Tag Archives: Sky High Volleyball

AAU Boys & Girls Volleyball Junior Nationals were a HUGE success

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Lake Buena Vista– The 38th Annual AAU Volleyball Junior National championships have come to a close and what a week it was! After over 1350 teams flocked to Orlando to duke it out on the court, we crowned nine new National Champions in 10u-18 Open divisions.

In the first three National Championship games, it was all about Puerto Rico. Team Vaqueras took the 10u and 12u titles and Vega Baja Volleyball took the 11u National Championship.

In the 13u division, MAVA 13 Elite defeated Asics KIVA 13 Red 25-18, 25-13. The team told us they owe it all to their mascot “Norm” for winning (see the 13u video to see what they mean).

KIVA represented again in the 14u finale and this time was victorious. KIVA 14 Red had big shoes to fill as last year’s 14 team the AAU Volleyball National Championship.  KVIA coasted through the first set, winning 25-17. Team Indiana went on a run in the second, but KIVA was able to dig and close out the game with a 25-23 second set.

TAV had a huge presence in the AAU National Championships, with three teams making it to the 15u, 16u, and 17u finals. It was TAV Rags 15 Balck who brought home the cup for the club by avenging Academy Volleyball Cleveland in three sets, 25-18, 24-26, 15-9.

In the 16u division, TAV Rags 16 Black and 1st Alliance 16 Silver vying for the coveted title. 1st Alliance held off TAV in two sets, winning 27-25, 25-16. It was a very proud moment for the team and their coach since it’s the first year they’ve all played together (see what 1st Alliance’s post- game interview).

Sky High 17 Black Volleyball continued their dominance from last year by defending their 16 national title. They met TAV Rags 17 Black on the main stage and took a dominant first set 25-15. Everyone though Sky High had it in the bag, but TAV sent the match to a third set. Sky High took the third set 15-10, and a second national title.

And for the finale of all finales, it was a rematch from last year’s 18u final– Munciana Samarai vs. Sports Performance 18 Elite. Last year, Sports Performance took the title 25-23, 25-22. It was deja vus from last year. Same score, same amount of sets, same teams, except this year Munciana was the victor. These two storied programs have each won two 18u titles a piece in the past four years.

For all official results from the tournament, including our Club and Classic divisions CLICK HERE.

Check out all the cute photos from the 11-14u award ceremonies HERE

Check out the award ceremonies for 16u Open, 17uu Open, 18u club HERE

While the girl’s national championships were going on, the boys were having a national championships of their own. Guys in 14u-18u division ventured from across the country, even Puerto Rico, to take on top volleyball talent. In the end, we crowned 5 new National Champs. Ocean Bay Volleyball Club from Boynton Beach, Fl took the 17u and 18u national titles. And then it was all Puerto Rico from there. Team Vaqueros took the 16u division, 15u title went to Trujillo Alto Volimax and the 14u championship went to Naranjito Evol 14. For all the official boys scores and results CLICK HERE.

Take a look at the boy’s awards ceremonies HERE.

Thanks to all the parents, coaches and athletes for another amazing National Chamionships!

Thanks to all the parents, coaches and athletes for another amazing National Chamionships!

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Sky High 17 Black sets sights on defending national title

Originally posted on: http://rise.espn.go.com

Written by: Walter Villa

8 of 10 girls are back from 16u national championship team; 9 of 10 are going to D-I schools

ORLANDO, Fla. – Anyone who thought Sky High Volleyball reached its zenith last year clearly hasn’t talked to Scott Harris.

Sky High has won four national titles, including the past two 16-under AAU championships.

But Harris, who founded the club with his wife Sherry in 1989, thinks his 17 Black team is the program’s best yet. That team will continue pool play on Tuesday in the 17u open division at the 38th AAU Junior National Girls’ Volleyball Championships, part of the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase, after going 5-1 over the first two days.
“We’re absolutely better than last year,” Harris said of the team, which is based in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, Ill. “Eight of our 10 girls (all rising seniors) were on last year’s (national title 16-under) team. Now they have another year of experience, and we’ve added two excellent players.”

The newcomers are 6-2 middle blocker Daiva Wise, who has committed to Toledo, and 5-10 opposite hitter Mary Striedl, who is bound for Pitt.

That those two players have earned college scholarships is not uncommon for 17 Black. Nine of the 10 players have already committed to Division I schools.

Perhaps that helps explain why 17 Black is seeded second, trailing only Atlanta’s A-5. The rivals split a pair of matches this season, with 17 Black winning in February and A-5 taking the rematch in April.

Harris, though, isn’t overconfident, especially after Sky High lost its third and final match on Monday, falling in straight sets to High Performance of St. Louis 17 Gold.

“This Class of 2012 is extremely competitive,” he said. “There are probably 10 teams who can win this tournament.”

But only one team has 5-10 Abby Gilleland, the Saint Louis-bound setter who powers the 17 Black attack.

“She’s our captain – an amazing athlete and an amazing leader,” Harris said of Gilleland, the MVP of last year’s AAU championships. “If she were not on this team, it would be totally different.”

Gilleland is far from 17 Black’s only standout, however. Amy Dion, a 5-6 defensive specialist who has committed to Maryland, and Ashley Rosch, a 6-0 middle blocker and Illinois State recruit, were named All-Americans last year.

Amelia Anderson, a 6-2 middle blocker who committed to Indiana, made the all-tournament team – along with Rosch – at the 2010 USA Junior Nationals in Reno.

Samantha Boesch, a 6-0 outside hitter, committed to Wake Forest. Amanda Orchard, a 6-1 outside hitter, is bound for Pitt. Melanie Jereb, a 6-1 outside hitter, has pledged to Creighton.

Only Samantha Bohne, a 5-6 defensive specialist, has yet to pick a college.

“It’s a great group of athletes,” Harris said. “We have so much depth. If someone is off, I can make a change, and we don’t miss a beat.”

While there is no denying the team’s talent, Gilleland said the club’s chemistry is what sets it apart.

“We have an incredible bond,” she said. “That’s something you don’t find in every team.”

Anderson said that bond was only enhanced when Wise and Striedl joined the team.

“We took them right into our team,” Anderson said. “We were doing team sleepovers and movie nights with them before the season even started. We love them.”

On the court, the team plays with machine-like precision. If there is a weakness, Gilleland said, it’s on defense.

“We struggled for a long time with our blocking and ball control,” she said. “But we’ve practiced a lot, and we’ve improved incredibly.”

Harris has noticed and admits that even he is surprised by the accomplishments of the overall program, which began in 1989 with four teams. Within five years, they had 30 teams, and Harris decided to leave his finance job to run the club full-time.

“It was a gamble,” Harris said. “But volleyball is a passion of mine.”

Sherry Harris, who had been the volleyball coach at nearby McHenry Junior College, also gave up her job when Sky High took flight.

Today, Sky High has 70 teams at five locations, drawing players from northwest/northern Illinois to southern Wisconsin.

“We’ve really come on strong the past five or six years,” Scott Harris said. “More top athletes are migrating to our program because of our success.”

The big question now is if 17 Black can leave Orlando this week as national champs.

“We’re extremely confident,” Gilleland said, “in a non-cocky way.”

Gilleland said her team struggles at times with “lower teams,”  but motivation won’t be a problem if they play A-5 or any other elite club.

Trying to suppress a smile, Gilleland added: “We love being the underdogs.”

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