When she’s not coaching veterans on their job-hunting skills, Military Veterans Resource Center career specialist Kelley Koons spends her time coaching the AiR CiTY CHiCKS 18-Pink Extreme volleyball team. On March 23, the Dayton-area team scored a major victory by placing first in the Nike Mideast Qualifier. Now, they have a bid to the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Minneapolis this June.
“I had hopes we would place in the top three, but we didn’t expect to take first,” says Koons. At the Qualifier, 64 teams competed in the 18 year-old division–the most competitive age bracket–for one of three bids to USAV Nationals. Koons’s team beat every opponent in two sets. They never had to play a third set to break a tie.
Their win marks the first invitation an AiR CiTY CHiCKS team has ever won to the USAV National Championships–the most elite tournament for club volleyball.”It’s a big deal for our club and for the girls,” says Koons, as hundreds of college coaches will attend to observe the players.
After their win, Koons rewarded the team with a fun practice, but she already has Nationals on her mind. “The USAV Nationals’ entry fee is $900, on top of the expenses we’ll pay for traveling to Minneapolis,” explains Koons. To help the club and her players with the costs, Koons plans to organize a youth volleyball clinic for kids in grades one through six. The clinic will be a four-night series taught by her players, who will share their knowledge and their skills with the younger kids.
“[Attending Nationals] is something we’ve been building towards over time,” says Koons. Military Veterans Resource Center will join the efforts to get them there and help sponsor the clinic.
Best of luck 18-Pink Extreme!