The U13 Rage Volleyball squad was led by two soon-to-be Hilmar High Yellowjackets, as they sent their youngest team of five to the USA Junior National American Championships which took place at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center this past weekend and concluded on Monday.
Hilmar representatives Kayley Souza and Olivia Peterson helped their team make a strong finish in the tournament.
Head coach Garren Allala, who also heads the U17 team, was in New Orleans earlier than expected to front the youngest team from Rage in the National spotlight after qualifying at the Far Western Junior Qualifiers in Nevada-Reno back in April for the first time.
“It was the first year qualifying and second year in club volleyball and they qualified, they improved a ton,” said Allala.
The U13 Rage eventually finished in the top 11 out of 40 teams in the bracket.
“I took a younger team to help develop the younger ones and they end up winning the tourney to qualify and they did really well, great experience overall,” Allala said after the team ended the tourney with a 6-4 overall record.
In order to place in the top 11, the Rage placed top three in the first pool of six. They then won the pool of three which catapulted the team into the crossover match and a chance to be in the final eight but the Rage fell to San Gabriel.
The loss resulted in a consolation bracket, and the Rage were able to bounce back with some proud moments on Monday morning as the team beat the Arizona Sky in straight sets followed by a loss to the Texas Mad Frogs.
Peterson and Modesto native Olivia Keller were huge for the Rage U13 as they played significant roles for the team he added.
“They were huge for us during the tournament. Peterson was a great blocker and great on offense and Keller played as a top offensive attacker as well,” Allala said of the two.
The Rage Volleyball Club will run a clinic on July 12, for more information you can visit ragevball.com or call Club Director Dave Collins at 602-9250.