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Volleyblog - It's not the Trickle

March 23, 2010 - Brian Ferry

That's right, it's not the Trickle. The Volleyblog is my attempt to bring volleyball to the forefront of the community. All seven of you. Depending on my workload, attitude, and general health, I may (emphasis on may) continue to blog about my volleyball experiences on a weekly basis. It'll probably become more of a weakly basis as my opportunities and interest in writing about them dry up.

If you don't care about volleyball, give this blog a try anyway. After that, you can knock it because you will have tried it.

Bringing this up to speed...

My first men's tournament of the season was a disappointment. We played well early in the day, then bombed the rest of the tournament in the Akron area. I believe we started 4-0, then went 0-4 to knock ourselves out of the playoffs. I felt especially old and tired after that one. Not one of my best efforts.

Three weekends ago: played in a multi-level tournament in Mentor (a little east of Cleveland). The tournament was originally scheduled to be an A tournament. A shortage of A teams entering led to the opening of the tournament to AA (double A) and BB (double B) teams. In the hierarchy of USA Volleyball, Open is the highest (lots of travel, few teams, names that volleyball folks nationwide recognize), AA is the highest level in regional competition, A next, BB, then B. Back in its heyday, USA Volleyball included C and D levels. That's no longer the case, at least to my knowledge in the regions I've played in (Keystone, Ohio Valley, Chesapeake). There were three A teams, two AA, and one BB in this tournament. Our team was particularly strong that day. We dropped our first two to one of the AA teams, one to the other, and didn't lose again until the playoffs. We opted to participate in the A playoffs because doing well in AA wouldn't count toward our standing in A. We're not a AA team. I think of former Penn State and Ohio State varsity players when I think of real AA teams. We lost our first semifinal game, then went on to sweep the rest, winning the A bracket of the tournament.

Two weeks ago: Played at Buffalo Niagara Court Center in an open men's tournament (open in terms of not USAV sanctioned). Very nice facility. The lighting is outstanding (the lights shine on the ceiling, eliminating that straight-down-into-your-eyes effect). There were some heavy hitters there. Very strong competition. I thought our team was pretty stacked. We came in third in our pool of five, losing to some very good teams that have obviously played together many times before. (By comparison, I'd played with three of the guys on my team many times, through not so much all four of us on the same team. The other two were first-time teammates for me. They did very well, but there were times I didn't connect with them well and some more time playing together probably would have cleared much of that up.) We were close every game, even taking leads into the 20s (games to 25) several times. Not finishing was our downfall. We couldn't put anyone away. In the quarterfinals (they took the top three teams out of each pool), we played a strong team, one we had expected to win the other pool. Once again we were winning late (this time one game to 30) and couldn't finish. That team lost in the semis to the top seed from our pool and both teams in our pool  that beat us played in the finals.

Last weekend: Men's fours at Calvary Chapel. I'd never played at CC. It wasn't a bad facility. We didn't get as many teams as we would have liked for the men's side (3), so we broke up and played King of the Court. Draw straws or whatever to determine who plays on which side, then play for an amount of time. Total points are recorded each round for each player. The player with the highest point total at the end wins. It's a fun format when you have a bunch of guys that don't care if they play on a particular team. It's much easier to find 30 people who want to play than five teams. The problem with the format is that specialized positions (setters and middle hitters) are always underrepresented. That's not such a problem for me, but on Saturday, some of the guys were consistently put in places that were not their particular strengths. The women's side went very well, with five teams that seemed well-matched. The Pitt-Bradford (at least some of them were current students) team prevailed in three games against Team Olympia Sports (they had matching shirts) whose players play on various teams in the Warren YMCA League. Youngsville and Warren high schools had teams, and there was a mix of JAVA club players and Falconer High players on the fifth. It was nice to see the level of local involvement. Lots of players who don't have much tournament experience stepped up and performed well. Warren County did not give a good showing at the top of the King of the Court results. The top two finishers were from Chautauqua County, and third went to McKean, before Warren got fourth and fifth.


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