Friday, August 22, 2014

14 Gold AAU Nationals Write-up & Pics

14's Gold AAU Nationals Experience
This year, OJVA's 14u gold team, coached by Marty Mozzochi was honored to have the opportunity to fly to Orlando, Florida to play volleyball in the AAU Nationals. Within this experience, we learned to compete harder and come together better as a team. We were also challenged to perform at a higher, more competitive level and adapt to athletes from different regions and the change in time zones.

As players we knew we had to work hard and compete every day; and as the the days passed by the competition got harder. We had a big adjustment to make with the 3 hour time difference. This made it even more difficult to wake up in the morning. We were playing at 5 am back home and getting up at 2 am for the first three days. This drained a lot of our energy. In addition to the change in time zones the weather in Orlando was much more humid and sunnier than we are use to in Oregon. We all had to adapt to these new conditions which was a hard thing to do. The humidity and warm weather made it difficult to play without becoming overheated. All of us as players had the responsibility to make sure our bodies were hydrated and well rested.

Playing in AAU Nationals was a great experience for everyone. The competition level was high, and every match was a nail biter. As a team we came together and played better than ever before. The first two days we went out with a bang. Kills were made, balls were dug, and we set very high expectations. The third day was very rough on us. Our bodies were sore and the mental preparation was just not there anymore. We still played very well, but the matches were not in our favor. In the second match of the day we came out with very tough tiebreak loss, leaving us with a very bitter attitude. At the end of day 3 we went home with no wins, but only motivation to win everything the next day. The very last day was hard, and very challenging, everyone's brain were just not there. With that being said we lost our match. It was tough losing everything on the last two days but losing taught us valuable lessons. It taught us that even though we didn't win at nationals, we played heart and with passion, dedication, drive, will power, and most importantly we learned to trust each other as a team.

The events that happened throughout our experience at AAU Nationals taught us many things we may use now and later in life. Our team and many other teams that played in the tournament were taught how to come together as a team on and off the court. We learned how playing unfamiliar teams from other regions can help us grow. We learned our teammates strengths and weaknesses which helped us play better together and really bond, and the most tiring, how to play in a four day tournament and persevere through tough times. The things we have learned in this tournament will help us throughout the course of our life; in not only sports but in our daily life.

Throughout our nationals experience, we grew as a team, as individuals, but also as friends. Over the course of the tournament, we spent so much time together outside of the gym just hanging out and getting to know each other, that it affected our game. We found we could trust my teammates better, and we played with more chemistry than we had all year. This was apparent in the first two days of the tournament. We came out and played like we had been playing together our whole lives. All of a sudden we became more of a team then we had ever been. Passing, setting, and hitting are the basics of volleyball, but you can't win with just that, chemistry is a necessity for a successful team, and we learned that at nationals.

Michael Jordan once said, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." This teamwork was achieved for our team through friendships off the court. We all truly hope that we will be able to keep the friendships that we built with as teammates throughout our lives. Although our team did not win the championship, Nationals was the best our team ever played. We finally came together as a team and as our coach said we were all on at once.
(Written by 6 members of the team!)
Marty Mozzochi

Thursday, August 21, 2014

18 Gold AAU Nationals Write-up by Ariana Wiltjer

OJVA 18 Gold at the AAU National Championships
By: Ariana Wiltjer

            Going to the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Florida is a blessing that I, nor the rest of my team, will ever forget. Nationals gives teams a chance to play the best of the best and get the exposure that you don’t get anywhere else. Walking into a vast room with over 175 courts, hundreds of college coaches, and a tournament with over 2,000 teams might be overwhelming for some, but our team knew how to handle the pressure. The amount of noise in this kind of setting from players coming together, coaches yelling, refs whistling, and parents cheering is indescribable. As we warmed up the first day, the first team on our court, we were all very focused and ready for play. We knew that every minute of practice and warm-ups were important, as this was our first tournament together as a complete team since we’ve had to deal with several injuries, including mine, this year. Although nerves channeled through some of us, we used it to get positive momentum on our side.
            After finishing the first day 2-1, with our only loss being to the 5th seed in the tournament in the third game 14-16, our girls and coaches went back to the hotels and rental house to relax in the sun, enjoy some Florida restaurants, play cards, and swim (not too much, of course, because we knew we had play the next day!).
            Entering pool play the next day, we knew we were up against some extremely good teams. First up, we had the number 2 seeded team in the entire tournament. Although we ended up losing, it was really good to know that our team could compete at that level and stay up to the speed that a team that practices 5-6 times a week is at. At the end of pool play that day, it ended up being a three way tie for 2nd place, meaning we would have to play-off.
            On the third day, we felt amazing and came out of warm-ups playing our hearts out from the very beginning! We went undefeated this day, putting us in a good position for the last day. On the last day, it was bracket play and we ended up 21st overall in the 18 Open division! This was amazing for us because of how many high caliber teams were there.

            Being able to attend Nationals was a perfect ending for the season because not only was it great competition and allowed us to peak at the best time, but it was also really eye opening for our team. Playing in the 18- Open division, made us realize that there are so many talented teams outside of Oregon, and every team you play at this level is good, so you have to be on your A game 100% of the time. Competition aside, it was also an incredibly fun experience to be in a room that big with so many other people that share the same love that you do. I, and I’m sure the rest of my team, hope to be able to do this again!

Fwd: OJVA 12 Gold -- wins April GOLD Division power league upsetting #1 Rose City

OJVA 12 Gold -- wins April GOLD Division power league upsetting #1 Rose City

The girls played awesome all day and did not lose a set in the morning pool play.

