Naples based volleyball team bumps, sets and spikes path to national title

Writer: Sylvie Sparks
Published: Updated:

The Florida Gulfside Volleyball Academy 13U Prime team worked all year to make it to the USAV Junior National Championship.

The tournament is the most prestigious junior volleyball event in the country as only teams who qualify can compete and the Naples based club won.

Players told WINK News in the moment after the winning point they could not believe it.

“It kind of didn’t hit me until after like, ‘Oh my goodness, we just won nationals,'” libero Priscilla Class said.

“At first it felt like we’re just playing to have fun, but when we won, I was like, ‘Well, this is more than fun,'” outside hitter Sophia Baron said. “It was winning a national championship.”

Head Coach Miguel Dapena said Sophia Baron, the team captain, called the win the night before.

She told me, ‘Coach, I think we’re gonna win it all.'” Dapena said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my captain is saying that. Of course we’re gonna win it all. We’re the best team.'”

When Dapena took over as head coach in November one of his main focuses was getting the girls to believe in themselves.

“We wouldn’t be where we are now without him,” Class said.

The girls went 68-11 on the season and brought home the first USAV Junior National Championship in the club’s ten year history.

So what Is their secret to success?

“Talking a lot to each other, talking on the court, conditioning and working out out of club practice and group practices, practicing on our own,” setter Isabella Collado said.

That championship feeling is still fresh and yet the girls are already working to be back-to-back champions next year.

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