Bluegrass Tournament – March 10-11

untitled-design-(24)The Bluegrass Tournament is very unique in that there are 116 courts under one roof with well over 700 teams entered. There are multiple age groups (10s-18s) and various divisions (Aspire, Classic, Club, Premier, Open) in each age group. Dayton Juniors had ten teams attending, almost all our Gold and Blue teams. Our team went into the tournament a little shorthanded with middle hitter Alissa out with mono, middle hitter Brianna restricted to back row duty due to an injured shoulder, and Ella participating in the State Science Competition. We needed another attacker in order to compete and since all the Dayton Juniors teams were playing we went outside the club to find a player. Fortunately we were able to sign up Lydia Henry of Greenon. She was able to practice with us for three sessions and then participate at this tournament.

Courts

116 Courts, as far as the eye can see.

Our team played in the 36 team 16 Premier Division, which had three power pools (containing the top 12 seeds) and six regular pools containing the remaining 24 teams. Our initial pool of four teams proved extremely competitive. We got off to a great start, taking our first match against a North Carolina Xcel team 26-24 and 25-19. Next we encountered Empowered Elite Red out of the Hoosier Region. Although we played well at times we could not control their strong counterattacks and lost 16-25 and 18-25. Although Empowered could only get second in our initial pool they went on later to beat the #1 and #4 tournament seeds from the Power Pools and eventually finished second in Gold. Our third match was against Wildcats Juniors VBC from Michigan. Having lost one of our setters (Krystal) to an ankle sprain against Empowered, we were a little shorthanded. We did score 16 and 20 points in the two sets but we did not play very well and never mustered much of a challenge.

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Vendors and Food Court

Sunday found us in the top consolation pool with two other teams. We were able to take Eastside Cleveland Elite in the first set 25-18 and stayed in control in the second set to take the match 25-22. We then continued our fine play against Legends VBC out of the Lakeshore Region. After a good 25-20 win in set one we overcame a 2-9 deficit to win the match with a 25-19 score. The sweep of the consolation pool was a good way to finish off our tournament. The 16 Premier Division had many fine teams, quite a few of them could have easily played in the top 16 Open Division. Our team was able to adjust to the lineup changes as we moved a couple of outside hitters to middle and had Lydia hit right side. It was nice to see the players step up to some different roles and play some high quality volleyball — all in all a good showing by the team. A special shout out to the parents too, for their support and a fine Saturday night dinner at the BJ’s Brewhouse.

As you sit on the sidelines you probably wonder what the coaches are writing in their notebooks during the matches. Below are some of my “notes” that will have to suffice since my wife was at the Philadelphia Flower Show and was unable to attend the tournament and take pictures.

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16 Ice chills on the sideline.

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Krystal, Lauren, Summer and Corinn

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Carleigh, Abby, Brianna, and Lydia

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Lauren uses her precise poised pleasantly perfect platform to pass a ball as Carleigh and Bri cheer her on.

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Outleaping a frustrated block, Corinn completes a colossal combative crazy cruel cross court kill.

Abby

Not satisfied with the hotel breakfast, Abby goes for another pancake.

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Coach Megan fills out the all critical lineup sheet.

Summer

Cat-like Summer quickly leaps on top of an errant overpass and six-packs a stunned libero.

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Blockers Mackenzie (L) and Carleigh (R) form a high wall and reject the onslaught from a disappointed attacker.

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Bri extends to sweep up yet another opponent attack.

Lydia

As Lauren and Summer look on with amazement, Lydia prepares to unleash her jump serve — repeatedly ricocheting rough repulsive rockets off really reluctant receivers.

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Krystal jump sets middle attacker Carleigh as the blocker realizes she has no chance.

Team

16 Ice Team Picture

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Presidents’ Cup – Feb 17-18, 2018

This past weekend the Dayton Jrs 16 Ice competed at the 2018 Presidents’ Cup Tournament. At these large tournaments the competition is very good and the margin for error is extremely slim. With such good parity you need to win the key matchups and stay hot at the right time to weave your way thru the multiple pools and playoffs.

