All Hustle (Women's B)

2013 Nationals Louisville, KY -All Hustle, Women’s B

I have been playing GEVA for a long time and yet this was my first time attending Nationals. My team has been trying to go for several years now but cost, pregnancy, and injury have come between us and our goal. This year was almost no different when one of our long time teammates tore her ACL at Regionals. Since we already registered for Nationals before her injury, we dedicated our performance to her and headed to Louisville minus one.

The 13 hour drive with my teammate was filled with laughs, moos, and a trip to “Shenk and Tittle” in Columbia, MD to purchase knee pads. We arrived in Louisville around 6 pm Thursday evening and headed straight to the Expo Center to check in. It was AMAZING when we walked in and saw all the nets set up, like volleyball heaven. We really got psyched to play. We met GEVA people in line who told us weather caused some of the NY/NJ flights to be cancelled and they had teammates who now had to drive through the night to make the tournament. I was very glad we were safely in Louisville! From there it was a short drive to the Marriot hotel in downtown Louisville to meet up with some of the team who arrived early. We headed to Gordon Biersch Brewery on 4th Street for a great dinner and a taste of the local brew. The rest of the team arrived at the hotel around 10:30 and we settled in for the night.

We arrived at the Expo Center around 7:20 for our 8 am match. We ran into people from several local GEVA teams. We wished each other well and kidded about beating each other if we met on the court. We found court #39 and tried to get ready but warm ups were repeatedly interupted by random picture taking! It was a little surreal to be surrounded by 50 nets, 300+ volleyballs being tossed about, whistles blowing, music playing, people shouting, and constant activity. There certainly was an excitement about the event! Suddenly, warm ups were over and our first game at Nationals was under way against BVA COMMANDO (NE). It was a competitive first game – we led for most of it -but it slipped away at the end. Game 2 was over before we knew what happened and we had lost the match to the team that would go on to finish 3rd in the tournament. The next match against BOOM (IA) had a similar outcome. We were now down 0-2 matches. This got our competitive juices flowing and we won our 3rd match against PINK KARMA (IE). Finally a win at Nationals! The games against OVER NOT UNDER (GL) were close but we lost the match, so we ended the day 1 – 3. Not an auspicious start.

I had to figure out what our schedule was for the next day and found it all a little confusing. Lucky for me, a friendly player from another GEVA team was at the next station and helped me decipher the schedule. We would play at 8 am Saturday. Thank God for the hot tub at the hotel to help with sore muscles, then off to Champs for a drink, and the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. We finished the night back at the Gordon Biersch Brewery on 4th Street for beers and dessert outside by the fire pit. Although we didn’t win as many games as we would have liked, we all commented on how much we were enjoying playing different teams.

Day 2 was much better. We seemed more prepared to play and less distracted by the venue. We played 3 matches, winning against EASY AS Pi (NE) and SHINKARA WHITE (RM) but losing to SPIKETOWN (NE). So we were 2-1 for the day. Because our schedules aligned, we were able to cheer for our teammate’s husband’s BB team in between matches and they in turn cheered for us. After our pool was done, we watched the most fantastic Men’s Elite match. It was fast, powerful and plain AMAZING! I could have sat there all day watching them spike and block with the Libero diving everywhere. It was outstanding! After it was over, we drove back to the hotel and headed for the hot tub. After a strong martini at the hotel lounge, we then went to “Proof” for dinner. Proof is an interesting local restaurant and museum where we did tasters of local Kentucky Bourbon and had Bison burgers and steaks. We toasted our injured teammate back in NJ and our morning match against our local GEVA W/B rivals and friends, GET OVER IT.

There was a lot of handshaking and best wishes between both teams in the morning before our 10 am match. Once the whistle blew, GET OVER IT was all business and ready to play. We were a bit slow getting started and lost the first game 16-25. Game 2 was more competitive, 21-25, but ultimately, GET OVER IT took the match. The handshakes under the net were friendly and filled with camaraderie. We wished them well and they said they were sorry to see us go. We then had to work the next match which showcased another GEVA team, SETS PANTHER, who played well and went on to win their match.

It was a long ride home but we had a great time at Nationals and in Louisville, KY. I am so grateful to my team – I couldn’t have travelled to my first Nationals with a nicer group of women! We laughed a lot and played hard. I am not sure why it took me so long to make this journey. Hopefully, we will see you all in Phoenix next year -costs, pregnancies, and injuries permitting!

Calamity Spikes (Women's B)

Calamity Spikes

Calamity Spikes Team Perspective
2013 Adult National Championships
Louisville, Kentucky

Standing: Yon Lam, Annette Baez, Kristy Yeck, Shawntell Manning, Chitoni WIlson
Seated: Nicole Zelek, Sherry Hope, Annie Fulton, U-Landa Tudor

2013 was Calamity Spike's initial debut as a participating team in GEVA, GEVA Regionals, and at Nationals. After placing third at Regionals, only four players from our original GEVA roster were able to make the trip to Nationals, so we added new players to fill out our roster. Our most significant drawback was that we did not have a specialized setter on our Nationals roster, so we did our best to fill that gap with a couple of brave and committed players.

The team had to adapt to the introduction of new players, new lineups, and new positioning throughout the course of the tournament. Much of the tournament play during the first day of competition was spent figuring out what we had to work with, and to adjust the lineup accordingly. All of this while trying to build some team chemistry! Considering these challenges, we finished with 2 wins and 5 losses in pool play, with two of those losses a result of a close deciding match. We then lost our match in the single-elimination playoffs, but we enjoyed playing against the tough competition nonetheless.

