomplishments for the day were outside hitter Tori Mohesky who finished the day with her second triple double of the season with a team high 26 kills, 12 digs and threw in 11 serving aces. Middle hitter Riley Kleber brought in 15 kills and three huge blocks along with five service aces. Middle hitter Sally Albers, recent addition as a team practice player was promoted to play for Kenadi Barriger, who is recovering from a minor knee ailment, contributed 16 kills on 31 attacks. Right sides Myah Helmkamp and Cami Marteeny balanced out our attack system with 10 and 7 kills, respectively. Outside hitter Hailey Cortinas had a great defensive day with covering the back row with 12 digs. Libero Emily Johnston anchored the defense with a blistering 90% pass efficiency rate and had a team high 22 digs bringing her season total to 93 digs, along with 42 serves with an outstanding 50% ace/out of system ratio. Setters Sarah Gingrich and Anna Richter couldn’t be more of a balanced tandem of setters for this team. Sarah had 40 assists to Anna’s 39 assists. Anna had 24 serves with 100% serve percentage to Sarah’s 23 serves at 96%. These two young athletes directed a power attack of hitters to this point of the season better than any two setters I have coached. Middle Kenadi Barriger returns this weekend in a limited rep role as the girls are back at it this weekend at the TESL Center for the 15U March Madness where they hope to crack that 2nd place barrier. This will be our last test before next week’s trip to Bloomington for the Illini Elite 15U/16U JVA Central Finale. Great job ladies, Coach Jenna and I are very proud of you!



H2 14 Illini West Red Continues to Move Up the Ranks!

After a few weeks off from tournaments, the ladies of Illini West Red 14’s came back very prepared at the PAO Challenge in St. Charles, Missouri this past Sunday. While previously not meeting their full potential in pool play, the girls set a new standard by coming in first place in their pool, with Aerowyn Harris excelling in both the front and back rows. Learning that they were in the gold bracket for the first time this season, the girls were ecstatic; both parents and coaches were proud. Once again facing H2 13 Under Armour, the girls came out strong and ready to play, and even went point for point near the end. Unfortunately, we came up a little short, but in no way were we disappointed. Words can not describe how proud we are of the girls this weekend, and we all look forward to improving and taking home the gold. Thanks to all those who came to support, including our team mascot, Maddie Vieth, from H2 14 Illini West Black, seen in the pictures below, and able to be heard from courts away. Let’s go Red!

H2 18 South – Weekend Results

The H2 South team ended up 2nd in Pool play at the MAC tournament. We played some of our best games in pool play We went to the Gold bracket. We lost the first game against the 1st place team from the other pool. We had 2 players from the 17 Cardinals that played with us. They did a great job. I was happy to see that they blended in very well with our team on a short notice. Three of the H2 teams ended up playing in the Gold bracket so it was great H2 day!!!

We Achieved a New “Beginning”

What a day we had…Sunday. After being placed in a 3rd seating, we came very close to beating the #1 seed in the 2nd set… ahead by a 7 point margin, we lost 21-19. In the second match versus the #2 seed team, we split sets… However, against the #4 seed, unfortunately we could not find our true selves and ended up splitting sets to a team, in my opinion, was below our skill level ability. Pool Play results: 2 – 4

We placed in the Silver Bracket. My thoughts always are to get in Gold or win Silver. The only problem was that the team we met in the Silver Championship Match, after beating the 4th seeded team in two straight sets, was tall and had “seasoned” players. Seasoned players are those not new to club or competitive volleyball, they tend to play smart, and objectively attack balls with very little free ball action if possible.


In short, we won. We beat them in two straight sets and won the Silver medal, but by no means was that the highlight of the day. While I was excited to see our team fight back from “adversity” (remember my notes from last week?) and finally win after a month of tournaments, on my drive home I reflected on something totally different than being gratified with the Silver medal. During the second set of the championship match, I remember telling Mary my asst coach, they (our team) are now seeing the game wide range. What does this mean? The first thing in volleyball you must learn is reading and then “doing”. Once individuals learn to incorporate a fast combination of reading /doing it advances one’s ability to play at higher levels. When you can quickly read the actions of the opponent, provide the ability to react and attack with full force, whether that is serving, setting, digging, hitting, blocking…when you are playing a step before your opponent…that is advanced volleyball; that is what I am striving for consistently from our team. They showed it today in the Silver Championship match.

