DALLAS, Tex. — Despite injuries and assorted setbacks, the Gold Cal Jrs. 18-1 Black volleyball team capped a successful club season with its second place finish for the silver medal at the recently completed USAV Junior National Championships in Dallas, Texas.
Gold Cal Black posted 10 straight wins to reach the finals against eventual winner AJV 18 Mizuno.
The team suited up five local players: current Oak Ridge Trojans Maddie DeGeorge (defensive specialist) and Emily DeMure (opposite hitter); former Trojan Maddie Chambliss (libero); and former El Dorado Cougars Courtney Macklin (middle) and Lena Gavin (outside hitter).
Former Oak Ridge girls varsity volleyball and current boys coach Melanie DeMure served as Club Director.
Other team members and their prep affiliations are: Ashlyn Germoles (Bella Vista), Zaire Dartis (Christian Brothers), Dallas Williams (Vista del Lago), Michelle Hernandez (Bella Vista), Sarah Reinhardt (Bella Vista), Audrey Lohmeyer (Bella Vista), Rachael Byerly (Bradshaw Christian) and Demi Muses (Casa Roble).
In Dallas, Gold Cal won all five of its first-round matches, surviving a scare against Skyline 18 REB Black which won the first set before Gold Cal rallied for the 23-25, 25-21, 16-14 overtime victory.
The team overcame two other three-set matches — both after dropping the opening game and both in the gold bracket. Previously, Gold Cal won two second-round matches — pushed in its match with Impact, a 27-25, 25-21 win.
In its ninth match, first in the gold bracket, Gold Cal lost the opening set 18-25 before coming back 25-17, 15-8. Against Coast 18 in the semifinals on court 15, Gold Cal suffered a 22-25 setback but regrouped for 25-17, 15-13 wins to meet AJV 18 Mizuno in the finals, a 13-25, 25-25 defeat.
“I’m very proud of the team and coaching duo of Brandon Walter and Lauren Bajtos for their perseverance, tenacity and team spirit,” Melanie said. “Additionally, I’m very thankful to be surrounded by an incredible coaching staff from all levels who believe in Gold Cal and care deeply about the sport and the kids.”
Macklin, Musses and Hernandez were All Tournament selections. Both Macklin and Gavin have committed to play for Concordia of Irvine University.
Highlights of Black’s season that began early January were a Gold Club Division finish at the Las Vegas Classic; second at the SCVA Qualifier in Las Vegas, first at the Pacific Northwest Qualifier in Spokane, and first at the Junior Far Westerns American Qualifier in Reno.