There were some really good stories before then, but we decided since we launched the new VolleyballMag.com website on August 1, we’d start there.
So what were the most-read VBM stories from August 1 to now?
Well, since Ed Chan and I bought the old Volleyball magazine and converted it to a daily online publication, we’re on track for more than a million page views in the first year. In those first five months we’ve covered everything from the Olympics to the NCAA women’s season to tons of beach volleyball, with many great features in between. And not all came from the VBM staff and, interestingly, the single-most well-read piece came from a contributor.
No. 5 — Beach official Dan Apol
Sadly, Dan died in November. Ed’s feature on Dan before he went to Rio to officiate beach volleyball was extremely well read in August, but then viewed even more after Dan died. The original story is intact, but we topped it with information about and reaction to Dan’s death.
Wisconsin, as it turned out, was the only team to play all four of the teams that advanced to the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship.
So the Monday after the final four was decided, which included his own Wisconsin team losing at home in five to eventual-champion Stanford, Sheffield graciously and candidly broke down the field and the two match-ups.
When both setters got hurt, Valparaiso coach Carin Avery had to do something. So she called on senior libero Morganne Longoria to take over as setter — without giving up the libero jersey!
And it worked.
In his story for VBM, Aaron Leavitt profiled Longoria and the new-look Crusaders, who prospered in the unorthodox scheme. What’s more, Longoria had such a good season she made the VBM All-American third team.
And it paid off in a big way, especially on the last point of the NCAA season, as the senior perfectly bump set an out-of-system ball for the championship-point kill.
The Humphreys story has had almost 12,000 page views and was shared not only in the volleyball community, but the sports world in general because of the message. Humphreys, a senior who waiting three years to finally set, was taken out of that role in mid-season, relegated to being a server and defensive specialist.
But Stanford went on a roll after the change, all the way to the NCAA Division I Championship, where the Cardinal beat Minnesota and Stanford and Humphreys was outstanding in her role.
Humphreys admitted at first the change was hard to take and it took everything she had to bounce back, but realized she had to do what was best for the team. And after Stanford won it all, she said with excitement, “It is so worth it!”
Dallas club coach Corinne Atchison had no idea that writing about her story for VBM would change her life. But a piece that has been viewed more than 15,000 times will do that, especially regarding such an important issue.
Atchison deals with concussion symptoms brought about by being hit by volleyballs. She’s doing great now, but her life was turned upside down in a terrible way after being hit in the head.
“Getting the story out there just made people more aware,” Atchison said. “And I didn’t realize how many people also had issues like it. It opened my eyes to see so many people going through the same ordeal I did. There’s more and more concern for the kids every day now. I just opened up discussion and I wasn’t expecting that.”
She’s been able to turn a negative into a positive and we caught up Tuesday, not long after she was invited to present at the AVCA Convention after the AVCA saw her story in September. Her talk “had a mix of college and club coaches and it was kind of cool because I did my talk and toward the last 15, 20 minutes it kind of turned into a roundtable discussion.
“We talked about helping USA Volleyball making it mandatory to do baseline testing and there are a lot of people on board with it. I really had no idea.”
Atchison coaches for the renowned TAV and once again will have the TAV 13s Black. She’s coached three teams to club national championships in the past four years, including the USA Volleyball 13s open last summer.
“I’m feeling a lot better. I still go through all my therapies and day by day I’m getting and stronger. Everybody around me notices little things here and there, so I’m moving in the right direction.
“A year ago I was a complete different person. I think maybe talking about it has helped me, too, just getting it out there and not holding everything in so much. It’s been nice to get the monkey off my back a little bit.”
And the volleyball world is better off because she shared her story.