We achieved a new “beginning” of play; that is the ability to observe the “form of entity” (or simply put “the thing”) before it happens (reading), and taking the necessary action (doing), to make it all come together quickly.

We have a long way to go, but if we continue our path, we will…………………..you finish the statement!

Coach Warren

H2 15 Crush Goes Undefeated AGAIN

H2 15 Crush had another amazing day last Saturday at the Gametime Sports 12-team tournament in St. Peters. The team went undefeated in pool play defeating the Hometown Hitters, MOVA Gold, and Blue Dragons to advance to the gold championship. In the semis, the girls defeated the Club Gemini Comets 19-10 and 19-11 to advance to the championship game. During the championship game, the girls began with a commanding lead, led by strong blocking, powerful hitting, and amazing saves to defeat Attack 15s, 25-8 and 25-13.

This team continues to improve each tournament. They play with determination and drive and are so much fun to watch! This is H2 15 Crush’s third gold medal and third undefeated tournament this season.


H2 continues to move up in National Ranking while rising to the challenge playing in Premiere Division

On the weekend of February 17- 19th, H2 14 Illinois West Black participated in the Presidents day tournament that was located at the Saint Louis Convention Center. This particular tournament was the first 3-day tournament the girl had participated in this season. For this being the longest tournament, the girls played amazing and showed some true determination! The first day, the girls started a little slow with going 1-2 for the day. However, the second and last day, the girls brought their true A game. After Lili had an off day Saturday, she went home and watched some film before coming back with a vengeance and hitting more consistent than we had seen all season. The whole weekend though, Kate Conway really led the team with her hitting and her constant effort and sure no ball dropped without throwing her body on the ground! Both setters were making great decisions on who to set and we became more balanced than we had been most the season. Allison Woolbright had many serving runs along with Kloi. On Sunday, the finals of copper was the toughest team the girls had seen all weekend. The girls fought tooth and nail for every point in that last match but ended up losing to a very good team. However, Kloi Karban made sure to block their hitters a couple times before the game was over! The determination that the team showed this past weekend has myself excited for what the future weekends hold for the girls.

President’s Day 2018: 15Cardinal ranked 9th Overall

The weekend started off with Pool play on Saturday.
3 very tough matches
Adrenaline 15 Black-W
Crusher’s 15s -W
Illinois Heat 15s -W
Started off a busy weekend 3-0 match play. It wasnt without ups and downs. This team is as strong as any I have coached. They have never given up on one another. Havent given up on their coaches. They battle hard every game. We aren’t perfect, but we work hard every game.

Sunday Pool Play
Union 15 Black -L
303VBA 15Bravo -W
Imperial Intensity-W
Started off Sunday with a loss to a great Union squad. Wow what a team. Lots of skill and fire. Wow what a Libero!! we couldnt get much on her. We battled and fought and played hard. They just was better then us in that match. Hard fought victories against very tough 303 and Intensity teams ended out Sunday. 2nd in pool….still onto the Gold Bracket!!!
Started off with POA Green. Great team and we battled with some ups and downs. Had to switch things up and try different lineup..whatever it takes. We pulled it off in 3 to move on. Next match..our new rivals….Rockwood Thunder Carolina. We have played them 2 times this year. 1-1…..
We battled hard for 3 sets…27-25 us, 25-18 them….then 15-11.
We gave it our all…battled hard for each other. Gave them everything we had left. It just wasn’t enough on this day.

We finished 5TH overall out of 64 teams.

What a great job by all our girls. Great Job by my assistant Coach Abby. We have been without 2 key players for most of our season so far. We have borrowed players and switched lineups to try different things. That is volleyball. That is life …adapt and overcome. We will battle adversity and we will work harder. We will overcome! We are H215Cardinal!!
Back into the gym tonight…we will work hard..we will improve…If we want to be the best…we have to beat the best!

Let’s Go H215Cardinal!!!
#h2strong #h2proud #h2family #h215cardinal

H2 Illini Black 16 INFO / President’s Day Tourney 17-19 Feb

This weekend was the President’s Day Tourney in St Louis… Adversity… Hardship, difficulty, misfortune, hard-times… Adversity… What could be more than the truth for our team this weekend? As a coach you work all month on volleyball techniques, skill and overall performance improvement and after all is done you still end up with a 1 – 7 result with a loss for words to reflect how to move forward to the next show… Adversity… The learning step here is life lessons; volleyball or any other sport you coach or play is a life lesson. Sport teaches one to contend and overcome ups and downs of life, because life is sports.

