|
|
|
Examiner
  • Ready for an Invasion

  • After a second-place finish at last year’s USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championship, the Kansas City Invasion 15-and-under volleyball team has one thing in mind this year: Reno 911.

    • email print
  • After a second-place finish at last year’s USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championship, the Kansas City Invasion 15-and-under volleyball team has one thing in mind this year: Reno 911.
    That’s nine girls with one goal – winning a national championship – in Reno, Nevada, June 26-29. The slogan was printed on the front of the Invasion’s hot-off-the-presses T-shirts that some members were sporting after practice Wednesday.
    “That’s nine girls, one goal: First place,” Invasion 15 Black head coach Mark Ethridge said after practice in preparation for the Invasion’s seven-team invitational tournament Saturday at Raytown South.
    The event will include seven of the best teams in the Midwest and all seven are qualified for the open division at the 2010 national championships in Reno. The open division is the highest classification offered in USA junior volleyball.  
    “This team has had a lot of success over the years and they’ve gotten close (to a national title),” Ethridge continued. “They really do have a legitimate chance of winning a national championship.”
    The Invasion finished as national runner-up at last year’s national tournament in Miami, a fact not lost on team co-captain Holly Tarvin, a middle hitter from Blue Springs.
    The team also includes Blue Springs High School’s Kourtney Thompson and Brianna Starr, Blue Springs South’s Alexa Armendariz and Lee’s Summit North’s Morgan Beal and Alexa Ethridge, the coach’s daughter and the team’s other captain.
     “It was bittersweet, I guess, getting second, but getting there was awesome,” Tarvin said. “This year, we’re just hoping to get first.”
    Alexa Ethridge described the team’s chances of bringing home a title as “really, really good.” They qualified for nationals by winning a qualifying tournament in Denver the first weekend in March.
    “The top four teams are practically the same,” Alexa Ethridge said of the competition, echoing the thoughts of the head coach, who said his team has the confidence and ability to compete with some of the best 15-under teams in the country. “Whoever brings it that day, I guess. In each position we have like the best in the whole country, so we’re definitely up there in talent level.
    “We’re not as tall as the other teams, and we’re not as athletic as the other teams, but between all of us, we are definitely good.”
    Mark Ethridge spent the better part of the last half-hour of Wednesday’s two-hour practice talking with his team about their statistics and performance from previous tournaments. He said his girls are so competitive that they want to know how they stack up against each other, as well as other teams.
     “These girls are very competitive,” Mark Ethridge said. “They enjoy hearing their stats relative to other girls on the team because they compete within the team.
    Page 2 of 2 - “But, they are also competitive just among themselves personally. They know what kind of stats they have when they’re doing well, so they know what number they want to beat.
    “These are highly competitive girls. Girls aren’t often competitive as guys, but when you get a group of girls together that are this competitive, you get success. And that’s not always the case with girls.”
    After this weekend’s final tune-up before the national tournament, the Invasion hope to set the tone for bringing back a national championship trophy this time around.
    “The mindset these girls have – they truly enjoy and look forward to playing the best teams in the country,” Mark Ethridge said. “They are not intimidated and they really like playing the best teams in the country.”

        calendar