Bringing the heat

By on July 10, 2014

IMG_2856Two Kaneland volleyball players, Jessie Weber (back row, second from right) and Maddie Keifer (back row, third from right) were part of the Kane County Juniors club team that placed third at the Volleyball Festival International Championships in Phoenix June 26-29. Photo submitted by Bob Webber to sports@elburnherald.com

Kane County Juniors finish third in 15-year-old bracket in Phoenix

PHOENIX—Summer is a time for local athletes to showcase themselves in a realm outside the Maple Park fields and courts.

Lady Knight volleyball talents Jessie Weber and Maddie Keifer did so in Phoenix last month as part of the annual Volleyball Festival International Championships June 26-29.

Housed at the Phoenix Convention Center, the festival featured teams from the 12-through-18 age range on the club circuit, and had a majority of teams from Arizona, California and Washington, and teams like Weber and Keifer’s Kane County Juniors 15 Gold squad to complete the 73-team age bracket.

The extravaganza also featured teams from British Columbia and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Gold crew, with head coach KC Johnsen, went 8-2 during the four-day trial and finished in third place.

In the Saturday championship bracket, the Gold side beat Epic 15-Shawn in a 25-20, 25-20 match before beating Legacy 15 Elite in a 25-22, 25-23 affair. The Juniors took a 25-17, 25-21 rematch with Epic 15-Shawn before losing to eventual winner AZ Sky 15 Gold, 23-25, 25-21, 15-3, which stopped the eight-match win streak, and second-place club El Paso Stars 15 Blue, 25-12, 25-13, in the double elimination chance.

Assistant coach Cindy Weber, Jessie’s mother, felt it was a successful tournament gathering.

“For lack of a better term, the other teams were gunning for us,” Weber said. “We didn’t have their height, but we were a quick team out there.”

With teams from all over, the Kane County crew was no stranger to unique settings like Phoenix and a Navy Pier tournament last month, Weber said.

“We were able to get our kills and blocks in, and it was really a fun experience. The Kane County Juniors have been to Arizona, and we were very excited to go again this time,” Weber said.

The 15 Gold contingent improved to 59-13 with the Phoenix performance.