Reflecting on our team after try-outs, we barely made it out of the starting block… on the verge of not having a full team, we have been able to 1) create line-ups without a true MB; 2) play in a division with ¾ of the team under the age of the division; 3) ¾ of the team never achieving varsity level in high school; 4) getting a college coach who believes in teaching advanced methods of volleyball when players’ have stated that their previous coaches would “run them” for doing the things they do on this team; and 5) having the team’s average height of 5’5.

Now let’s reflect on the above paragraph:

  1. We have competed well running three players in the MB position to the point where in a pinch they will be able to do so on other teams if need be; not just having a presence in that position and getting set “2’s”, but running “1’s”, “3’s”, and “slides” effectively…along with BLOCKING.
  2. Age is not a factor… our youngest is one of our best players on the team; any mental factor from that area is non-existent… Plus, we all compete with my college players too!
  3. Varsity level volleyball is their goal and depending on their “continued improvement”, I have no doubt they will make it.
  4. While it is taking some time to adjust, their advanced practice skill work is good, but the struggle is applying it to live action, which takes time, but it will come (such as passing with hands, hands to the face digging, or the biggie the “Tri-Factor Defense”…yes team; that is name of the defense you are doing)
  5. And finally, HEIGHT…like their coach, you just go and show your opponent being 5’6 is being 6’6 in mind… we just time it right!

In other words, through our season adversity will be our friend… We are going to have struggles and play teams that “are seasoned more than us”, but remember where we started… and look at ourselves now. All of you have improved. When we get consistency in our play, we will compete and dominate other teams to the point where no win will be an easy one for any team… if they win! That is my goal for this team. This is our life for this team.

H2 Illini West battles in the 15’s

On February 11, the girls competed in the H2 Sports Under Armour #14 tournament that was located at Saint Louis Community College. The girls started the day off a little slow, losing the first match to Imperial Intensity 15. They back after a break and won their next match against Hometown hitters. After having a couple weeks off the girls were really working on support passing, the girls executed such good crosses as well as effort plays! The team ended up taking one set from the tournament champs, which was H2 Stl 15 Illinois highland. Lexie Hayes had a great day of effort plays and being aggressive at Libero! All in all the girls had some amazing plays but they just couldn’t outlast the older girls. They definitely stepped up their play to really compete against the 15’s. The girls had a great tournament day and I’m excited to see what this weekend holds for these girls!

H2 STL 17 illini Black Placed 2nd at PAO Challenge

This weekend our H2 STL 17 Illini Black continue their season stronger than ever with another win at the PAO Tournament on Saturday, 10 February 2018 placing Second in Gold.

Our ladies started the morning playing against Quincy Saint ending their morning pool placing first place after winning against K Elites 17.

The ladies were set to play into the Gold bracket. We started to work as a team with a goal in mind, compete hard to take the gold. Team work started to show and help them win the first playoff game against JNVBC 17-1 in two set taking us down to the championship game. The score was 19-8, 21-19.

Once we started to play the Championship game, the team found their match for the day. We fought hard and well. At the end we lost the final game placing us second in the Gold Bracket. The championship game score against SLVVC17 Blue was 14-25, 26-28.

Big shout out to Abby Grabowski, who play her first full game after her hip surgery this past December. During the game, she did not give up and showed that perseverance always pay. Great job Abby.

Our young ladies are aware that team work and not giving up is a priority. We are coming back stronger than ever for the next tourney. The team continue to demonstrate that hard work, and resiliency on the court, will help us accomplish anything.

Remember, “Never, never, Surrender” Winston Churchill.


We Did Not Win….But We Did

Overall SWIC Tournament Set Record: 3 – 7

Pool Play
0 – 2 Vs Black Diamond VBC 17
1 – 1 Vs CC Elite VBC 17
0 – 2 Vs NSSC 172
(4th Place Finish)

Silver Bracket
2 – 1 Vs Serves U Right

Silver Bracket Final
0 – 2 Vs CC Elite: 0 – 2

“We did not win…but we did” is just my thought of how our day went. Granted our team has only two out of eight players who are actually 16. The remaining six are comprised of 14 and 15 age players, and this was a 17’s tournament; I wanted to enter a higher bracketed tourney prior to the big upcoming President’s Day Tournament to prepare us for a multitude of talent across the mid-west and surrounding regions… Regardless of finishing 4th (1 – 5) in Pool Play, this team of ours showed me that they are capable of playing in high levels of competition.

