The Jesuit varsity volleyball team travelled to Arizona for the Nike Tournament of Champions.
The seventh annual Nike Tournament of Champions was held on October 1-3. The tournament is held every year in Arizona, hosting the top high school volleyball teams from all around the country. This is where Jesuit’s volleyball team competed against 80 of these teams. Prior to the tournament, Jesuit’s team was ranked number 1 in state and 10 in the country.
“This is a really big deal for volleyball, at Jesuit especially,” senior Jasmine Gross said. “We’ve never really gotten to travel anywhere, so it’s pretty cool to compete against the other best teams in the nations. Right now we are ranked number ten. We can’t really move up to first in the nation without playing the other teams.”
For two days the team competed with some of the top high school teams in the country. Jesuit’s volleyball team was able to beat the number two team in the country, and win the whole tournament.
After being ranked eighth in the nation and winning state last school year, the team has proved themselves worthy for such a competitive tournament and can compete against such talented teams. Only the best teams in the country are invited.
“Our ranking was high enough for us to be invited, so it proves our commitment and dedication,” senior Nicole Peterson said.
Last school year they were invited to the same Nike Tournament of Champions, but were unable to attend. Jesuit tries to limit outside-of state travel. With parents already paying for tuition, they don’t want to add on the expenses of traveling. Softball and baseball travel every other year, soccer and golf occasionally get to travel. However, the volleyball team has never traveled like this before.
A big reason that the team was allowed to attend this year was that the Nike Tournament of Champions was covering a lot of the expenses, including hotel accommodations and transportation for the players. The only thing parents had to pay for was airfare.
“This is a very special team,” athletic director Mr. Hughes said. “They are nationally ranked. We felt they needed the extra challenge.”
Since this trip is out of state, it required lots of preparation and planning. Flights had to be booked seven months in advance, food had to be planned out, transportation needed to be organized, and hotel accommodation had to be arranged.
The team continued with their normal practices, but were more determined and were putting in extra effort with this tournament approaching.
“I think we’ll do pretty well,” Gross said before the team left. “We haven’t faced a lot of adversity in the state. We’re all used to playing the top teams in the nation during club season, so I think we’ll do pretty well.”
Their hard work paid off as they were able to defeat the other teams, and take home the victory.