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Dayton Jrs 16 Ice

In our 16 American Division there were 10 pools of 3 teams each, for a total of 30 teams. In our first round of pool play we started a little slow but came on strong to beat Mintonnette and Cincy Crush, both in two sets. Those two teams went on to eventually make their way to the Silver and the Gold playoffs respectively.

Taking first in that initial pool the Ice moved on to our late afternoon second pool. In our first match of this pool we faced AVC Cleveland. Although not playing our best, we had spurts of quality play and made the match competitive before losing 25-22 and 25-22. The other team in our 3-team pool, Buckeye Fire, then beat AVC Cleveland, which made our final match against Buckeye Fire critical. We played an awesome match, sweeping them in two sets — 25-17 and 25-23. This created a 3-way tie for first. Based on tiebreaking procedures, AVC Cleveland was awarded first based on their 3-2 set record, we took second with a 2-2 set record, and Buckeye Fire dropped to third with a 2-3 set record. As it turns out, Buckeye Fire went on to win the Bronze Division and AVC went on to win the Gold Division.

Our second place finish in the second pool set up a Sunday morning “Challenge Match” with a first place team from another pool, Fusion VBC. Winner would go to Gold and the loser to Silver. Fusion proved very formidable. The match was extremely competitive but we could not quite sustain our high level of play throughout the whole match and fell 25-22, 25-21. This put us into Silver. Fusion, who had beaten AVC Cleveland in their initial pool, went to Gold and lost to AVC Cleveland in a rematch in the Gold Finals.

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Coach Megan

In the Silver quarterfinals we worked our way thru to win in three sets, building a large lead in set three before sealing the match against Ignite with a 15-10 win. In the semis we caught fire and never let down, sweeping Vertical Force 25-9 and 25-13. Moving on to the finals we met Black Swamp. Our team began the match slow and struggled to regain our intensity and momentum from the previous two matches. Early in the second set our middle, Brianna, went down with an injury and our only available sub at that time was Ella, a defensive specialist. I can guarantee you that Ella was by far the best 5’1” MH in the convention center, finishing the match with one kill and no hitting errors! The team had to make some significant adjustments with a very unique lineup and was able to fight back before losing the second set 25-20, finishing as Silver Runner-Up.

It was a great tournament for our team. The Ice showed tremendous improvement, sustaining longer stretches of high quality play while competing well against a high level of competition. Our three losses were to the two Gold finalists and the Silver winner. But, like most coaches, we don’t find much solace in losing any match and we noted many areas for improvement. The Ice will be back at it this week — practicing hard on our weaknesses and refining our strengths.

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Carleigh with the carefully crafted cannon-like King Kong cross court kill.

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Perfectly pleasing poised preciously precise passing by Abby

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A horribly harsh heavenly huge hard to handle hit by Summer

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Eloquent electric eagerly energized effort by Ella

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Alissa’s authentic authoritatively aggressive alive and alert attack

 

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Deft delightfully delicious decidedly defiant defense by Lauren

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Successfully solid super sweet spectacular silky smooth sets by Krystal

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Bri’s bitterly boisterous big bad beautifully bodatious block

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Mack’s solid scintillating severely stinging substantially successful spike

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One of Corinn’s repeated ridiculous ricocheting rockets off really reluctant receivers

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Alissa looks on with admiration as Abby executes a rarely seen bicycle kick dig

Unique Ice Warmups

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Corinn and Lauren keeping score with a smile

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In honor of the Olympics, Mack and Summer perform their synchronized passing routine

                            Sometimes as a coach you are better off not asking why

One of Bri’s many multiple magnificently mammoth, masterly  massive middle hits

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Avery demos her attack approach armswing

                                                                  Ice Block Party

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Heads Up

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Carleigh & Alissa – The Oakwood Connection

The key to a good officiating crew is alive and alert participants

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What you see when your team was the last one still playing

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C’mon Corinn – Passing is not supposed to hurt

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Yes! That jab step drill paid dividends. Abby with the save.

I love a good celebration!