We were strong throughout the day with no domination from any team we played. Our struggles were mind (psyche) based, not physical or skill deficient. I believe this is positive because we are developing to become better competitive high level players, as a team. I believe this is positive because we finished 6th out of 8 teams, but I saw our true ability (today) to have finished 3rd in a 17’s tournament.

We should have….but we did not… however we learned what our true abilities are (and are not, which we will improve on)….so we did not win…but in my opinion, we won; now we just need to apply those lessons learned, put it all together…and show it!

Coach Warren


11 Fusion ties for 3rd in H2 Under Armour 12’s Tournament

11 Fusion played in 2 tournaments this past weekend. Even though Saturday turned out not to be our day, the girls came away with some positives. As always, serving is a large part of the game at this age level. This turned out to be our downfall on Saturday. We were never able to pull it together but the girls wisely decided to leave Saturday behind and come back on Sunday with a new goal. SERVES.

It worked. The fact that we were playing in a 12’s tournament did not rattle this team at all. The girls came out very strong. Our serves were there, our 3 touches were there, our play at the net was there and our defense made some saves that were incredible. We won our first 2 matches easily before falling to a very strong Top Notch team giving us 2nd in pool play. Top Notch had some very strong servers as well as hitters and ended up winning the tournament. We played very hard and made some great plays but were never able to pull ahead of this team. We went on to lose to a strong South County Angels team in the semi finals leaving us tied for 3rd over all. Not bad.

Winning is always more fun than losing. Tessa Johnson said it best. “The day seems shorter when your winning but when your losing it feels like a very long day” So true Tessa. However, the scoreboard isn’t everything. It’s about coming together as a team, working hard, being supportive of your teammates, learning something new each time and most of all, having fun.

A special thanks to the parents for being supportive as well as helping with the line judging, giving the girls a little time for rest since we only had 7 players for the day. We don’t have another tournament until March 3rd which gives us time to get back in the gym to work on the areas that need improvement. The girls have already grown so much and I can see the love they have for the game of volleyball. It makes me very proud to see our girls ALL serving overhand (even though we miss a few) as apposed to a good portion of the other teams serving underhand. Even at the 12’s level. It also makes me proud when it is our turn to ref and we do it with professionalism. All the girls do a great job at the score table, reffing stands and line judging. Great job H2 11 Fusion. See you in the gym.


H2 Crush wins Park Hills Tournament

H2 15 Crush went undefeated this Saturday at the Park Hills Tournament. After a strong showing in pool play, they went on to defeat a tough Gemini Comets team for first place in two straight sets, 25-23 and 25-16! This was their second gold medal out of three tournaments they have participated in.


Team Illini U16 Striving High!

H2 Illini West 16U Black
Greenville Panther Classic II
3 Feb / G16U
8 Team Tournament (8 Team Single Elimination Bracket)

Overall Set Record
Pool Play: 5 – 1
Tournament Play: 1 – 2

We finished 2nd in our pool consisting of the following teams:

Springfield Shock 16 Premier
F  United 16EB

In tournament play and lost in 3 sets to Aces 16 LN.

I saw enormous improvement from our first match on 7 Jan. The Greenville match was only our 2nd one of the season. The entire team was very positive and focused on improvement. I am very excited about working with this group of players so they can reach their individual goals along with being part of an outstanding organization as H2.

Next week we play at SWIC in a 17U Tournament which will prepare us for the President’s Day Event the following weekend.


15 Cardinal Flowing at FloValley


Wow another fun filled weekend! Volleyball Saturday was super exciting. We played in our 2nd Tournament. H2UA Flo Valley!

The girls showed up eager and ready to play. We have 3 hurt with injuries so several girls playing different positions. But we adapt and overcome and play for each other.

1st place in our Pool:

5-1 in Pool play only set lost to our new rival lol Crossfire Elite. Great team. 3rd match against them already this year.

Bracket Play:
1 bracket for everyone.
We battled with a very tough In10sity team. Girls played tough through lineup changes and everything. Hey we got Lexi back a little! She had a concussion and is recovered…we are working her in slow. Now only down 2 girls.
We won in 2 sets

2nd match:

Very tough Springfield Shock Team. Another lineup change to make the girls a bit more comfortable. Kinda getting back to our original lineup. With our OH and Middle still out. But some what normal. We battled and beat them in 2 sets.


