A Bend middle school club team has qualified for the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships. It’s a stage they’re performed on before.
“We were super excited,” said club player and Pacific Crest Middle School student Liv Moses. “I think some of us started crying.”
“I was really excited that we got a chance to go to nationals again for the second time,” said club player and Skyview Middle School student Lucy O’Connell. “Like, that’s just really cool to me.”
“Last year we were pretty nervous, so just to come back and just know that like we’re here again and just to have fun, not be nervous this time,” said club player and High Desert Middle School student Kailyn Cooper.
The North Pacific Juniors Bend 12-U National team consists of 12 and under players from different middle schools around Bend.
Even though they are from other schools, the team says between the bumps, sets, and spikes, there’s a special bond.
“(It’s) kind of a way to like connect with other people from like different schools, but I like, I probably wouldn’t have ever met if it hadn’t been for club volleyball,” said O’Connell.
“I think since we’re all from different middle schools, like we all have a chance to know each other and, like, learn about each other’s experiences, or like, we all love each other unconditionally, no matter what,” said Moses.
“It’s just like another family,” said Cooper.
The girls won a tournament bid in Salem to qualify for nationals halfway across the country in Minneapolis.
Last year at nationals, competing against more than 150 of the best teams in the country, the girls placed in the top 50. This year they hope to dig deeper and come away stronger.
“It’s next level,” said Moses. “You have to work really, really hard. It’s super fun and exciting.”
“Yeah, and then to just, like, play different teams,” said O’Connell. “Like, we’re kind of limited to the region right now. Like, once you go to, like, nationals, you get to play all these different teams from all around the nation.”
“Just having that, like, next step of competition, I feel like it’s just really fun to have,” said Cooper.
The 12-U team competes June 14-17.
The 15 and under Bend team also earned a bid to the girls Junior National Volleyball Championship. They head to Chicago in late June.
If you would like to donate to the 12-U team, click here