Obligatory Wife’s Arsty Fartsy Montage

Carleigh  #1

Abby  #2

Summer  #3

Ella  #4

Alissa  #5

Lauren  #6

Krystal  #7

Brianna  #8

Mackenzie  #9

Corinn  #10

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OVR Championships – May 7, 2017

Team HuddleThe players and coaches work hard all season long so I always look at the Ohio Valley Region (OVR) Championships with a little trepidation. You want to “go out” on a positive note but many things are outside of your control as a coach. The Championship Tournament is usually very competitive since the OVR groups together teams with similar rankings. For this tournament the OVR placed the top 16 teams into the 16 American Gold and Silver Divisions. There were 4 pools of 4 teams each. After pool play the top two finishers in each pool moved up to the Gold Playoffs and the bottom two went to the Silver Playoffs.

Our first match against Borderline VBC proved both exciting and critical to moving forward. After splitting the first two sets we then fell behind 12-14 in the third set before pulling out a 16-14 victory. We took the next match against Utopia VBC in two straight sets. That left a first place showdown with Southwest White and our team (both teams being 2-0). We struggled to maintain consistency throughout the match and lost, although it did go three sets. Our second place pool finish got us into the Gold Playoffs where we lost to Buckeye Fire, a first place team from another pool, in the Gold quarterfinals.

C69A5437I believe it is interesting to look at a few facts regarding the tournament. The two teams we beat in our initial pool, Borderline and Utopia, went into the Silver Playoffs and both teams made it through to the Silver Finals where Borderline beat Utopia. There were 62 teams entered in the 16 American Division of this tournament. We finished tied for 5th out of the 62 teams. A very good result overall. It was nice to see the two teams we beat in pool play make it to the Silver Finals and the team we lost to in three, Southwest White, finish 3rd in Gold. An especially nice showing for our pool.

After a long hard tournament day the hallways of the Columbus Convention Center aren’t an appropriate place to say a season’s worth of goodbyes. So the Wave players, coaches, parents and families will assemble in a week and a half for a celebration of the season and a team party. Quoting a famous country song, “Don’t know where the time went, but it sure went fast.”

We will start with some blocks.

Sara Part 1

Summer Part 1

Ally Part 1

Kayla VE Part 1

Alyssa Part 1

Abby Part 1

Sophie Part 1

Sydney Part 1

Kayla Part 1

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Syd is not a spider Alyssa, no need to step on her.

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Sophie and Sara agree that it is out but the linesman has the only opinion that matters.

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Sara Part 2

Summer Part 2

Ally Part 2

Kayla VE Part 2

Alyssa Part 2

Abby Part 2

Sophie Part 2

Sydney Part 2

Kayla Part 2

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Dayton Jrs 16 Wave – 5th out of 62 Teams

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The Last Practice – May 4, 2017

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Mint chocolate cake, mint icing, topped with an Andes mint.

Well, it happens every year around this time — the last practice of the season. Somewhat bittersweet. It was a little unique this time with one player missing for a track meet and another out ill. We continued on with the 7 available players only to lose one in the first 10 minutes to a freak ball to the head. Later, during a scrimmage, another player bit her tongue enough to draw blood and had to sit a spell. We were feeling a little snake bit but hopefully everyone will recover and we will have the full crew back in good health for our final tournament on Sunday.

To cap off our final practice we treated the IMG_2517players to some mint chocolate cupcakes. With players missing we had enough to share with a few players from the team we scrimmaged. The players were in rare form this evening. The fact that it was our last practice together made it special and they were pretty revved up when they heard cupcakes awaited them in the break room. A few pictures from the feeding frenzy.

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The last practice!

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It evidently takes a great deal of concentration to peel these things!

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The Theater – April 28-30

BBMusic1With all the concentration on volleyball it is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that the players have other special talents and interests. In terms of other sports we have players on our team participating in high school basketball, track and field, and softball. One of our players, Sydney, is part of the Bellbrook High School music department and has devoted a great deal of her time to the spring high school production of “Annie”, the story of an orphan living in New York in the 1930’s. Sydney is a member of the Annie orchestra and plays the bassoon. Annie is being presented by the Bellbrook Theater Department and is playing this weekend in the school auditorium — Friday (7 PM), Saturday (7 PM) and Sunday (2 PM).

annieSeveral members of our team were able to come out to Friday’s performance and support Sydney’s efforts. A very nice gesture and they were also rewarded with high class entertainment. If you think you need to visit the big city or venture downtown Dayton’s Schuster Center to see a wonderful theater production you are missing out. They are occurring all over the Miami Valley at the local high schools and community theaters. We are proud of Sydney’s contributions and the success she has achieved in her musical pursuits. The pictures below capture a few moments of the night’s event.