Very strong St. Charles Inferno team. We fought and played hard. Tried to hang with them as long as we could. They just proved to be better then us that day. We lost in 2 sets.

2nd place in Gold. I’m so proud of these young ladies. Playing hard through adversity, and troubled times. 2 players hurt and rotation changes. Makes for a long hard day. But they battled and smiled and hung tough. Looking forward to practice on Tuesday. Ready to work on this new lineup and get ready for another exciting weekend.
Thanks Ladies
Thanks Parents
Thanks Coaches

We could not do it without all of you!



17 Illini Black placed 1st at PAO Tournament, 28 January 2017

This weekend our H2 STL 17 Illini Black continue their season stronger that ever with a great win at the PAO Tournament on Sunday, 28 January 2018 placing first in Gold.

Our ladies started the morning a little slow splitting 2 games against CCElite and Volleyball Pro 17 National. After a few hit and missed and couple conversation between the team, the team came back taking the final pool game against JNVBC winning both set 19-16 and 19-9 placing us second place in pool play and sending us to Gold playoffs.

The ladies did not stop there. They knew they wanted to finished strong and take the win. They target was set and they were not ready to lose their games. We started to work harder as a team and that is when the fun started. Between Ally Grabowski great assistant coaching support, Abby J strong middle hits, Allie, Machala, Taylor, Tayler’s great blocks and hits, Claire’s sets and dump across the net, Jacqueline, Nicole, Abby W great back row coverage and defense and Abby G final great serves, our team took the last two games in three sets and place 1st in Gold. First playoff score against JNVBC was 19-12, 15-19 and 16-14. The championship game score against HTH was 10-19, 19-16 and 15-13, placing us first in Gold.

We have a great group of young athletes. After losing a few sets the team demonstrated that hard work, and be resilient on the court after a few mistakes, we can come back and take the tourney like a storm. Remember, “Never, never, Surrender” Winston Churchill.
Go H2 STL 17 Illini Black

H2 14 UA Wins Gold at Perryville 15s Invitational

H2 14 UA went to Perryville this past weekend and won the 16 team 15U Perryville Invitational going 6-0 in matches and 12-1 in sets on the day.

While this may sound like an article from the Perryville Chamber of Commerce, it is not. The majority of the team went down to Perryville on Saturday night and the girls bonded over swimming, pizza, and cell phones while the parents enjoyed some lively banter as well.

After Coach Brenda whipped up some team waffles early on Sunday morning, it was off to Perryville Middle School for the first match of the day for the third seeded H2 squad vs. top seed Rose 15. In relatively quick fashion, H2 defeated the top seed 19-8, 19-14 and it was time for a couple match break.

At this point, a couple coaches and many parents could be found enjoying the breakfast/pastry selections from Hoeckele’s Bakery & Deli. If you are in Perryville, this is a must visit.

Back to the gym for back-to-back pool play matches against Smash Grey 15 (19-12, 19-5) and Route 3 15s (19-4, 19-14). The team was undefeated heading into the 8 team gold playoff and a couple match break lead to another trip for some of the coaches and parents.

This time, Stonie’s Sausage Shop was the venue. Free samples of their wide varieties of sausages and cheeses, the largest brat selection in the area, and a lunch counter serving sandwiches also makes this a must visit when in Perryville.

While the food was delicious, it was time to get down to business. In the quarterfinals, H2 went up against NW Cat Attack 15s. Strong, inspired play led to an H2 sweep with scores of 19-13, 19-8 setting up a semi-final match against the host team, Perryville Attack 15.

Perryville was a formidable opponent with an outstanding libero and small but very talented pin hitters. In the worst performance of the day statistically by UA, both serving and hitting, the first set went to Perryville 19-16. A quick reminder from the coaching staff that we don’t mind if the other team beats us as long as we don’t beat ourselves was all it took for the team to relax and come out ready to play in the second set.

The message was received and behind the best hitting set of the day, H2 won 19-8 setting up a decisive third set. In the final set, both teams played hard and fairly error free in the entertaining back and forth match. Fortunately H2 prevailed 16-14 to set up a finals match against an undefeated NSSC 15s team.

The momentum of winning the three set match carried over into the finals for H2 as they were strong in all aspects of the game and won the final match 19-14, 19-11 to earn first place medals and a happy trip back home.

