Cougar Volleyball Club wins premier division at JVA World Championships


The Cougar Volleyball Club’s 15s Ballers team won the premier division at the Junior Volleyball Association World Championships, which took place in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 8 to 10.

It earned them a paid entry fee to the AAU national tournament in June in Orlando, Florida.

The team was 9-1 in the three-day event that featured a 56-team division that consisted of club teams from around the country.

Team members are Trinity Lutheran’s Carson Bowling, Addison Darlage and Laura Roeder; Lutheran Central’s Sophie Wischmeier; Brownstown Central’s Jaydynn Yeadon; Seymour’s Greer Henry and Madison Schrader; and Columbus North’s Kennedy Horn. The team is coached by Dave Newland.

The locals went 3-0 on April 8, defeating teams from South Shores, South Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; and Chicago, Illinois. In pool play April 9, they handled West Bay, Wisconsin, and Birmingham, Alabama, before losing a close three-set match to Waukesha, Wisconsin.

On April 10, the playoff format against Milwaukee, Wisconsin, started off rough as the eight-player team was without one of its six position players, which was the lone eighth-grader on the team, Wischmeier, who was attending her confirmation.

To make matters worse, Darlage, the setter, was feeling ill and unable to play the first set. So for the first match in the gold bracket, the Ballers were left with six players, and Roeder, who is usually the libero, had to do the setting, and middle hitters Bowling and Horn had to play the back row.

After losing the first set 25-22, Darlage was able to come back, and the team rallied and won the match in three sets.

The quarterfinals versus Nashville, Tennessee, went much smoother with a solid win. Central Florida was a very physical opponent in the semifinals, but the Ballers won a close, hard-fought match.

The finals opponent was a familiar foe in KIVA from Louisville. The Cougar squad split with them for the first two sets and then fell behind 10-5 in the third set before mounting a thrilling comeback with tough serving from Yeadon to put them in the lead and then later to win 15-11 for the gold.

The leading hitters were Bowling (105 kills), Horn (68 kills), Henry (44 kills) and Wischmeier (38 kills in only six matches). Leading serve reception were Roeder (117), Henry (94) and Schrader (84). Darlage had the bulk of the team’s 280 assists. Roeder led the team with an outstanding defensive effort. The team served over 90% in-bounds with Yeadon and Darlage serving the toughest.

This was the second major tournament victory lately as the CVBC 15 Ballers went 9-0 two weeks ago to win the Midwest National Qualifier Select Division at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

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