Lindsey Vander Weide and Maddy Halteman will be joining their respective Division I volleyball programs next month, but before that, the duo, along with two other Turlock natives herded their U18 Rage Volleyball team into the USA Junior National Championships this past week in New Orleans.
Headed by Los Banos High head coach Greg Soliz, the team also included Turlock High's Emily Romo and Vander Weide and Halteman's high school teammate at Pitman Ashleigh Phelps.
Out of 36 teams competing in the Open division, what many consider to be the best, the local U18 had a shaky start and things just didn't go their way especially starting off 1-2 in Monday's first day of play at Morial Convention Center .
After a second falling in the next pool of play the team notched a 2-1 record on Wednesday before being blanketed on Thursday in the finale to end in 27th place.
“The girls played hard, but we just couldn’t get in a rhythm and couldn’t get things going,” said Soliz.
“There were just minor things that had us off or really cost us. And in reality, we placed 27th in the nation for U18, that's pretty good.”
The qualification process began back in mid April for the U18 Rage team as they finished in fourth place in Nevada-Reno at the Far Western qualifiers. Only the top five moved on.
Once the tournament came around, however, the team, with many already high school graduates, found it tough to schedule practices in which could work for everyone for multiple reasons.
Mistakes daunted the team, but they did notch a win on Monday against the Iowa Attack in three games followed by a winless 0-2 record in day two.
With the help of Vander Weide, Romo, Phelps, and Halteman's, the Turlock gang did a great job of creating opportunities when they could and it led to a 2-1 record on Wednesday.
“The group of Turlock girls are just great, I know they have been playing for a long time but their competitiveness takes them a long ways,” Soliz said of the Turlock four.
In Thursday's final day, Soliz's team lost to Invasion in straight sets and the gang was sent home early.