Stats Corner
Serving: 88.5% (Ella Middleton 94.3%, Lexie Griffin 94.1%)
Ace %: 18.7% (Lexie Griffin 27.5%, Gabby Saye 23.8%)
Serve Receive: 1.65 (Ellie Appelbaum 1.87, Torie Strange 1.81)
Hitting Efficiency: .335 (Gabby Saye .456, Lexie Griffin .381, Elle Mead .381)
Kill %: 47.0% (Torie Strange 54.3%, Lexie Griffin 52.4%, Elle Mead 52.4%)
Kills: 101 (Gabby Saye 29, Torie Strange 19, Emma Garner 17)
Digs: 118 (Torie Strange 28, Rainna Ostmann 23)

H2 14 Illini West Red Once Again Makes Their Way to the Silver Championship

On Sunday, January 21st, the ladies of H2 14 Illini West Red played in the Stratman Sports Series at Principia College. With only 8 teams total in this tournament, the ladies hoped to do well and rise to the challenge. With a pool of mixed varieties, 14 Red went 1-2 for the morning, coming in third for their pool, with Ashley Ellis really stepping up to the plate as a right side with strategically placed tips and hits. Moving on to their bracket play, H2 defeated IL High Performance 14 Future. This brought them to the championship in the silver bracket for the second weekend in a row, thanks to hard work by libero Sydney Ehrman, pictured in her black jersey with DS Makenna Keith. Really wanting to take home a first place medal, they fought hard both games, but ended up just a little short to the Gemini Titans. Since coming in second in the Silver Championship 2 weekends in a row, they now have the consistency and will power to overcome future teams to work for first! Congrats on another successful weekend to H2 14 Red!

H2 Illinois West Black Plays Huge Game, Complimented by Coaches at Tournament

Sunday January 21st the H2 Illinois Black team participated in the Stratman Sports Series. The girls finished the morning pool games with 2-1 record. The morning started off a little slow with dropping the first match against MOVA but took some time during the break to regain their focus and grit. The girls rallied the rest of pool play to come out second behind MOVA 14 Black. The first match in bracket play was going to be a tough match and the girls knew that. The first bracket game was against NSSC 141 and their team was by far the heaviest hitters we had seen all season this far. After seeing the warm up of NSSC the girls came out swinging and didn’t back down against this team. These girls were making digs, saves, kills and huge blocks that hadn’t been seen yet this season yet. Kate Conway was moved earlier in the day to outside to see if she could help bring the power hitting, and boy did she bring the heat! Both Kate and Rayna Hunter were making plays and shots we hadn’t really seen yet this season. The front row was more aggressive with overpasses and made sure the balls were put down! All the girls were taking strategy calls and using them from both coaches as well as the bench! The back row was making more digs and killer saves. That game, they really lived by the phase, “no ball drops”. Lexi Hays really lived by this, she was all over the court putting up great passes to get us in system. These girls set an all new standard for the way they should be playing and yes we lost but we gained so much more from that game! These girls never gave up and made the match close, within just a few points. After the game I was approached by other coaches that just couldn’t stop watching. The girls were praised for the defense and great play. I could not be more proud for the way these girls responded, especially to this last team. Ready to see these girls fight like this in the next tournament!


H2 Boys 14 UA Place Second in Gold Division at Sportplex Blast

This weekend our H2 14s boy’s started the season with a win.

Coach Andre, Illinois Region Director, with the help of his Daughter Sydney, H2 18U Illini Black setter, took our H2 14 boys team down to Cape Girardeau MO to play their first tournament of the season and bringing back some hardware.

With only six players we marched into the court using a new rotation that our boys never practice before. However, after a little rough start and good instructions, our Magnificent 6 worked their hardest during the pool play. Between Robbie and Flynn’s sets, Andrew, Brayden, Louis and Mackie’s hitting, excellent defense and serves, together they helped our team place first place during the morning pool rounds. We split our first game against Rockwood boys 19-8 and 18-20. Second game against Midwest Elite 14, won both sets 19-10 and 19-7. Our final game against NSSC 14s was split 16-19 and 19-17.

The boys did not stop there. With a bye during playoff time, our Magnificent 6 played against the second seeded team from the second pool division, Stl Crossfire boys’ team, winning the game in three sets. This game was a nail bitter. Splitting the first two sets, we had to go to third set. This game was close. They boys were back to back. But we were not going to give up after taking the lead with a score of 16-15. Mackie’s serving forced the STL Crossfire team to overpass the ball giving Andrew the chance to provide a perfect pass to Flynn so he could set Brayden in the middle and boom, down goes the ball helping us score the final point sending us to the final Gold Championship game.

