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Volleyball World By: Tonya Cravener December 3, 1997

Welcome to my first web page. I chose to do it on the sport of volleyball. I chose the topic of volleyball for a few reasons. One reason, I played volleyball for six years in high school and I absolutly loved it. I also watch volleyball on TV when possible. This page will discuss two of my favorite professional players and also my experience with playing at the playoff level. The first section of writing is on the two players that I admire most in the sport and in the second section of writing I include my personal experience with the sport and what it was like for me to play in such intense games.

In closing, as anyone reads and looks at my page and you would like to make any comments about it or just chat about volleyball, e-mail me at XRVG@oak.grove.iup.edu, you can do this from my other page which you can link to at the bottom of this page. I would love to hear what anyone has to say. Finally, I hope that you enjoy my page all about volleyball.

My Two Favorite Volleyball Players

I want to introduce to you two of my favorite professional volleyball players, Karch Kiraly and Gabrielle Reece. Karch Kiraly plays in the AVP or Association of Volleyball Professionals. He is 6'2" and has been professional for eleven years. He was born in San Clemente, California and now resides in Capistrano Beach, California. He is a graduate from UCLA with a degree in pre-med. Karch Kiraly has his own personal trademark while he is on the sand. He wears a bright pink hat with Killer Loop printed in black. There are a few different reasons why I admire the way Karch plays volleyball. One reason I his determination toward winning. Determination is an important element in playing any sport and he shows a lot of it because he is always striving to win every match.

Gabrielle Reece known as Gabi to most is the woman professional player I admire most. She plays in the Bud light league for the FIVB, for women beach professional team. She has been in this league for five years. She plays in the Nike team and serves as the team captain. Gabi is 6'3" and weighs 160 pounds. There is a picture of her at the top of the next column in something that she is likely to be seen playing in. She is the team's middle blocker and currently resides in Marina del Rey, California. There is one major reason why I admire Gabrielle so much. I enjoy watching her leadership on the sand court. When one of her teammatesmakes a mistake, she is there to pick them right back up and cheer them on. Another reason I enjoy watching her play and admire her is her absolute awesome ability. It is literally amazing that a woman has the height and ability that she does. Overall, I feel there are several qualities that make admirable players like Karch Kiraly and Gabrielle Reece.

My Experience

I am going to write about my experience with the sport of volleyball. What it is like to play in the playoffs, the practices beforehand and afterwards, and finally the stress I felt throughout my three years playing varsity. I played six years for Elderton High School, moving up to varsity in the tenth grade for my last three years. Our team went to the playoffs each year I was in varsity. In the tenth grade, our team went to the third level of playoffs called WPIAL'S. In the eleventh grade, our team qualified for the state championships. Finally in my senior year with the bobcats, we made it to Regionals and just missed qualifing for the state championships. Now, I am going to describe my personal feelings with the sport of volleyball throughout the years.

It all began three years ago, I entered the tenth grade and began to play varsity volleyball. Our season, from when the games started, was from the beginning of September until state championships which were in the middle November. Our school, Elderton, was always known for an awesome volleyball program. We began our practices the first of July and practiced three days a week for three or so hours. Our coach, Mr. Dan Spencer, always put a lot of pressure on us. Our practices were very intense, there was never any goofing off or lauging during our practices for playoff matches. My sophomore year, I did not play very much during the playoffs, but I did practice with the team. I did get some experience playing during the regular season games. Playing in the playoffs is something that is a once in a lifetime experience and it is hard to explain in words but I will try my best.

In the tenth grade, I was very young and got upset easily. Mr. Spencer always expected the best. Our practices involved drill after drill and more and more playing with alumni from our school, who had won a state championship title a few years back. Mr. Spencer had set a goal for us and that was to win the state title. We worked very hard at practice ea each day until the time came. When playoffs finally arrived, we all became extremely nervous. Our nerves took over our bodies. We went to WPIAL'S and we played like we had just started. We looked like a junior high team. We were a young team and very unexperienced so our coach wasn't too upset. Although he wasn't, we were devestated. We also had set the goals of states. We just continued saying to ourselves,we still have two years girls. WPIAL'S were located at Robert Morris College in Pittsburg, Pa. We had about a hour and half bus ride ahead of us. Even though Mr. Spencer was not upset, he wanted a preety quiet ride home back to Elderton. Overall, this experience was a good one for the team as a whole to become more aware of the pressures at playoff games.

