I just experienced what may have been the LONGEST one day tournament of my coaching career with the Conquerors! We played 7 matches, and the last 5 were back to back to back with not one spare minute between! I have never seen a team like our 14′s play so intensely and so strong for 6 consecutive hours like that! We won EVERY game (12 consecutive) until the final match where we lost 25-22, 26-24. It was truly unbelievable how focused and intense they remained the entire time! We tried re-fueling by sharing the mystery Snickers bars (which I was convinced mysteriously appeared in my briefcase by God himself, until Shelby’s dad fessed up!). and yes, parents….we made sure Lola took the final bite, so as not to infect anyone with her lingering sore throat…)
I can begin a long list of “Conqueror” feats in this tournament: First we have my co-MVP’s, Shelby Wilkins and Ashlyn Baker! Ashlyn stole the show with 35 kills, 2 blocks and 6 aces! The most impressive thing to me, was after 5 1/2 hours on the court straight, she was STILL talking and pumping the team up. I went to turn in the line-up on the final set and came back to hear her giving a very intense “fire-up” speech to the team! I love that kind of leadership…:) Shelby, had 29 kills of her own, 18 aces and 38 assists! That’s a grand total of 85 points she single-handedly won for us!! She exemplifies performance under pressure! Nothing much can rattle this girl, and she continues to make great play ending saves in every facet of the game! Both of these girls are just PURE athletes!!
Tatum Bacon had the absolute BEST performance I have ever seen! She set PERFECTLY when the passes were there, dug like a fiend! and even ‘talked’ all day, which she knows I absolutely LOVE! She set the standard, delivering 47 assists on the day!! She also had 7 aces and 5 kills! and all this fueled by only popcorn and a couple bites of soup….;)
Lexi Temple once again showed her intense side, with 23 kills, 10 blocks, and 9 aces!! Each and every one was followed by her characteristic “celebratory scream”!! I am convinced she personally can take opponents out of their game emotionally with this technique!! There were many times this weekend I was thankful she is ON my team, not our opponents!! I would NOT want to play against her!!
Reese and Mia-Mya each contributed 13 kills apiece. Both of these girls have the uncanny ability to let mistakes ‘go’ and regroup almost immediately! I have never seen anything quite like it among all of our teams!! I can be “yelling” at them, and next thing I know….Reese passes a ball perfectly, or Mia places a ball exactly where we needed to get a kill! Tough competitors mentally, in my book! My only regret is that I can’t pronounce Mia’s name correctly….
Lola, once again, overcame her lingering sickness to add 12 kills! She is such an incredibly quick athlete and really a strong jumper! Nikki also showed her continued adeptness at left back, digging and passing near perfectly. I have seen her step into such a confident presence on the court just this season! She also added 13 aces on the day! Avree Whittle contributed 10 kills and 3 blocks. She was just OUTSTANDING in her smart playing on balls close to the net, using her hands to play them straight down so no opponent could possibly dig them! I suspect she is a straight A student in school bc she is so absolutely intelligent on the court…;)
Little Lexi O. had 7 aces on the day and about 7,000,000 digs!! She is such a strong presence on the court, both physically and her ‘verbal’ presence! This girl does everything she can to help her teammates by communicating to them constantly! She overcame the agony of getting braces on two days before this tournament, but also as likely no one knew, she lost her most precious horse one day before. My heart was broken as I heard the story. I know that God Himself gave her peace thru this day to even be able to perform, much less perform at such a high level ALL day.
In closing, you 14′s impressed me tremendously with your fortitude, your ‘never-give-up attitudes, your continued intensity with no lapses, your physical strength, your mental strength, your care and concern for each other, your lack of selfishness (celebrating when anyone did something good!), your class on the court and even more, your representation of all we strive to be as a club! This day goes down as one of my very favorites EVER!!
ALL I could think while I drove home was I sure hope you EACH know how much I was impressed by all of you….:) I LOVED coaching you!!
Our 12′s made it to the finals of Silver Bracket on Sunday of their two-day tournament! They struggled somewhat on Saturday in pool play, though Coach Ragan had this to say,”We played some HUGE teams on Saturday! (perhaps a birth certificate check is in order??) None the less, I was SO proud of the way the girls fought! After losing a few games, they could have given up for the whole day, but they didn’t! They came back the last game of the day and played the best I’ve seen them play! Malanah was SO impressive to me!! She played so strongly, and even focused on what I was telling her with her serves, and she ended our final game, and BIG win, with an ace! Katherine was so smart, and played so consistently all day, also adding lots of big aces! The middles and setters virtually had no time off (as Hannah was out sick), but played so strong and I was very proud of their endurance! Addison had a great day blocking in the middle and Madison was outstanding hitting from the outside. I also have to point out the INCREDIBLE passing and defense from Allison!”
Then there was Sunday, where Coach Savanna took over and nearly continued her coaching ‘undefeated’ streak at Conquerors!! The 12′s must have slept great, bc they came in dominating for two matches, though they ended up losing in the finals of the tournament. Savanna stated, “I loved how the girls on the bench were always engaged and cheering on their teammates and trying to keep spirits high!! Hailey was a serving MACHINE, in almost every game she would go on a serving run to widen our leads! Addison was VERY aggressive at the net, consistently making great plays! Both setters, Katherine and Victoria, were very scrappy, making and saving plays as well as setting up our hitters for some good kills!”
The stat leaders were Katherine with 10 assists, and Victoria with 9! Leading hitter was Addison with 12 kills, followed by Katherine with 6, and Sara and Hailey with 4 each. Addison also added 7 blocks! Serving was led by Hailey with 14 aces, Katherine added 13, Addison 10, Sara 8 and Victoria 7!
Great job 12′s!! I continue to be so proud of the character of our players! Yet again, this weekend another opposing coach complimented us on our demeanor on the court!
Until next week,