Tawa’s Daily Dots: Spotlight on JVA, a Beastly team, and a few ha-ha’s in a time of anxiety

Tawa's Daily Dots 3/19/2021
1st Alliance Black at Beast

Daily Dots (March 19, 2021): Club or high school volleyball factoids, notions and ideas to impress your friends (or not)

• The Junior Volleyball Director’s Association was incorporated in 2005 with 33 clubs as founding members. It wasn’t until 2007 that the JVDA began functioning as an association with the mission to promote the growth of junior volleyball through program and resource development, education and events. In 2008, the JVDA began holding its own events.
 
• The JVDA subsequently became the “Junior Volleyball Association,” and now has about 1,300 member clubs. Of those, 300-400 regularly play in JVA events.

• The JVA has been innovative since its inception, including developing an active volley tot program.

“I believe everything we have done has been innovative,” said Executive Director Jenny Hahn. “No one before JVA has offered education and resources for club directors in the areas of business management. We offer event insurance that allows tournament directors to have teams of any affiliation to compete.  We have raised the bar for tournaments, making sure our tournaments were ‘events’ with something to offer the entire family.

“We have a mentor program for club directors to get assistance in any aspects of running their club.  When COVID shut our member clubs’ doors, we immediately developed resources to help clubs keep their athletes engaged, financial advice to help keep their businesses viable, and webinars on how to apply for EIDL and PPP loans and grants.”

• The JVA has three hosted events on its calendar for the spring: JVA West Coast Cup, scheduled for Long Beach, California, May 29-31; JVA Summerfest, in Columbus, Ohio, June 5-6; and JVA World Challenge, set for Louisville June 11-13.

“We are confident that Summer Fest and World Challenge will go on as scheduled,” Hahn said. “As you know, California is struggling to open up.  We will have to make a final decision by April 1st.”

1st Alliance players dressing like their coach

• In yesterday’s Dots, I wrote that it was my intent to share EVERY volleyball qualification story that wanted to be told. Today, we spotlight 1st Alliance 18 Black, which booked its trip to Columbus by winning 18 USA at the Beast of the Southeast in mid-February.  The team, coach by Matt Madia, went 9-1 overall, but lost in straight sets to VA Juniors 18 Elite and survived 16-14 and 15-13 squeakers to TVA 18 Smack and C1VB 18 Elite Pickens among its first six matches, before sweeping its final four tests to take the title.

“This was truly a team win from the players to the parents,” Madia said. “From the start, this team really controlled all aspects of the game, especially on Sunday with great serves, timely blocks and digs that got us in transition for great swings. Each day this team played their hearts out, but not all games came easy. There was a great flow to each match and it was a joy to watch them battle each day on the way to winning Gold at our second qualifier of the year.”

“We controlled our side of the net throughout the tournament and had a lot of fun playing against great competition,” libero Caroline Doyle said. “I’m so proud of this team and all the hard work we did that weekend!”

“We were able to incorporate our entire team in all aspects of the game, which contributed to our success in tough matches,” DS Kiara Zamar added. “Our team fought so hard and I’m so proud to call us champions!”

The team was led by MVB “Most Valuable Beast” Molly Boyd, a middle who led the team in blocks. OH Ewelina Gacek was the kill leader while Doyle topped the team in digs and serve-receive average.

1st Alliance had fallen one win short in its first qualifier, a fourth-place finish; but found the right formula at the Beast.

“The journey (to qualifying) started with getting the right players to buy into the process,” Madia said. “The team bought into controlling their side and earning the last points from passing, talking, and serving, which are the keys that I preach to them.”

Hannah Watkins, a 6-6 senior RS, will play for the University of Central Arkansas next fall. Last summer, however, what was on her mind was one more year of high school.

“Volleyball is kind of the world to me,” she told BVM Sports.

Watkins, who attends Greenwood in Arkansas, wrote a letter to Governor Asa Hutchinson pleading for a season. Her request was answered and Greenwood not only went 21-1 last fall; the Bulldogs also won the Arkansas 5A title.

On Nov. 12, Hutchinson wrote Watkins back. He congratulated her and the team for winning state, then added this personal note:

“As a father and grandfather, it is reassuring to know that there are young people, such as yourself, who are willing to advocate for issues that are important to them.”

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Set of the Week! This is Sophie Castille of Tstreet IE 18-Taylor going all out to put up a perfect set off of a one-armed save!  Maya Ashcraft made certain to put that thing of beauty away.

Do you have a great video clip that deserves to be seen? Send it to me at jtawa@volleyballmag.com

• I had a director friend from Virginia tell me that Loudoun County is at it again. LC is an iconic local program working on a state title streak that hit eight in the fall of 2019. Playing a spring schedule, the Captains are 7-0 without a dropped set. The fast start includes a Monday home sweep of previously-unbeaten Loudoun Valley.

“We graduated six seniors, three to Division I, but it’s Loudoun County High School,” said head coach John Senchak. “So there’s a history here that they take seriously.”

Ella Solomon, a 6-1 senior middle committed to Rollins College, has been a terrific spark for the Captains. She leads the team in all offensive categories in her first year playing high school ball. Solomon missed her previous three years because of an illness that only recently was properly diagnosed.

• As I’m writing this, my son, Casey, is in surgery in Houston to repair the lisfranc injury to his left foot. This kind of injury can end a career for a wide receiver, as there is the grave risk of speed-sapping flat feet.

When I’m nervous, I like to write jokes. Last night I told Casey he’d better take his rehab seriously, as a flat foot is his arch enemy.

• This morning, I’m thinking about volleyball jokes. Here are three I just made up:

Why did the outside and middle have oars? They were in the front row.

Did you hear that the setter started wearing glasses? She grew tired of the double contacts.

Why did the libero jump on the backs of her outsides and right side while the defensive specialist teased her? She wanted to be on pins and needles.

Note: I just went back through past articles and found a pithy observation I like even better, from 2007:

“Foot digs are allowed in club ball but not allowed during high school play. Shindigs, however, are always good.”

Do you have a favorite volleyball joke, whether original or otherwise? Share it by emailing me, jtawa@volleyballmag.com

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