IT'S 2019; THE TOURNAMENT SEASON IS UPON US
Coaches and Athletes are Ready to COMPETEJanuary 7, 2019 -
IT'S 2019; THE TOURNAMENT SEASON
IS UPON US
Coaches and Athletes are Ready to COMPETE
I trust everyone had a good break to visit with friends and family and that our athletes return to school and to the gym energized and excited about the coming season.
I was able to watch many of the scrimmages on 12/20, and I've got to tell you - they blew me away! Volleyball legend Karch Kiraly once said, "practice like it's competition and compete like it's another day on the practice court", and our athletes have taken that advice to heart.
Our athletes were fully engaged, diving for balls and playing their hearts out as if their future depended upon it. .....which I suppose it does, indirectly. The scrimmages of 12/20 highlighted for me one of our secret weapons: Our athletes play with and against the best athletes in the state week after week; they can't help but improve!
Final Notes About 2018 Final Four
Thought you might want to know the following:
Illinois starting defensive specialist Caroline Welsh, who contributed seven digs and two service aces to the Illini effort in the semifinal match of the Division I NCAA Championship, began her career at A5 on A5's 12-5 team. Every year I see players and especially parents getting worked up over which team their daughter was selected for, and I want to say, "It doesn't matter - particularly at such a young age." Athleticism, attitude, good coaching and training, and - most important - willingness to put in the work - will yield results in the long term.
I also wanted to mention that my Wolverine daughter pointed out an error in the previous email, wherein I noted that Caroline was just the second A5 alum to compete in a DI Final Four. Actually, Caroline was the third, following FSU's Ashley Neff in 2011 and Michigan's Kelly Murphy in 2012.
Lastly, if you watched the Championship Match, you were sure to notice our own Michelle Prater keeping the match on the straight and narrow as the Down Ref. Hey.... I must be Somebody, because I KNOW HER! During Tournament season I always chuckle when I see a coach try to intimidate, argue, or pick a fight with Michelle. I'm thinking..."Dude, you're way over your head and you just need to sit down and cut your losses." Great job, Michelle!
While We are Talking About Being the Third at A5 To Accomplish a Feat...
As I was writing about Caroline Welsh being our third alumnae to play in a DI Final Four, I was reminded of the honor received by our Scott Shelley (A5 18 Scott) this year - awarded at the AVCA Convention in Minneapolis as part of the Final Four Festivities. Scott was named AVCA Coach of the Year for the U16 age bracket. He is our third COY, following in the footsteps of Jing Hou and Gabe Aramian.
Aside from Volleyball Hall of Fame induction, AVCA Coach of the year is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a volleyball coach. Congrats to all.