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Volleyball: Festival featured talent

July 07, 2010|By Charlie Brande

The Volleyball Festival held at the Phoenix Convention Center hosted over 525 teams from Brazil to Canada with many teams from Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The Opening Ceremonies was held at Chase Field which is the indoor baseball stadium for the Diamondbacks baseball team.

Complete with fireworks and a march-in of all the teams, it was very exciting for the Orange County Volleyball Club girls.

The five-day tournament was an outstanding experience for the girls. The OCVBC 17 Blue team won the 17s championship, which was played at the US Airways Arena on the same court that the Phoenix Suns play (we were looking for Steve Nash to appear).

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The 17s, coached by Scott Bruce and UCI volleyball standout Larissa Nordyke, defeated Seaside of Canada in an exciting semifinal match and Surf City in the final, both in three games. Surf City featured the backcourt play of Newport's Tilly Lumpkin. OCVBC 17s were led by outside hitters Hailey Senske (Corona del Mar), Allie Cook and Sarah Buckingham (Newport Harbor), setter Megan Griffin, backcourt specialists Katelyn Baker and Tabi Goff, middle blockers Megan Reza and Morgan Pautsch, as well as rightsiders Avae Masaniai and Devyn Jackson.

OCVBC's top 16s team was the top seed as the tournament began and played very well. Unfortunately, the team matched up with Club Vaqueros from Puerto Rico in the first round of the playoffs. They had beaten the Vaqueros in pool play but were not prepared for the loud cheering of the Puerto Ricans. They must have brought half of the island for their early morning match. After losing to the Puerto Rico team, OCVBC proceeded to march through the bottom bracket playing five matches on Thursday and two more early Friday morning to make the finals. The first Friday morning match was with the same Puerto Rican team who fell in two straight.

In the 16s final, OCVBC 16 Blue beat Santa Monica two straight games to force a one game final. Unfortunately, the burden of the tournament took its toll and Santa Monica won. OCVBC was led by libero Tatum Norton, setters Jordan Alessi and Nikki Borchard, middle blockers Alexandra Holbrook and Britton Taylor, as well as outside hitters Ashley Cox and Amy Cultra and all-around players Kasey Thompson and Carla Cantarella.

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