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Bellbrook HS Theater Department’s  “Annie”

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Featuring Sydney on the Bassoon

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A view inside the Orchestra Pit

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Ally, Abby and Sara take their seats with great anticipation.

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Sydney, the star of the show, circled in red.

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Sydney with her post performance reward.

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In case you don’t recognize them without their uniforms and pony tails, left to right this is Abby, Sara, Sydney and Ally!

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Indy Juniors Classic – Apr 22-23

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Grand Park Events Center

The Indy Juniors Classic is a large scale tournament played at two major sites, the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Grand Park Events Center. We were one of 20 teams in the 16 Club Division, which was played at the Grand Park Events Site. Our initial 4-team pool was scheduled for Saturday afternoon and evening.

We made quick work of the other three teams in our pool as we swept each match in two straight games. It was especially satisfying that we controlled how we played and did not let the other teams dictate the pace or the quality of our play. Although we were not scheduled to be done till 8pm our pool finished early, enabling our team to visit the Mellow Mushroom in Carmel, Indiana for dinner. The service and food was wonderful. Things went so smoothly that the players even had time to form a “study table” back at the hotel breakfast room. Sunday we advanced to the Gold playoffs. In the quarterfinals we beat Arsenal Volleyball Academy in two before bowing to Advancement Academy in the semifinals. We finished tied for third out of twenty teams — a good showing.

IMG_2442If you are a frequent reader of this website you know that my wife typically takes a ton of pictures at our tournaments and I sort through them, edit and write a blog post about each tournament. My wife has many other talents and interests — one of them being a passion for African Violets. This weekend’s tournament conflicted with a large African Violet Show and Sale at the Cincinnati Eastgate Mall. As you might imagine, volleyball took a back seat to African Violets this weekend so I figured I would not have the benefit of her volleyball action photos when I constructed this blog.

If you observe me on the bench during matches you will see a coach analyzing the ongoing action and trying to help the team and each player reach their potential. I also keep track of a few things in my notebook. Since we were short a photographer this weekend I did my best to capture some of the action via a few quick sketches of the ongoing action. You will find the results below. I will warn you upfront that being an engineer I tend to only dream and draw in black and white so the pictures are not quite up to their normal quality level.

As it turns out, Cris Gozum stepped in and took a bunch of photos so we do have real action shots and do not have to rely totally on my sketches. Thanks Cris! As a side note, I am not sure what the parents are trying to tell me but my last two tournament hotel accommodations were both handicap and hearing impaired rooms.  A coincidence? — I think not. I am sure there must be some hidden meaning.

We have two weeks left in our season, at which point we play our last tournament — OVR Regionals. Seems hard to believe our Team Kick-Off Meeting was a little less than 5 months ago. We will do our best to maximize our remaining time together. Go Wave!

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Kayla VE jump sets quick middle attacker Abby as the blocker realizes she has no chance!

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Sophie with the delightful decidedly delicious defiant defensive dig of an opponent’s dink.

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Alyssa being very protective of the cocoon she found on the soccer field.

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Sydney out-leaps the bedazzled block to blast a big beautiful blushingly boisterous bomb.

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A fine looking ref crew.

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Got this via text. Ok, I give. It must be some kind of new app.

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As Ally and Abby cheer her on, Sara sends over a stifling sparkling spicy severely swaying serve.

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And Dan told Carissa he would be working on a new WSU course syllabus this weekend!

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The Wave crashes at Mellow Mushroom!

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Mellow Mushroom carbo loading.

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Cat-like Summer quickly leaps on top of a errant overpass and six-packs a stunned libero.

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Warming up for their Gold quarterfinal match.

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Vicki had a successful competition too!

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Ally performs one of her potpourri of productive poised pleasing passes as Sophie and Sara provide positive pointers.

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A sad sloppy solo block is no match for Kayla’s sharp sizzling stinging sordid spike.

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Sara, Kayla and Alyssa practice their communication skills.

