Junior volleyball team going for the gold
Second place is becoming too much of a routine for the Aspen Junior Club’s 14-and-under volleyball team.
In each of the past two regional tournaments in Las Vegas and the 500-plus team Crossroads Tournament in Colorado Springs, the junior girls have finished an impressive second in their respective divisions.
This weekend, however, the young Aspen netters are going for the gold.
Aspen will travel to Colorado Springs for the Rocky Mountain Region (RMR) United States Amateur Volleyball Association’s club volleyball Regional Tournament.
The season-ending tournament will be at Palmer High School beginning Saturday with the finals on Sunday.
“We’ve had a lot of seconds this year,” Aspen junior coach Leon Fell said.
Fell, who is also the founder, organizer and director of Aspen Club Volleyball added that “We’re tired of second place – we’re going for glory now.”
“We are going down to Regionals with one goal and one goal only,” he said, “to win Regionals.
“We’ve got the talent to do it,” he continued, “and we’ve got a lot young talent on the team.”
Aspen will be facing eight teams from the RMR in their division, primarily teams from the Eastern Slope. But the junior girls have been facing top competition all season long.
In the Las Vegas Tournament, Aspen took the Utah Juniors – Utah’s top ranked junior team – to three games before dropping the match and did the same to Minnesota’s top junior team in the Crossroads Tournament.
So facing some of Colorado’s top teams, Fell and his team come in a wealth of experience against powerhouse clubs from all over the country.
“We may not have the cream of the crop of players that the other teams may have,” he said, “But these girls are hard workers and have played extremely well all season long.
“They have been proving all year long that they belong here,” he continued. “This is a team that you might not want to play twice.”
Aspen High School freshman Lacee Patterson, whom Fell considers as “one of the best setters in the entire state,” leads the all-star lineup for Aspen.
Sophomore Ali Crum and juniors Allison Ortmann, Elizabeth Oakes and Whitney Shaw also play prominent roles for the team.
‘We may be a small team from Aspen,” Fell said. “But we are a damn good small team from Aspen.”
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