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A Special Year for Mile High Volleyball Club

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Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019 9:00 am



This volleyball season has become a special one for the ten members of Mile High Volleyball Club’s 14A (14 and under) team. For the first time since 2009, this 14s team has made it into the Gold Division. On Saturday, March 30, at the Momentous Sports Center in Irvine, California, the MHVC 14A team won all three matches to place first for the third time in the 2018-19 season. With this tournament victory the 14A team will join those in the Gold Division, which comprises the top 64 teams out of the 287 in southern California. 

Spanning multiple decades, Mile High Volleyball Club has been a fixture of youth sports serving the local mountain areas. The club provides a fun and safe environment for young ladies to learn the fundamentals and skills needed to play the game. Over the years the club has consistently prepared athletes for the local high schools. These players arrive equipped with the foundation to be competitive at the high school level and beyond. In recent years, CIF MVPs such as Sonja Newcombe, Raena Borcuk and Emily Curtain all got their start with Mile High Volleyball Club. 

The current team is constructed of nine eighth graders: Faith-Marie Zee (MB), Summer Mills (S), Leah Lopez (OH), Alicia Castillo (DS), Lindsay Callaway (OH), Brooke Bartholomew (DS), Sonja Barnett (MB), Hailey Addleman (OH) and Elizabeth Aberg (S). The sole seventh grade player is Alannah Voce (MB). 

When trying to get a perspective on playing in the Gold Division as well as coaching these young ladies, there is no better source than Oksana Ortega. She is the current Rim High School Boys Varsity Volleyball Coach, a member of the 2009 MHVC 14s team and the coach that taught the girls the game of volleyball for their first several years together. 

“This group first started playing together in 2016. What sets them apart from others is their chemistry and developing coachability,” Ortega said. “No matter how talented people are, if they don’t work well together, they won’t accomplish much. These players enjoy working together and are able to achieve team goals. They have faced and overcome individual and team obstacles. They are establishing their own motivation to learn and improve along with trusting each other to do their jobs on the court.These are qualities that remind me of my team when I played for Mile High. We started young and had a strong foundation on and off the court. It’s a nice reminder that nice girls don’t finish last.”

Current MHVC 14s head coach Kyle Pattison shared his sentiment for the team. 

“What a great group of human beings,” Pattison said. “Their kindness and generosity is inspiring and they’re the examples coaching me on what it takes to be a person that practices gratitude and humanity. After every practice, every girl without fail thanks the assistant coach, the girls there to help with practice, and me for the efforts we make for them, it’s humbling every time.”

What separates these girls is their character, but their physical gifts are also a huge factor in reaching this achievement. 

“I have coached many talented athletes and this group is comparable to any. The difference has been their work ethic. After their most dedicated week of practice it was rewarding for the coaches, and more importantly the girls, to see their hard work pay off,” Pattison said. “Each girl made positive impacts on the matches and all victories were a complete team effort of great passing, setting, hitting, blocking, and especially serving.”

The MHVC 14s team has one more mandatory tournament remaining before taking part in the Southern California Championships during Memorial Day Weekend. With continued support from former and current Rim High School Volleyball players at practice, the girls will continue to improve and attempt to pursue excellence on and off the court. 

If your daughter is interested in joining the Mile High Volleyball Club tradition for the 2019-20 season, please visit www.mhvc.org or call MHVC Director Heather Holland at (909) 273-9974, for more information. Open tryouts (for teams age 12U to 18U) will be in October.

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