During the March 31-April 2 weekend, the Tallahassee Volleyball Academy (TVA) “16 Smack Team” won a national title at The Big South National Qualifier. The tournament is billed as “the largest indoor volleyball tournament held on a single weekend in North America.”
The event took place in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center where over 1,500 teams competed on 228 courts.
After an undefeated day on Friday, the TVA 16 Smack team barely made it into the Gold round after an untimely loss on Saturday night. However, on Sunday, the team won five consecutive matches, including a 2-1 (27-25,24-26,15-10) victory in the final over A5 Mizuno, an Atlanta based team.
The victory earned the team a coveted bid to the USA Volleyball National Championships which will be held in Chicago during the July 4th week. There are only 36 national bids allocated in the 16’s USA division.
Coach Sheila Roberts, the volleyball coach at Florida High and Club Director & Coach at TVA said, “I can’t say enough about this team! According to the urban dictionary, the definition of a dawg, as pertaining to sports, is an athlete who is mentally tough and able to perform in important situations. This group is an entire team of dawgs. TVA 16 Smack is one of the top teams I have ever coached.”
Winning a Big South title is a difficult feat. The division TVA 16 Smack competed in, featured 96 teams from around the country. TVA 16 Smack went into the tournament ranked 53rd in the U.S. and the team they defeated in the finals was ranked 29th.
Some of the current players on the team have been together since the 2019-20 club season. Each year, with club training and the addition of new players, the team has consistently improved. In 2020-21 the team finished ranked 225 in the U.S. and in 2021-22 they improved to 125. During the 2022-23 season, the team has been ranked as high as 38.
With two tournaments remaining before the trip to Chicago, Coach Roberts has high hopes for the team. “They are supportive, they are athletic, they are confident, they are smart, they are disciplined, and they are Champions at one of the biggest qualifiers in the nation. We will head to Nationals in July, and I am very hopeful that this team will find the podium,” said Roberts.
Tallahassee Club Volleyball Results from Big South Tournament
Listed above are the results for the three Tallahassee clubs that competed in the national tournament. Divisions: O-Open, U-USA, A-American, N-National