Alpharetta’s A5 Volleyball Club wins historic national title sweep
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (CBS46) - It was a historic sweep of championship titles for Alpharetta’s A5-Volleyball Club. The Southeast’s number one volleyball club just won a total of 8 gold medals and 6 Most Valuable Player nods – and the season is not over.
In the tournament’s final competition, A5′s 16-Stephen earned the 16 Liberty National Title. Coach Stephen Sansing says his team has a lot of heart. “When adversity hit, we were ready. They played awesome and I am so proud of them.”
16-year-old Gabi Fullwood as named tournament MVP.
“I’m so proud to be a part of this team. Our coaches and all players guided us through being seeded 24th out of 24 teams to reaching 3rd seed by always fighting back, through injuries, being behind at times and facing some really good competition. We always believed we had a really good chance to win so we never gave up. Even after losing the first set in the championship game, we knew we had a chance. We knew if we played together like we’ve been coached, we could do it. I owe being named MVP to my coaches and teammates for helping me so much along our journey. We are NATIONAL CHAMPIONS and it feels GREAT,” Fullwood said.
A5 12-year-old’s head coach, Jing Hou, has battled for a USA Volleyball national title three times over the past nine years, only to come in second place. This weekend in Indianapolis, Hou finally sealed his championship win. “I really enjoyed coaching this group of athletes and the chemistry they had while playing together is something special. All of the players are so well balanced which led us to have great matches. They stepped it up after coming in second at AAUs and played with determination the week of USAV Nationals.”
A5 players experienced similar success in Orlando where junior volleyball has its other national championship tournament: the AAU’s. AAU’s national tournament is billed as the world’s largest volleyball championship tournament and A5 stacked up historic club wins, including 5 gold medals and 4 M.V.P’s.
Here’s the breakdown starting with 15-year-old MVP Maya Warrier and her 15-year-old team. 15-Erika earned the gold in the Spirit division. Warrier called the experience amazing!
“It was such an amazing experience to join A5. The level of play every day in the gym makes us better. Our team pulled together at the right time and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
15′s head coach Erika Ford could not be happier. “These girls have worked so hard this season and I am so proud of them. It’s one thing to go out and win the entire thing, but to do it without dropping a set is just really impressive.”
A5′s 16 year old’s won gold in “open,” the toughest division, with teammate Hannah Benjamin, who was named Most Valuable Player. “I am so proud of my team because everyone knew their job and executed it. We had so much fight and energy that we knew no one could beat us,” said Benjamin.
Head coach Gabe Aramian said expectations for AAU’s were high but tempered, “given a string of injuries that has plagued the team since day one. Much like the season, however, we persevered with the combination of strong team leadership and individual prowess, we overcame adversity and took Orlando by storm.”
In AAU’s 16-premier division, A5′s Emma Duffield was named most valuable player and her team 16-Steve brought home the natty. “Winning a national championship was never something I thought would be possible for me. I am so excited to be a part of this team and share the win with all of these amazing people that I am blessed to call my teammates. The way we pulled together for one common goal made me feel like we could do anything, and I wouldn’t have wanted to win with anyone else,” exclaimed Duffield.
16-Steve’s head coach, Steve Wilcosky, who is in his first year coaching at A5, says the standard of “elite” that A5 instills in its athletes is contagious and makes the training environment uniquely special. “I am just so proud of their effort and dedication to their craft. Winning AAU’s was such a special moment because we were firing on all cylinders. We did the little things right over and over which ultimately led to the big prize of being a National Champion.”
A5′s Operations Manager, Scott Cioffari, says this hands down was A5′s best season in its 20-plus history at AAU’s. “10 Medals at AAU Nationals. So far two medals at USAV Nationals and counting because the tournament is not over yet. We have 23 All-Americans at AAU. Our overall record 216-43.”
This past Thursday, 15-Patrick earned national champs in the “liberty” division. Hitter Durham Harden was named most valuable player.
“I am blessed to be a part of the A5 family and so grateful to be able to bring home a national championship! I’m proud of how hard my team fought and came together in the post-season. Can’t wait to get back into the gym,” said Duri Harden, #15.
A5′s 11-year-old and 13-year-old teams won national titles in AAU’s toughest division last week. Marrisa Jones with 13-Karen was named MVP. 15-Victor snagged a bronze medal in the “USA” division. 16 Stephan was runner-up in the 16 “Club” division. 17 Angel placed third place in the 17 “Club” division.
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