The Rockwood Thunder Elite Women’s Under-15 (U15) Volleyball Team recently won the 2022 U.S. National Junior Women’s Volleyball Championship.
The team earned a 17-25, 25-21, 15-8 victory over FC Elite 15 Navy, of Fox Cities, Wisconsin, at the tournament held in Indianapolis.
The girls were thrilled to win the championship, coach Chris Reid said.
“An absolute joy. When you work as a team for eight months, focus on your best volleyball of the season the last four days of June at the Nationals, and then achieve that goal, the joy and love for your teammates are amazing,” Reyd said.
There were 11 girls in the team. All will be sophomores this fall at their high schools: Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette, Francis Howell, St. Dominic, Incarnate Word Academy, Timberland, Pattonville and Parkway West.
Reid has been a volleyball club head coach since 2005. Coming into the tournament, he believed his daughters could be successful.
“We thought if we played our best volleyball, we could get to the podium,” Reid said. “We improved steadily over the last three months of the season and had a lot of confidence heading into the national championships.”
In the tournament, Rockwood Thunder Elite went 10-1. The record is remarkable, Reid said.
“Any time you win more than you lose in a domestic tournament, you feel reasonably good, so going 10-1 is very impressive,” he said. “The defeat came on the first day of the competition and the girls have won their nine consecutive matches.
“We’ve talked all season about maintaining an attacking mindset and applying that attacking mindset to every skill. And the players absolutely applied that in the third set. Our servers were tough and our passers attacked the serves of FC Elite with decisive feet and calm platforms.We were very consistent in the third set and luckily were able to come out with the win.
“The girls were calm and confident throughout the game. They just kept their focus on their work and were extremely consistent.”
Reagan Nelson, who travels to Pattonville, was named tournament MVP.
“Reagan is an exceptionally consistent, high-scoring forward who hits with range and blends in a very effective off-speed shot with her high-octane explosions,” Reid said. “Reagan nails every rotation as well and handled the pressure with a very stable platform.”
Reid said other girls like outside hitter Jenna Cubbage of Eureka; setter Brytn Lyon of St. Dominic; smuggler Maddy Bach, of Parkway West; and right hitter Abby Chall of Timberland also played well.
“Jenna hit a heavy ball all week,” Reid said. “It was her first year playing outside, as she had been in the middle until this season. She is an incredibly fast learner and loves to compete. Brytn’s strength and length was a big factor for us to be able to staying in the system with less than perfect passes His ability to get balls to Reagan and Jenna at the left pin rather than settling for a back ball led to a lot of points for us.
“Maddy and Abby have developed a special connection this season and have certainly taken it to Nationals, teaming up for big kills.”