Our team had a wonderful time enjoying all of the social interaction that Nationals in Louisville had to offer. From meeting other players and teams at the hotel pool, on the shuttle, or while enjoying the nightlife on Fourth Street, to cheering them on during their playoff matches, the overall experience was truly fascinating and memorable for everyone.

Calamity Spikes is ready to come back for more next year. And we plan to do it even better!

Get Over It (Women's B)

Get Over It

ON THE ROAD AGAIN 
Women’s B - “Get Over It”

1:00 am came real fast on Thursday, May 24th. Seven women in one van on the road to Kentucky, what a wild and crazy ride it was, with too many laughs to keep track of. Sharing two hour ride shifts, we were well on our way. Our 8th player decided to take the quicker route to Nationals and fly out Thursday evening. Weather is an unpredictable anomaly, but this Thursday evening it was beyond crazy. All flights were cancelled in and out of Newark and we soon learned that most of the east coast was shut down. As soon as we got the bad news we all started calling different forms of transportation including; train, bus, rental car and even other state airports. Every transport path was a bust. We were back and forth, with our teammate, trying to resolve the situation and informing her of our findings, while she was fighting hard on her end to try and retrieve her luggage. At 6 pm, the night before we played, her and her fiancé made the ultimate decision to jump in their car and just start driving south west till they hit Kentucky. And that is exactly what they did hitting the city of Louisville around 5:30 am making our team complete but with only a few hours to spare before we began the warm-up of our first match. We came out like gang busters. We played fast and furious. We won some matches and the ones we lost we were in it to the end. Only one match, towards the end of the tournament, we were not happy with our performance but the majority of play was something each of us was proud of. Each and every player brought so much to the court every match. Off the court we spent a lot of time enjoying one another’s company and the company of the many old and new volleyball friends from all over. When we were not playing, eating or out having a good time we watched A LOT of volleyball.

As fate would have it we entered our playoff session set up to play another GEVA team “Why does this always happen?”. This match comes with such mixed emotions. You want to win to keep going forward in the tournament but on the other hand you want you want all the GEVA teams to do well. You look across the net, before the match begins, and you know one of you are going home so you owe it to one another to give them your best game ever and go out fighting to the bitter end. This is exactly what we did and both teams played with passion, fire and heart.

It was a great nationals and the road trip helped to bring us together as friends and teammates – even though we couldn’t wait to get home and put all the driving behind us. I am glad we decided to drive and I hope we have other opportunities thought the next year’s season to take a road trip or two and play out of region just for the experience and the great way it bonds us as a team.

Hope to see you next year in Phoenix!

Kapow Xtreme (Women's B)

For someone who breathes, thinks sleeps and loves to play volleyball, playing volleyball in a national tournament is pretty awesome. The Nationals is an experience that is definitely worth a trip.  This is what Kapow VBC Xtreme women's volleyball team did this year and took a trip to Louisville, Kentucky for the USA Volleyball Open Championship Tournament. Most of my teammate flew in to Louisville except for a few that braved the long drive.

I have to say this was one of the best road trip we had to the Nationals. It started out with picking up some of my NYC teammates from the Poughkeepsie train station. Got to bed and woke up at 5am to start our adventure to Kentucky. Car was packed and of course, food and snack was a must. We were not going to run out of food for sure because we brought enough to feed an army. So the adventure began, played every song imaginable that we can all sing to and then....BAM!!!! Food coma...the funny sleeping pictures of each other..hilarious!

After 13 hours of driving, we finally saw the WELCOME TO KENTUCKY sign. We know we had reached our destination. We checked in our hotel and met with the rest of our teammates and our men's team. We found out that some of our teammates' flights were being cancelled and delayed due to a bad weather in NY. After hearing the delays and cancellations we felt that our drive to Kentucky was not bad at all.

The team played well during the tournament although our record did not reflect that. Everyone fought hard for every point but just could not close most of the matches. Not sure why but the team was not jelling and looks like everyone needed that extra boost to win these matches. Maybe this was the first Nationals for most of my teammates. The team ended at 33rd place and played in Flight 3.

Despite not playing to our expectations, one thing with this Kapow team, is not lose their enthusiasm and passion in playing this sport. Everyone is already talking and making plans for next year's Nationals. So Phoenix here we come..........

Northshore Teal-Quila (Women's B)

2013 Nationals Summary
NORTH SHORE, TEAL-QUILA

What a blast we had in Louisville, Kentucky at the Adult National Volleyball Championships! What’s not to love- a week of playing volleyball, watching volleyball and socializing on vacation with all of your friends!

Although many of us have competed in this tournament previously, this was only Teal-Quila’s second team appearance. We had the majority of our team stay together after success in Salt Lake City, from the previous year. I’m proud to say that our hard work paid off- we were able to climb to the top of the bracket and finish in the top 5! Especially only having 7 players- this was a major success for us!

Our team over came some traveling fiascos that most players traveling from the NorthEast also encountered. It was really great to see the camaraderie between rival teams and clubs within GEVA- helping each other out to make sure we all got to the court. It's moments like that, that make you realize how connected we really are to one another.

Congrats to everyone and their accomplishments, another successful year at Nationals! We are already looking ahead to 2014!!!