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15 National Takes 2nd Overall In Open At New Year's Classic

By K Barends, 01/09/11, 8:59PM EST



After eight straight hours of nothing but volleyball, the 15 National Team opened their season with a second place finish at GEVA's New Year's Classic. Coach Titus and Coach Katie couldn't have been more proud as their girls became VELOCITY, a team.

Although the day started off on the wrong note, over an hour late, Velocity didn't let that set the tempo. The girls struggled through the first set against the toughest competition in the pool, CJVA Heat. After working out some of the first tournament jitters, Rachel, Keyarah, and Eileen helped bring the team back in the second set with solid passing and serving. Entering the third and deciding game Jessica literally set her teammates up for the win. It was a great effort by everyone to start the day off with a win.

Velocity was able to finish the first pool with determination. Playing Downstate 15-4, no one let down their intensity. Norma Jean began the set with an impressive run of 12 service points, including several aces! After gaining such a strong lead, the girls were able to let loose and play some volleyball, easily winning the match in just two sets. Courtney stepped up with strong play at the net and several key hits. By taking both teams in the pool, Velocity found themselves headed to the championship pool.

Without a break in between pools, Velocity went right to business against the CJVA National team. Exhaustion showed early in the first set with the girls dropping their second set of the day. But Velocity rallied back in the second game and never gave up as they began to show their heart and their determination as a team. In a close second set the middles, Shannon and Norma Jean, were huge at the net and had several booming blocks that kept the team going. The fight showed in everyone and Velocity pushed the match to a deciding set. The third set had a troubling start and Velocity found themselves down by six points at the switch.  Lia fought in the backcourt with huge defensive plays that allowed Jessica and Rachel to connect for key kills, and the team was back in the match. Eileen carried to the team to the win as she stepped up to the service line and fired off the final serves of the match.

After winning a close match against CJVA, the championship would be determined as Velocity played the LIVBC 15 National team. Every girl fought through the final match of the day and showed the power of Velocity. With another hard first set loss, the team rallied in the second game. Monika continued her positive attitude and strong serving from the day and was able to go on several runs to help the team push forward. Keyarah and Lia made huge defensive plays that kept the ball alive and forced a deciding set. None of the girls gave up in the final set, but exhaustion set in as the clock neared 10:30pm and LIVBC was able to overtake Velocity.

Velocity had an amazing first tournament and showed not only Coach Titus and Coach Katie, but also the competition and their parents what they can do as a team. Next weekend at the MLK Tournament should be another exciting tournament as the girls continue to grow as a team and a GEVA power.