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July 17, 2013

First AAU volleyball team from Michigan to win Open Division national title

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

For the first time in the Amateur Athletic Union, a volleyball team from Michigan won the Open Division national championship.

The Legacy Volleyball Club 16-1 team (based in Rochester Hills) won the title June 22-25 in Orlando, Fla.

“I thought there were probably five teams that could win it,” coach Jen Cottrill said. “Depending on if we showed up to play in the potential matchups, I though we could win, but just because it’s such a big tournament, it’s a huge accomplishment. You always think you can win, but to actually do it is a whole different ball game.”

The U-16 team bested 89 other competitors in the top division of its age class. A total of 270 teams competed when considering the lower divisions.

“It’s still kind of surreal. … We would go watch other Open Division finals and I always was so impressed at the high level of volleyball,” Cottrill said. “We dedicated a lot of time trying to build up this club. It’s a nice reward and accomplishment. It was a lot of fun to see the girls achieve this and seeing their faces after they won.”

Cottrill added that, in the earlier matches of the tournament, she was able to play everyone to make sure they were all rested for the stretch run of the bracket. The coach also noted that the team’s chemistry was vital to its success.

“This team was very special in that department. You can never predict that; they can look good on paper, but you never know,” she said. “I think it was just all the individuals were really mature and know what it takes to be a team.”

The U-15 team also had a strong showing at the national championship, finishing ninth out of 63 teams in its open division.

“We did great,” coach Bryan Lindstrom said. “We actually came in as one of the lower seeded teams. We were put in the bottom third and then put it together.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.