Half a dozen young Turlockers helped make volleyball history this season as part of the first undefeated squad in Rage Volleyball history. Posting a 45-0 record in Northern California’s Power League—the toughest league in the state—Jadyn Tubbs, Whitney Barnes, Julia Handy, Audrey Dykzuel, Kaylin Randhawa, and Kennedy Folly helped their team dominate the 14-1 division, be ranked number one in Northern California, and earn a spot in the upcoming USAV Junior National Tournament in Minneapolis, Minn.
“I’ve been very fortunate. A good group of kids came together to create a top team in Northern California,” head coach Gabe Leal said. “I knew we’d be good, I just didn’t know we’d be able to do as well as we did in league. I didn’t expect us to dominate the competition like we did.”
The 14-1 Rage, based out of Ripon, got the ball rolling on their undefeated season in January at the Cal Kickoff, a 16 and under tournament that boasted 53 of the state’s best travel volleyball teams. After finishing 7-1 in the tournament, the Rage went 9-0 at the Regional Qualifier Tournament before proceeding to take down the vaunted Vision Volleyball Club of San Jose in two sets. For Leal, it was an eye opener of things to come.
“When we beat them in two I said, ‘hey, we might be the top team in Northern California,'” Leal said.
To date, Rage is 5-0 against Vision in league competition.
“To be able to beat them is a tribute to the kids. We were able to put together a strong team and hold our own,” Leal said.
But as Leal readily admits, his squad’s prowess on the court was developed well before the start of this season as a majority of the girls had established chemistry at age nine and ten.
“First and foremost, I have to give a ton of credit to Fatima Handy who actually formed this team, at least some of the pieces, back in 2010, 2011. Most of those kids came over to Rage,” Leal said.
The Rage will now look to tap into that established chemistry and put a bow on their perfect season with a top three finish in the upcoming national championships. As one of only two California teams to qualify—the other being Vision—Leal expects his girls to contend with the best the nation has to offer.
“It’s the main tournament of the year,” Leal said. “To be one of the top three teams would be a huge accomplishment.”
The USAV Junior Nationals will be held June 24-27.
While this tournament will be held half way across the country, locals will soon be able to see these girls in action as they will be entering high school in the fall with Barnes and Randhawa set to join Pitman High and Tubbs, Handy, Dykzuel, and Folly set to join Turlock High.
“Both programs will definitely be getting some kids who will come in and be impact players,” Leal said.