Author: Alex Lepp
In 2017, Excel Volleyball Club moved into its very own facility - Courtside Sports Center in Carrollton, Texas - and took an important step towards positioning itself as a premier volleyball club in the ultra-competitive North Texas Region. The eight court facility provided flexibility for practice times, helped provide plentiful opportunities for clinics and camps, and established a home for all major Excel events such as the year end banquet, signing day, and tournaments.
The exclusive and inviting facility including conference rooms and a fitness area certainly provides the home base needed for a top level girls program, but it also provided more opportunity to the club to take on new challenges. After years of inconsistent investment and commitment from various area clubs, Excel took a stand for Boy's Volleyball. In the club's inaugural season with the Boy's program, it offered six teams from 12s to 18s.
Excel's Boys Program, led by Coaching Director Alex Lepp, stepped into its second season in 2019 with six teams once again. Key coaches and contributors Jim Stewart, Sydney Yogi, John Bundren, and Stephanie Podewils also enter their second year with the program and provide enthusiasm and a range of expertise to the developing players. In 2018, the club qualified one team for Nationals with a 16 Open bid behind Coach Yogi. Fast forward a year and all three high school boys teams closed the Boys Qualifier season with a bid.
In Chicago for the Winter Volleyball Championships, the 16s Boys team finished 3rd overall and with a USA level bid. The team was the first Excel team of the season to qualify for Nationals and did so in their first qualifier.
In Houston, the 15s Boys stepped up to the plate with an upset in the Open Finals to win the Southwest Boys Qualifier over HVA providing the club with its second bid. The team also finished in bid position in St. Louis to double qualify!
Finally, in St. Louis, the final qualifier of the season for Excel Boys, the team that secured the lone bid in 2018 secured a repeat Open performance with a 5th place finish, solidly in bid position.
With bids secured in three different cities, and a stronger presence in National Qualifiers this season, Excel Volleyball Club made a splash on the boys scene. With Nationals in Dallas this season, the club will look to close out a successful season by making a splash on the most competitive stage.
In addition to a regular training schedule and increasingly competitive tournament schedule, the club has also provided additional training opportunities with clinics hosted by Olympian Erik Shoji as well as Scott Lucas, a veteran Boys Club and Collegiate Volleyball Coach in Arizona. The club continues to pursue additional ways to evolve the program and optimize the training for its players.
In 2019, North Texas Region also took a stand for the Boy's game by hiring Asa Freeman to head boys programming. An early initiative from Freeman was to introduce a North Texas High Performance program. This initiative will help entrench support and commitment to the game in the DFW area and allow the players to strive to compete at the highest level.
With 2019 becoming a hallmark season for Boys Volleyball at Excel and in North Texas, the club stays focused on providing a high level of training and experience to its players and families headed into its third season in 2020.