Whether it’s your first trip to a national tournament or sixth, winning it all still feels the same.
That seems to be true for the three Glen Rose girls who helped lead their summer club team, Texas Advantage Volleyball 17 Blue, to a USA Volleyball Association’s national championship earlier this week.
The three — Logan Smith, Libby Hinton and Mallory Rogers — helped lead their 12-player Carrollton-based club team to the title in the 17-year-old division. They won all 11 of their matches including pool play. The TAV 17 Blue squad won six matches to advance out of pool play. The teams were then seeded in another pool and had to finish among the top two in that pool, then played a challenge match to reach the gold bracket.
In the championship match at mid-day on Tuesday, TAV 17 Blue defeated a team from southern California, LAVA West 17 Adidas, 25-21, 21-15, 15-12. The four-day tournament, played in the Detroit Convention Center, began on June 30.
Hinton and Smith were named to the all-tournament team for the 36-team bracket for their age group.
“It was just overwhelming how happy I was,” said Smith, who was on a USA Volleyball Association national open championship team in the 14-year-old division in 2015. “The overall feeling of accomplishment is indescribable. It’s a blessing to have won again. Even now, it hasn’t sunk in.”
Last year, Hinton played on a club team along with Smith and another GRHS player, Madison Mooney, that took third place in the 16-year-old division at the national tournament in Minneapolis.
“It was so exciting, knowing all the work we put in,” Hinton said. “The hard workouts and long nights just made it all worth it. It still doesn’t feel real. I’m so excited for my teammates, knowing we accomplished our goal.”
Rogers said, “We’ve won qualifiers before, but never anything this big. The hard work paid off. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Rogers said that in the third set, they trailed the California team 10-7 but rallied to tie it at 10. The score moved to 10-10 and 11-11 before the TAV 17 Blue pulled away to capture the title.
“They were really good,” Hinton said. “It was just an exciting game to play. They were definitely one of the best teams we played.”
The players on the championship teams received gold medals. They also have national championship rings on order.
The TAV 17 Blue team, coached by Whitney Sample, qualified for the national tournament by going undefeated in the Lone Star Classic National Qualifier held in April in Dallas.
Hinton, Smith and Rogers all will be seniors this fall at Glen Rose High School. The Lady Tigers are coached by Sandy Langford, whose teams recorded an overall mark of 88-6 the past two seasons. That includes a 48-2 mark in 2017 when the Lady Tigers were ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A and made it to the state tournament before being eliminated by Argyle in the semifinals.