In the eleventh grade, I was more mature and knew a little more about what kind of person Mr. Spencer actually was. Our team had very intense practices all throughout the summer to prepare for the upcoming season in the fall. As a junior, I had a chance to play a lot more and I did, I was one of the two right-side hitters. Our long hours devoted to eating right, practicing like crazy, and keeping off probation because of good grades began to pay off for our team. As the season began, we won all of our section games. Until we met our rivals in the section, Shannock Valley. They had a very good team as well. We met them twice and lost by only a few points both times. Even though we lost to them, we advanced to WPIAL'S only to find out that we were meeting in the first round, Shannock Valley. Once we found that out our coach and us were out for vengeance. On our long trip back down to Pittsburg, it was pretty quiet. Everyone was reliving the grief we all felt when we lost down there last year, and thinking not again. As we got out of the bus we headed to our unloading spot in the huge gymnasium and began to prepare to play. Finally, the time came we were facing Shannock on the other side of the net. This was the greatest feeling anyone of us had, it was 10 to 0 and we were winning when Shannock's coach finally called a timeout. We were very excited and even our coach, who never shows any kind of emotion, was smiling. The game ended with an ace on a serve and we won 15 to ZERO. Our crowd joined our celebration and we then we faced with playing for the number one title in Western Pennsylvania against Farrel High School. We ended up loosing a very close match to Farrel and taking the runner up title. Although we didn't win the title, we did recieve a metal. Having a metal placed around your neck is an experience that is very hard to explain. It feels like you are number one and that everyone knows you are. We then we heading to Regionals in Sharon, Pa. We had practice everyday except Sunday preparing for them and it definitly paid off, because we had no problem moving on to play at States. After leaving Regionals with second place, we headed to Shippensburg, Pa. for the State Championships. Again, many practices and a pep rally from the cheerleaders to send us off. Our school got into that very much and it built up our confidence to succeed at Sharon. We did not do well at States, we came in forth out of eight of the best teams in the state. Even though we lost, our coach was proud with our success and we also were very happy about how far we had made it.

Before I knew it, I was in my senior year of Volleyball. It was unbelievable. We had only one goal and that was to win the state title. Our fans, community, coach, and entire school believed that we could and would. We entered the WPIAL'S and lost to Farrel in the opening round. This was a devestating loss and effected our emotions greatly. We were facing elimination if we didn't win our next game, which was the best of three. Our crowd was down, they couldn't believe where we stood. Mr. Spencer was a very angry man and that didn't help us out at all. He didn't try to boost our confidence and tell us to perk up. We all just wanted to give up and go home. Finally, the time came to play Geibal to see who went on and who stayed at home. We played our hearts out but were so emotionally drained that we ended up loosing the first game. It came down to us needing to win the next two to move on and thank God we did. We huddled together and just told ourselves that this was it, we had to win the next two or it was over - all over. We won the next two games with no problem and went to Sharon again for the Regional playoffs. We lost our first game but it was a struggle and we had played our hearts out. Although we had, our coach still gave us the silent treatment. Until, he found out who we had to play to find out if we or them went on, Shannock Valley our old section rival. As the game began our crowd was so loud that we couldn't hear ourselves think. It was incredible how loud a group of people could be. We played the best of three games and it went into all three long games. The first game was one by us, Elderton, and not very easily. The score was 15-12. The second game, our heads had swelled and were thinking about going to states and not that game. Shannock was out for revenge and got it. They won the second game a bit easier. The score was 15-9. It all came down to the third and final game to see who went to states and who went home. Both teams wanted a victory badly but only one could win. It was the most intense game I feel that I ever played in. The luck fell quickly to our side, we jumped out with a 8-0 lead. Then, the luck changed. Shannock fought back to tie the game at 14-14. In volleyball, a team must win by two points. Our team's dream was on the line and we were sure that so was there's. Finally, to end on a sad note they ralleyed to win the game 19-17. There crowd went wild and our's went to a very depressed state. All of our hopes were thrown out the window and we were headed back to Elderton with no title and a finished season for good. The feeling we all had after that loss was unreal. We all cried on our parents' shoulders and our friend's shoulders. It was a devastating moment for all of us, fans included.

In closing, I hope that I gave a good idea of what all of this is like and why I like the sport so much. Overall, our varsity team had a good three years and we all enjoyed playing with each other. One important thing in this sport is to have fun while playing. If you don't have fun while playing, then why play and what is there to enjoy about it. Playoffs in any sport is something that not very many teams get to experience but if they do it is a worth while one. It teaches determination, leadership, and committment to want to do something. Now I hope that you all understand why I enjoy the sport of vollyball so much.

My Cool List of Links - Click on Them Today

IUP women's volleyball: Check out IUP's players and the schedule.
AVP Volleyball Listings: Look at this years teams and their results.
Gabrielle Reece: Learn some more about Gabi.
All About Me: Learn some personal information about me on my other web page.
Karch Kiraly: Learn more about Karch.
Mi Pagina de Espanol: Check out my other web page all about Spanish.