After some great plays during the championship game we lost against the Kansas team, Sick Pac 14. The boys were tired, you could see it in their faces. But they keep fighting until we finished our championship game. Sadly we lost the two sets placing us second in the Gold Bracket.

The resiliency these young boys demonstrated on the court was impressive. Especially when we were missing a few players. Mackie, our usual libero/DS played all around as our second middle hitter and he owned the spot. Flynn also took a different role for us, helping our team as our second Right Side Hitter and did an excellent job. Between blocks attempts on the net, hitting, tips, serves and helping with the defense both players helped our team during all our games. But it does not stop there. Andrews, Louis, Braden and Robbie had their best moment on the front row and all around. Their spikes, tips, blocks and serves were crucial for our team to take the lead and go all the way to the Gold Championship games.

I just want to say thanks to all the parents for letting me lead our boys’ team. The last time I coached boys was over 30 years ago and this opportunity brought me back into memory lane. As long as I can I will be there to be your mentor during this new venture with H2.


H2 14 UA Goes Undefeated in Winning H2 #7 14U Tourney at Forest Park

The theme of the week leading up to this past weekend’s H2 #7 14U tourney at Forest Park for the H2 14 Under Armour team was “finishing”. The prior weekend was a disappointing result in the St. Louis Gateway League as the team went 0-6 against the top teams in the age bracket. Of the 13 sets played, H2 had leads late in the match in eight of them and only managed to finish with one win.

The plan for practices were to work hard on passing and finishing games. Unfortunately mother nature decided that one practice was enough for the week and the team was forced to prepare more mentally than physically.

An early start on a cold Sunday morning would test just how prepared the team was. Like trying to start the cars on the cold morning, the girls were a little sluggish as well. After battling through an error-filled, 19-16, first set victory over the Gemini Titans, the girls responded well winning the second set 19-6.

The second match of the day was a 19-13, 19-12 victory over K Elites 14 to set up the final pool play match against the second seed Top Notch 14 Calde out of Springfield, IL. Top Notch was winning their pool play matches in more impressive fashion with aggressive serves so H2 UA realized that they would need to step up their intensity.

In probably their best set of the day, H2 came out nearly error free in a 19-7 victory. Despite words of caution from their coaches on how the second set would be much tougher, the message wasn’t received. However, with the emphasis being on “finishing”, the team persevered and won the second set 19-16 to move to the playoffs.

H2 14 Illini Black knocked off the top seed, MOVA Gold, in the first round of the playoffs to set up and all H2 match in the semi-finals. H2 UA handled their business in earning a 19-8, 19-13 victory and a berth in the finals, and a rematch against Top Notch.

The first set of the finals went back and forth with both teams making more errors than in their pool play match. Again, H2 UA finished strong and held on with a 25-23 win in the first set. The second set started just as close but a big finishing service run from Ella Middleton sealed the deal at 25-18 for the first tourney win of the year for H2 14UA.

Record: 5-0 (10-0 set record), 202 points scored, 132 points allowed
Serve %: 88.3% (Ella Middleton 100%, Ellie Appelbaum 93.8%)
Aces: 37 (Lexie Griffin 9, Rainna Ostmann and Emma Garner 8)
Hitting %: .220 (Gabby Saye .378, Emma Garner .355)
Kills: 74 (Gabby Saye 21, Emma Garner 16, Torie Strange 14)


18 Attack Has Big Weekend in Kansas City

18 Attack traveled to Kansas City this weekend for their first National Qualifier of the season. 18 Attack came into the tournament seeded 25th. The starting day of the tournament the team was placed in a three-team pool after the fourth team dropped out. The first match of the day was against the starting first seed of the tournament, Six Pack 18. 18 Attack dropped their first match of the day 2 sets to 1 in a tough battle, just landing Six Pack on top. The girls then rebounded and topped Topeka Saints 18-1 to clinch second place for the day and continue to fight to make it to the gold bracket.

Moving into day two of the tournament, 18 Attack came into their pool placed fourth. Their first match of the day was against Iowa Rockets 18-1. The girls started out their day strong taking Iowa in two sets. They girls then turned around to play Highlands 18 ROX, only to fall in three sets battling hard in the final set. Attack’s final match of the day was against Club North 18-1, whom they battled in two sets and came out on top again seeding second, but continuing on to the gold bracket.

