The Senior volleyball season is something special but not simple. A quick gauntlet of competition that barely allows for enough time for an athlete to adapt from high school teammates to club, makes chemistry and competitiveness key components of every team. The 18s season can include quick highs and lows with tournaments coming at a fast and furious pace racing towards the end of April Nationals.
EXCEL 18 RED & WHITE, BOOSTED FOR NATIONALS!
For two consecutive years, the Excel 18s Division has benefitted from one of the greatest virtues of all in a season that rarely seems to reward anything of the kind - that virtue is patience. For two consecutive seasons, Excel 18 National Red has secured an Open bid which has directly correlated to rewarding 18 National White with a well-earned American bid due to a strong finish at Regionals.
For three players, this is almost like deja vu. Stephanie Young, setter, is in her second season with 18 Red and saw the late season double-bid action take place in Boston last year. While the team couldn't punch the ticket in Boston this year, their play throughout the season earned an At-Large Open bid, delivering EXCEL 18 White returners Caitlyn Henderson and Emma Halcomb their second 18 American bid in as many years. But be mindful of the fact that 18 White wouldn't be in this position without battling to a fifth place finish in Regionals finishing ahead of many top teams in the Region competing for a bid.
For the 2019 class of 18 Red, the return to Open level was well earned. The team has had close brushes with a bid and a great case for At-Large over the past three seasons but has found themselves finishing in the top 10 of the National Division each year - a testament to their consistency but also the growing determination to push just a bit further this season in their final opportunity.
Excel stalwarts Kayla Martin, Kinley Schnell, and Emma White joined returners Taneyah Brown, Caroline Swan, Avery McCrillis, and Audrey Poupard - a player moved up from last year's 17 White team- to take a big step forward alongside a cast of new firepower - Susan Blake, Alyssa Nayar, Noelle Piatas, Raven Rolle, and Stephanie Young. The chemistry of this team was built quickly and is obvious in their standard post-tournament victory pose. 18 Red was led well by Excel veteran Sean Smith and Stephanie Poole who joined Excel this past off-season.
EXCEL 18 White's bid rewards returners Bria Ahedo, Jillian Gallarda, Grace Glasscock, Lorraine Perez, Catilyn Henderson and Emma Halcomb who led the way with a cast of newcomers including Dayton Duffy, Hadley Harrison, Malley Morris, Hallie Thorn, Sydney Williams, and Victoria Wineteer.
Congratulations to Excel 18 Red and White and good luck competing at the Girls Junior National Championship here in Dallas, Texas!
Excel Senior Caitlyn Henderson has been a member of five Excel Volleyball Club High School teams that have qualified for Nationals at three different levels.
2015 - Excel 15 Rave, National Division
2016 - Excel 16 White, American Division
2017 - Excel 17 White, USA Division
2018 - Excel 18 White, American Division
2019 - Excel 18 White, American Division