More than wins, losses: Club volleyball teams use tournament to grow
Plaques were handed out for tournament titles, but many of the teams played for something else.
Sunday in the Western Colorado Showcase at Mesa State College, many of the 20 club volleyball teams were playing in a tournament together for the first time this club season.
The players learned how to trust each other and expect more of themselves.
Two of the Western Colorado Volleyball Club teams did in particular.
The Western Colorado Volleyball Club age 17 team went 3-3 in pool play and 5-4 overall, but reached the final of the Grand Champion Flight bracket to take second overall in the tournament. It was the only age 17 team in the tournament.
“We have a great group of girls,” coach Tammy Wells said. “What wins our games is our defense. Our girls move well and play together as a team. When you have a team that gels well, you get results.”
The Western Colorado Showcase tournament was the first tournament of the club volleyball season for the Western Colorado Club teams.
“We’ve had four weeks of practice and only practice two nights a week,” Wells said. “We have girls from all four valley schools. The first tournament is always interesting to see how we’re going to play. When the pressure was on, they got the job done.
“They proved no matter what is given to them, they did not give up.”
The team defeated two teams in the bracket that it lost to in pool play.
The Western Colorado Volleyball Club age 15 team, coached by Dane McCabe, reached the Reserve Champion Flight bracket semifinals against two age 18 teams, three age 16 teams, one other age 15 team and an age 14 team. McCabe’s team, though, was the youngest team to win a match and advance to the semifinals.
For that accomplishment, McCabe’s team is the age 15 tournament champion. The team finished tied for ninth overall in the tournament.
“We came in this weekend having difficulty as a team; we weren’t playing as a team,” McCabe said. “I have 10 great athletes, but we grew a heart this weekend and figured it out. We’re leaving (the tournament) as a team.
“They worked hard. They learned to trust each other and go for everything.”
Seven of the 10 girls on the team played for McCabe’s age 14 team last year, but this was still a new team and a new season.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” McCabe said. “Saturday was frustrating. We were letting balls hit the ground, we were not talking. We had a talk last night and they came in as a different team today.
“I told them, ‘Now, you raised the bar. This is what I expect from now on from you.’ They said, that’s good, that’s what they expect from each other. This sets that platform for us.”
The Western Colorado Club teams will return to practice before playing in a tournament in five weeks in Greeley.