The third and final day of the tournament started bright and early as 18 Attack started their day with CLUB ONE 18 Black. Attack took the first set from CLUB ONE 25 to 21. CLUB ONE was not done fighting and won the second set 17 to 25. In a tough third set both teams battled but with high energy, aggressive defense, and powering kills 18 Attack came out on top winning the set 15 to 9 and moved on to play Iowa Rockets 18R. 18 Attack came out and played their hearts out against Iowa Rockets 18R but were unable to come out on top falling in two close sets. Iowa Rockets continued on in the tournament to take first and earn the American bid for the tournament.

The girls played some of their best volleyball this past weekend. They left their coaches with not enough words to say just how proud of them they were. The girls never gave up in all of their matches this weekend, they battled and left everything on the court. They came into the tournament seeded 25th and left the tournament, with a twenty seed hop, taking 5th overall. We are so excited to see what the season has in store for these girls and to see just how much more they grow.


H2 14 Illini West Red Excels in Bracket Play After a Tough Morning in Pool Play

After a slow start on the morning of January 14 at the H2 Sports Under Armour #7 tournament at Forest Park Community College, the ladies of the H2 14 Illini West Red were a new team on the court during bracket play. The morning had been a bit of a set back, with the girls going 0-3 for the morning against MOVA Gold, H2 13 Under Armour, and Top Notch Anslem. After a fun and great bonding time over lunch, however, the girls came back with power and finesse, with Jena Holder going on a 10-0 serving streak against MOVA White. After also overcoming the Gemini Titans, the girls advanced to the Championship for the Silver Division, now 2-3 for the day. Once again taking on H2 13 UA for the silver medal, the girls fought long and hard, with Sydney Sommer dominating in the front row. After losing the first game, they decided that two games were not enough for the Championship, and took them to a third game after winning the second. After a long and hard day full of competitive volleyball, the girls fell to H2 13 Under Armor, taking second in the Silver Division. They received their medals and took a nice group picture, and their coaches could not be happier. Congratulations to the ladies of H2 14 Illini West Red on their success! Let’s keep moving forward!


Park Hills – 15 Cardinal Climbing

Saturday at Park Hills started early. Our first tournament as a new team! Seven new girls and one of those new from Kentucky! We have been meshing well in practice and Gateway League week 1. Started off the day with a 5-1 pool play record. Dropping our only set to a very tough Crossfire team.

Gold Bracket:
Started off against a strong Perryville team. They are always tough and today provedto be the same. We pulled it out in two sets.
Next game was against a team we have played once already this season. Show Me Diamond.
We pulled off a two set victory against them. On to the Championship….yes against Crossfire!!

Here we are for a little revenge! We split in pool play. Now we play to 25 and have a 3rd set if needed. Well…we needed it.
They beat us in the first set. As the girls came to the bench I told them…its now or never. Lets go get em. That is what they did. We secured the second set. Onto the third…I pulled a little mental help. We won the toss and I had the captain pick side of court. All the sets against them we lost…yes were on the same side. So we started there. And ended on our good side!
Victory in the third set!!! Making us Gold Champs!
First tournament win this season!!

We learned a lot…covering, and cheering. Serving and the importance of teamwork and communication. We will be working on it all in practice. Our goals are to get better every week. So far so good! Keep it up H2 15 Cardinal!!

Coach Jeremie


H2 Illinois West Black’s Grit Gets Them to Semis in Gold

On January 14th at the H2 sports Under Armor #7 tournament, taking place at Forest Park Community College, the girls started off strong with taking the lead in pool play with 3-0 in matches. The girls had a great start to the day with their constant talking and energy. The girls of course took some time for team cuddles in between the first two games of pool play, and came back ready to win more. The girls faced the day against Top Notch 14U Black then SLVVC 14 Pink. The girls continued to rally together to beat two MOVA teams back to back! While playing MOVA 14U Gold in the first round of the gold bracket, the girls had the most energy and excitement I had seen all weekend! The girls were extra hyped when Koi had a huge stuff block on their middle. Our front row was on their game. With Lilli and Kloi being a huge force to be reckoned with in the front row, which led our back row to feed off their energy and start making phenomenal plays and saves. However, the girls fell short in the semifinals with the girls finishing 3rd over all. With playing two tough teams almost back to back, the girls came up short in the next match against the number one team. I’m still so proud of these girls and their grit they showed in never giving up. We may have missed the gold medal this past weekend but I’m looking forward to what this weekend will hold for these girls!