Salt Lake City • Two friendly foes — two of the best club volleyball teams in the country — went toe to toe from set to set at the Salt Palace on Sunday.
As Coast Volleyball Club’s Brittany Abercrombie blocked Texas Advantage Volleyball’s final attempt in the fifth and deciding set, CVC won this time around, but those two teams will see each other again.
"It was definitely a battle," Abercrombie said, after CVC prevailed 13-25, 25-17, 18-25, 25-21, 15-13 in the 18 Open class at the Triple Crown National Volleyball Championships. "I could tell that both teams wanted it and we just played our hardest. I think it was more of a ‘serve and pass’ game. Like, whoever was serving the toughest and passing the best would that specific."
Oftentimes in sports, rivals are worst enemies. When it comes to these two clubs that is far from the case.
According to CVC coach Ozhan Bahrambeygui, TAV coach Jon Sample invited CVC to Park City for a dinner at Robert Redford’s restaurant. Then the California team returned the favor by having the TAV parents over to their condo in Park City.
The two have a long history. Two years ago at the Junior Olympics, CVC won the gold while TAV won the bronze. Last year TAV won gold and CVC won the bronze. This time around at the Triple Crown National Volleyball Championships, Bahrambeygui was just happy to face TAV with a healthy squad.
The match was back and forth with dominant stretches from both squads. Each side also showed resiliency by fighting back time and time again.
"I’m not sure the game was much about techniques and tactics, as it was about managing emotions and making sure that they played with hope and determination," Bahrambeygui said.
Even as CVC built a commanding 8-2 lead in the fifth set, they knew it was not over.
"TAV is never out of a match — not until the final block," he said.
Wherever his team goes from here — before his girls head of to some of the top collegiate programs — Bahrambeygui knows all roads seem to lead to TAV, so they will be ready for their friends again.
Big Weekend for
Despite falling just short in the 18 Open championship, TAV’s teams had a successful weekend.
They won the 14-under division and 16-under division championship — both over Colorado Juniors. They also prevailed in the 17 Open championships in five sets against T-Street from California.
This is the first time the Triple Crown Volleyball Championships have been held in Utah, and the organization has signed a long-term deal with the Salt Palace, its national volleyball director, Sean Hardy, says.
Next year’s event should be even bigger.
"We hope to double it from 40 to about 80 teams and try to increase that geographic mix a bit more with some of the high-end teams," Hardy said.
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