Happy Fourth of July as things begin to take form for the new VolleyballMag.com.
Since Ed Chan and I took over Volleyball magazine a few months ago, our respective lives have been a whirlwind. A fun whirlwind, but busy nonetheless as we made the transition not only to being co-publishers, but taking the print magazine to an all-digital format.
Later this month, we will unveil our new website and the volleyball world is going to love the new VolleyballMag.com.
If you’ve been visiting DestinationVolleyball.com you would have noticed less content. While we’ve ben double-posting some things, including this column, we’ve been doing most of our posting on VolleyballMag.com, which will eventually become our main site.
Like I said, you’re gonna love the new website.
In the meantime …
— High fives to USA Volleyball, who made a smart move scheduling three FIVB World League matches in Dallas to coincide with the boys junior nationals. Not only did the U.S. go 3-0 by beating Bulgaria, Australia and Russia, the men played in front of so many future stars and boys who need to see the game at the highest level.
There’s no telling how many kids were influenced by a match that saw the U.S. win the first set 35-33 and then close it out 25-17, 25-21.
This team is super fun to watch and it’s still hard to imagine that the guy who touches the ball the most, setter Micah Christenson, is just 23. As an aside, he’s right-handed but hit a second ball Saturday against the Australians with his left hand that was a vicious swing. And Taylor Sander, who is 24, hit some BICs against the Russians that were so ridiculous they should have been worth two points.
The team now goes to Poland for the final round that starts July 13. Can’t wait to see them play in Rio.
— The U.S. women (8-1 in the preliminary rounds, including a defeat of China in Hong Kong) are in Thailand for the FIVB World Grand Prix finals that start Wednesday. The U.S. opens with the Netherlands.
While some players have been told they will not make the team of 12, the U.S. Olympic roster has not been announced. Fourteen players are in Thailand and we assume head coach Karch Kiraly will made the final cut when they return.
— Ed has done a great job these past few months keeping up with all the beach volleyball going on. We’ve had reports on the AVP and its various stops, the NVL, and even the FIVB events in Europe. Personally, I’m glad that after the Manhattan Beach Open July 14-17 that for at least a month we’ll be down to watching just four American teams — two women, two men — in the Olympics.
— After spending four days in the gym in Orlando for the AAU nationals and then a couple more in Indianapolis for USA junior nationals, I will tell you college coaches are a lot tougher than they look. Standing on those cement floors all day for days on end is simply brutal to your legs and feet.
In my case, I was in Orlando with my Volleyball Baton Rouge 14s, which gave me a chance to visit with quite a few coaches there. And then I went to Indy for the sole purpose of schmoozing with college coaches. I estimated that between the two tournaments I hit 65 percent of head coaches or assistants from the power-five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12). You will see the fruits of that labor in stories on this site starting in August.
— So happy for my fellow Baton Rougean Danielle Scott after it was announced last week that she and another former Long Beach State star, Misty May-Treanor, are going into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame. The induction is October 22 in Holyoke, Mass., and will be a special weekend. Danielle, who is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. She played in a remarkable five Olympics — 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 — winning silver medals in the last two.
Indoor star Nikola Grbic of Serbia, beach star Emanuel Rego of Brazil, and coach Man-Bok Park of South Korea are the other inductees.
— And finally, VolleyballMag.com will conduct a Mid-Major weekly poll this women’s season that will include the Division I teams not in the aforementioned power-five conferences. We’re excited about it, my pollsters are excited, and everyone we bounced the idea off of around the country is excited.