High Performance program
Michiana Region Volleyball Association
Region of USA Volleyball
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Michiana Region Volleyball Association Inc.
Chad Janney, High Performance director
Team Michiana at the USA High Performance Championships
By John Armuth
Austin, Texas (July 27, 2004) — Question: Take 11 kids, none of them taller than 5-9, from two states, five clubs and 10 schools, put them on a team, practice for two days and what do you have?
Answer: The Michiana Region High Performance Team that came within a whisker of finishing on the podium at the recent USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Austin, Texas.
The tournament is a part of the USA Volleyball High Performance program to expose elite players to high-level competition and identify players with national team potential.
After a year's absence, the regionâ€™s high performance program was reinstated with Chad Janney at the helm. The Michiana Region decided to start with a High Performance Division team and expand to the older groups in future years.
The decision appears to have been a good one, as the team, the parents and the coaches all had a great experience.
The team was picked from the players who attended either USA Volleyball High Performance tryouts or the region tryouts immediately after the region bid tournament. The number of players who came to the region tryout was a bit lower than hoped for, but the quality of the kids was top-notch. The hope is that word of the quality of the program will spread, and numbers will go up.
The coaching staff originally was supposed to be Janney from Circle City Volleyball Club, Kevin Laseau from Munciana, Kent Mitchell from Fort Wayne Volleyball Club and Lauri Janssen from Circle City. Changing obligations made it impossible for Laseau and Janssen to attend, so John Armuth from Circle City helped out.
The team practiced for about eight hours on July 10 and practiced all day on July 19. At 6:05 a.m. on July 20, they were winging their way to Austin, Texas. After arriving and checking into the hotel, the team and coaches headed over to the Palmer Center for a final practice before starting competition. No one knew quite what to expect. All of the other teams were taller and looked very athletic.
The tournament format was considerably different from a regular club 14-and-under tournament. Part of the purpose behind this tournament is to give players, officials and coaches experience in international rules. All matches were best three out of five games. Team leaders had to attend the pre-tournament meeting dressed in a coat and tie. Assistant coaches could not stand up to instruct players. There were technical timeouts at 8 and 16 points. Pre-match and between-game protocols were also considerably different. The tournament format itself was two pools of six, followed by a playoff.
The team started with a four-set win over the Carolina Region and continued with a three-set win over the Inter-Mountain region. Day Two started with a hard-fought loss to the Aloha Region. The game scores were 32-30, 25-19 and 25-20. The team came back to beat the Oklahoma Region in four sets. Pool play finished on Day 3 with a narrow loss to one of the two Southern California teams to wrap up a third-place finish in the pool.
Cross-pool play started with a match with the North Texas region, the second-place finisher from the other pool. Team Michiana had to win to stay in the hunt for a medal. The kids responded magnificently. They were behind at all the technical timeouts in each game, but when it got to crunch time, they dug deep and pulled out a win 25-23, 26-24, and 25-22. Unfortunately, immediately after this match, libero Kaylee Schembra had to fly back to Indiana to be with a critically ill family member.
The win over North Texas put the team in the Final Four with the Aloha region and the two teams from Southern California. The strength of the Michiana schedule was proven when all three teams from Pool B won their crossover matches.
Day Four started with a match against Southern California I. The team was noticeably shaken by the loss of Schembra. They played their worst match of the tournament and lost in three sets. The loss set up a rematch with Southern California II. The coaching staff decided to use Anne Meredith at libero.
The first two games were a bit rocky, but Team Michiana started playing better and better while losing the first two games. In game three, the team that played so well earlier in the tournament returned and sprinted to a 25-19 win. Game four was a war. Both teams were at the top of their form. There were almost no easy points by either team. Each rally was hotly contested. No more than a few points separated the teams through out the game. The game ended on a great kill and a great block by the Southern California middle hitter for a 25-23 loss.
The final standings were:
After the tournament, Coach Janney told the team that he was as proud of them as any team he has coached.
"Every team we played had a couple of players better physically than anyone we had," Janney said. "It is a tribute to your heart and determination that we did so well."
In addition to a great volleyball experience, the team visited many of the great places to eat in Austin and saw many sites, including the world's largest bat colony.
For program details, see the 2004 High Performance brochure (1.2MB PDF file).
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