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Kayla and Alyssa’s big bad beautiful bodacious block blankets the bitterly beleaguered attacker.

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Not satisfied with the hotel breakfast, Kayla VE goes for another pancake.

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Alyssa with another of her eager energetic electric elevated exuberant efforts.

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They claim it was a “Study Table”.

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16 Wave – 3rd in Gold

 

 

 

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Border Battle – April 8-9

Copy_of_Border_Battle__2__mediumWe were not quite sure what to expect at this tournament since virtually no teams were entered in the 16s Division. As it turned out they consolidated all 16s, 17s and 18s teams into one 18s Division. Our initial pool featured teams from Toledo, Michigan and Canada. We played well our first match against a strong Toledo 18s team but dropped two straight sets 21-25 and 17-25. All the phases of our game seemed to improve as we handled the Hurricanes 17s (Michigan) and Skillz Finest 16s (Canada), each in straight sets, to finish second in our pool

The top two teams of our initial pool advanced to the “Gold Pool.” Ironically, our first match of the Gold Pool pitted us against the Dayton Juniors 18s team late Saturday afternoon. From our perspective we were catching them at the right time. They had just completed a hard fought three set match to seal first place in their initial pool. We came out on fire and took set one 25-18 after building a large early lead. The 18s came back strong in the second set and won 15-25. We were able to channel our energy and enthusiasm into enough good plays to take the deciding set 15-12. Playing teams within your own club at tournaments is rarely fun. Friendships, familiarity and emotions often combine such that it feels like no one truly wins. At least in this case it was a good group of players on both sides of the net, with great parents on the sidelines. In addition to the usual pictures of our team my wife took some of the 18s team and I have included them in the pictures below.

Sunday we finished Gold Pool play with three more matches. After beating Longevity 17s (Michigan) 18-16 in the third set we lost again to Toledo 18s in two. Our final match of the day was also a 3-setter with us prevailing 15-7 in the third set. Our 3-1-match record in that Gold Pool resulted in a Gold second place finish.

In the past two weeks of practice we worked diligently on shoring up a couple of weak areas on defense. We also spent a lot of time modifying our offense by varying the tempo of our attacks and running more combination plays. The increased complexity had the potential for negative consequences, but the players appeared to embrace the challenge and the results showed at this tournament. We competed with enthusiasm and energy and had many stretches of solid, high level play. It was fun to watch and it was nice to see the players rewarded with drawstring bags for finishing second in Gold. Now it is back in the gym for two weeks and then on to the Indy Juniors Classic in Indianapolis.

 Big bad beautifully bodacious blocks.

#3 Summer with carefully crafted combative cannon-like King Kong cross court kills.

#4 Ally with perfectly pleasing poised preciously precise passes.

#5 Kayla with seven successfully solid matches of super sweet spectacular silky smooth sets.

#6 Alyssa with horribly harsh heavenly huge hard to handle hits.

#7 Abby with alot of authentic authoritatively aggressive alive and alert attacks.

#8 Sophie with deft delightfully delicious decidedly defiant defense.

#9 Sydney with repeated ridiculous ricocheting rockets off really reluctant receivers.

#10 Kayla with solid scintillating severely stinging substantially successful spikes.

Saturday Nite Out

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The Wave practicing their martial arts moves on the ball.

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Proper nutrition between matches is a key to our success.

More bitterly boisterous blocks.

Celebrations!

Bright beautiful bewildering blocks.

Avery tries a lemon.

Sometimes as a coach you are better off not asking why.

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Summer assists Alyssa with a rarely executed inverted dive, but the referee was not impressed.

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The Wave patiently awaiting their food.

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Gold Runner-Ups in civilian clothing.

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Beavercreek HS setters Kayla and Beth are on opposite sides for this match.

Day Jrs versus Day Jrs #1

Day Jrs versus Day Jrs #2

Day Jrs versus Day Jrs #3

Day Jrs versus Day Jrs #4

Day Jrs versus Day Jrs #5

Day Jrs versus Day Jrs #6

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18 Blue Cheering Section

Day Jrs 18 Blue #1

Day Jrs 18 Blue #2

Day Jrs 18 Blue #3

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