The team arrived in Vegas on Thursday, February 15th. After getting to the Luxor Hotel, the girls walked down the Vegas Strip, checked out the Hershey’s Store, the Coca Cola store, the M&Ms store and more… That evening they went to see Blue Man Group. It was a big hit.

Friday started out with a hearty breakfast at IHOP, followed by outlet shopping, downtime at the pool then Hard Rock Café for dinner. Saturday the girls all walked down the Strip for breakfast at Denny’s. Then the games began!

The tournament was held at Mandalay Bay Convention Centre, where 93 courts were set up. In the 18U Club division alone there were 204 teams; 748 teams total! On one of those teams, Kobe Bryant’s daughter was playing. There were a few Kobe sightings and the girls, when they weren’t busy playing, became little paparazzi wannabes and managed to get distant footage. None of them were able to get close enough for an actual autograph.

Day 1

Back to the important stuff: The first game was against a California team, the Starlings Oak Hills. Our 403 girls made quick work of a win in 2 sets: 25-15, 25-13. The next two games were more evenly matched competition. The LAC team from Oahu, Hawaii, made the girls work hard for their victory: 25-19, 20-25, 15-9. The final game that evening was a big challenge. The girls fought hard but were unable to defeat Club Solano from California, 23-25, 17-25. They finished 2nd in their pool.

Day 2

Sunday brought another 3 games, starting at 9 am. The girls won the first game against another California team in 3 sets: 25-23, 18-25, 15-13. The second game against the Renegades from Texas was another challenging game. The girls played excellently, but lost in two sets 25-21, 25-19, then came back to defeat yet another California team in two straight sets: 25-19, 25-18, putting them second in their pool.

Day 3

The next game was Monday at noon against a team from Washington State. The day started with a trip to the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign for pictures, McDonald’s for breakfast and off to Mandalay Bay Convention Centre for their game. Unfortunately, the girls just didn’t have enough get up and go to defeat the team from Washington, losing 25-19 in two sets. Out of 204 teams, the 403 18U girls finished 37th overall! It was a great weekend of team building, fun, and awesome teamwork. Phil and Jill did a fabulous job of coaching, encouraging, and making the trip an amazing experience.