Team Hustle and Flow (Open Division)
USAV OPEN TOURNAMENT SALT LAKE CITY 2012
Special thanks to El Capitan Edwin Rodriguez who makes anything and everything happen, without him Hustle and flow would not be possible
After winning the men AA gold division title at the 2011 edition of the USAV open championships, our team was really excited about making the jump to the open division. We started our early campaign of recruiting additional talent in order to have the best squad possible to compete and have a chance at winning the tournament. We added some very good talented players in addition to the group we already had. Players like Connor Olbright, Michael Brinkley, Maikel Bastidas, Erik Latham, just to name a few. Taylor Crabb, Jason Salmeri, Edwin Rodriguez, Elvis Rodriguez, Luis Mendez as returning players. On the other hand, we also had some key losses to our roster: Taylor Sander, Juan Carlos Cabrera, Mat Ogin, just to name a couple.
We always have a lot of fun at this tournament and this year was not different. The level of competition was really high and every match was intense and very competitive. We finished our pool play undefeated even though we were a little short handed, but we maximized our young talent along with our experience to pull out 4 wins against zero losses which put us directly in the Gold bracket . We were really feeling good about our chances in the later rounds, which was in the double elimination format. However, the results were not what we were expecting. We were just out of sink for the two matches we played resulting in losses and as a consequence we were out of medal contention. Needless to say, we were really disappointed with the end result. We take losing very hard, and we will find a way to make things better for next year.
Nonetheless, the thrill of competition against the best teams and players, the little talk that goes on in the court during the matches, the adrenaline rush you feel when you are in the court, are just so much fun that makes the trip a very unforgettable and worthwhile experience that makes you want to do it every single year! In addition to all the fun you have on the court, the off court stuff is just as good. The camaraderie with fellow players either if you know them or not is awesome. You get to know a lot of new people with whom you get to share experiences, either volleyball related or just in life in general. It is this off court “social experience” that the open nationals offers that I believe it sets it apart from other similar sport events. For the most part, everybody is friendly and eager to talk or share about any funny event that happened during a particular match or a get together at the bar, or just simply to get to know one another and remind ourselves that we all belong in the same huge and fun volleyball family. As I said earlier open nationals is a lot of clean –good fun, we are not planning on missing it any time soon. As long as we can play, we will be going every single year. Bring on Kentucky!
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