Hi Oregonjuniorsvba Best
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!)
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