Lansing players ready for nationals
During her two previous trips to the USA Junior Olympic Girls' Volleyball Championships, Casey Welch's teams came home empty-handed.
Welch said she expected the third time to be the charm, however. She and fellow Lansing High senior-to-be Dayna Norwood head Saturday to Salt Lake City with their 17 KC Jazz teammates for another shot at the national tournament.
"I honestly think that with this team we can get in the top 10, if not better," said Welch, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter. "With this team we get just get along better than our previous teams. We all click. We work well and we talk well together."
The tournament, which will be at the Salt Palace, will include about 80 teams. College coaches also are expected to be on hand as the volleyball recruiting period gets under way, Welch said.
Welch said that a strong showing by the Jazz would help both her and Norwood's chances of being recruited by bigger schools. She said college coaches tended to look at players who were members of successful programs.
"I think it says a lot about the player just being able to be on the team that can finish that well at nationals," she said. "You just know that they're a good team player and hard worker and that they're not just in it for themselves."
The Jazz qualified for nationals in mid-April when it won the regional championship tournament at Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, Mo. After that the squad took a short break. Since then, Welch said her team had been focusing on honing its basic skills and conditioning to get ready for nationals.
"Our practices have been really hard and really worth it," Welch said. "Right now we're working on perfecting all of our basics and getting everything ready. I think we've got it together really good now."