Thirty-two of the nation’s best girls volleyball teams met June 24 – July 3, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to compete for the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships.
Local players were on teams that won third, second and top in the nation. San Diego’s Coast 18 Mizuno Ozhan (Southern California Region) won the 18 Open National Championship game over Wave 18 Brent (Southern California Region). Temecula 18 Elite Dana took third in the 18 USA Division.
Coast had won nine straight matches, compiling an 18-4 record, before defeating the Wave 2-1 for the title. The Wave took the first set 25-15; the Coast then won the second set 25-9 and the final 15-10.
The Coast’s Kendra Dahlke, a 6′-1″ Outside Hitter from Fallbrook High School, was named Tournament MVP. As a high school player, Dahlke had 857 kills, 68 aces, and 91 blocks in three years; she was All-League and All-State. Dahlke has committed to University of Arizona Wildcats.
Another local player on the Coast — Amanda Pederson-Henry, a 6′ middle blocker and incoming senior at Vista Murrieta — was named to the 18 Open All-Tournament Team. At Vista Murrieta she was a three-time 1st Team All-Southwestern League selection. She also earned a roster spot on the USA Volleyball US Girls Select A2. She has committed to be a Villanova Wildcat in 2015. “This was the last time we were all going to be playing together,” said Pederson-Henry, “and that made us want a national title even more.” Dahlke, Faith Smith, and Henry will be seniors this year.
The Wave 18-1, ranked 17th going into the tournament, beat the previously #1 and #2-ranked teams, and finished second in the nation They won 9 straight matches, and compiled an 18-3 record going into the highly-touted championship game.
The Wave starting six had six Division 1 players: two from Stanford, and one each from UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and Duke. The team featured one local player. Duke-bound Cadie Bates, from Great Oak, was also a three-time All-Southwestern League selection, and was the 2013 Southwestern League MVP, leading her team to CIF -1AA Division semifinals. Bates recorded 234 kills on 486 hits (.354%) with 166 digs this year.
In the USA Division, Temecula 18 Elite Dana went undefeated until the final day; they took third place in the nation. This Viper 18-1 team consisted of Chaparral’s Taylor Barnson (Utah State), Vista Murrieta’s Kasey Calderon (Corban University in Oregon) and Kristin Parker (CSU San Marcos), Great Oak’s Jessica Gaffney (University of San Francisco), Vista Calvary Christian’s Morgan Kissick (Concordia Irvine), Murrieta Valley’s Kelli Mattson (University of Toledo in Ohio) and Korie Milan (University of Great Falls in Montana), and Hemet’s Tristan Self and Baylee Christian. Gaffney and Self were team MVP’s and both were named to the All-Tournament team.
Bates, Gaffney, and Pederson-Henry played together on the Viper Volleyball 15-Elites that qualified for Junior Nationals in 2011, the first Viper team to earn an Open bid to Junior Nationals. They finished second in the nation.
Congratulations to all our Valley volleyball stars!