They Beat #4 Athena in first crossover, beat PVC Pink (#2) in two sets in Semifinal and then went on the beat #1 Rose City in 2 straight sets:  25-18, 25-21

Melissa Penn

Picture of 14 Gold at PNQ

14 Gold at Pacific Northwest Qualifier in Spokane

2014 18U Far Western Volleyball Videos

Hello all,
In case anyone is interested, here are the recordings of all the games OJVA 18-1 played at the 2014 Far Western tournie in Reno.  By far, their best day was Saturday.  They entered the tournament ranked 17th and finished 15th.

vs Sports Shack
vs Delta Valley
vs Rage Garren

vs Club Idaho
vs Vegas Encore:
vs Boise

Symone Tran 18U All Tournament Award

Symone Tran from OJVA 18-1's team selected to the 18U Open All-Tournament team at the 2014 Emerald City Classics Invitational in Seattle, WA.

USA High Performance Camp by Sophie Griese

I had the opportunity to go play for the USA Volleyball High Performance Girls' Youth/Junior A2 Invitational Team Program this summer in Colorado Springs. It was a surreal experience, everything I could have imagined, from the intensity on the court to the lifelong friendships made off the court. My favorite part about this program was how the coaches stressed that we weren't at any summer camp, we were at a USA volleyball training program, there to represent our country. I also enjoyed how every girl in the gym was not just there to promote themselves, we were all there to help/push each other to new levels of play. As the week went on, we continued to get more and more in depth in our training and the concepts of USA play. Most of which were quite familiar to me, I soon came to the realization that many of the concepts USA Volleyball has were the same, or similar to those of Oregon Juniors Volleyball Academy. I have benefited very much from the Program and have a better grasp of the game, I am so thankful for all of my coaches at OJVA and their support in this experience.

-Sophie Griese

16 Gold AAU Nationals Write-up & Pics

AAU Nationals in Orlando, Florida was such an incredible experience for not only myself, but also my entire team as well. We were excited to play at every moment for all four days and the enthusiasm radiated throughout the convention center.
Personally, this was my first national championship so I was in awe of how enormous it was. There were approximately 170 courts and thousands of people filling the massive building. The atmosphere was incredible. The moment you walked through the door you were instantly in volleyball mode and felt ready to get on the court to start playing.
The best part about that tournament was that every team there was highly competitive. There were no easy sets during any of the four days. Each point was fought for and most importantly everyone wanted to win. Play was really at a whole new level. It was hard work, but it was probably the most enjoyable volleyball I've ever played. It pushed me to step up my game and really play all out. I remember saying on the final day of the tournament that I felt I had played the best of my entire volleyball career thus far, and I truly think that was because of the level of competition I needed to rise to. It pushed me to play better and I do not think I am the only one who felt that way.
OJVA 16 Gold was the only team from Oregon in the open division and I think that we represented well. We really gave it our all and even when we lost we still felt so proud of how hard we played. For example, we took a set from Mizuno Northern Lights who finished third in the tournament overall.

The last day was single elimination and unfortunately we lost our first game and realized the season had ended. The passion our team felt for the game and the love we felt towards each other was apparent from our reactions when we realized our time as a team was over. Many tears were shed and we all kept hugging each other wishing we could stay together. We grew so close over the eight months of practicing and playing as a team, and Nationals was a perfect close to an amazing season.

Hello everyone,

I have a lot of photos from Nationals but unfortunately my team photos didn't really turn out that well.  I attached a few.

In a couple of the group shots you can see that T.J. decided to jump into the pool with her clothes on to surprise the girls.  They were shocked as you can see.  Too much fun!    


USA High Performance Camp by Taylor Toms-Overn

This summer, I was invited to participate in the High Performance A2 Training and Invitational Team. This was my first year and I didn't know what to expect, but it was so amazing! (It was totally and completely exhausting, but still so amazing!!)  It was so cool to be able to play at that level with girls who eat, sleep and breathe volleyball, like me!
We had three practice sessions every day and one classroom session. I learned so much that I thought my brain was going to explode!  The coaches were all really awesome - some of them were really intense! 
In the A2 Program, we practiced for 5 days and then had a 2-day invitational tournament.  We lived on the college campus for the week and got to stay in dorms.  This was really fun, but also hard to be away from my family.  We were up by 6:30 almost every day to eat and go to our first practice at 8:00, and then we weren't finish with our last practice until about 10:00pm!  The beds weren't very comfortable, but I was so tired by the end of the day that I barely noticed!
Camp was a little intimidating at first.  All of the girls were so good!  I tried not to let it get to me, because I knew I have had some of the best coaching ever from my OJVA coaches and that they had prepared me to be able to keep up with any of them!  I started in the bottom group and by the end of the week I had earned a spot in the top group!  When they first announced the teams, my coach said I was going to be the backup setter because the other setter had a lot more experience.  I was really bummed and decided to work extra hard to show her I deserved more playing time.  During most of the tournament, she made me the primary 6-2 setter/hitter and made me floor captain because she said I was really positive, a hard worker and a good leader.
I'm really grateful to my OJVA coaches.  Without them, I never would have made it to the High Performance Program.  If I were to give advice to other girls who want to make volleyball their life, I would tell them to work hard, don't get lazy, and to use their mistakes as learning opportunities - don't dwell on them. They can negatively impact your confidence, your performance, and your whole team. Most importantly, don't be afraid to dream big!!

Taylor Toms-Overn, 14 Gold