The JVA Director of Marketing, Education, and Player Development, Bri Schunzel, joins the show this week on behalf of the Junior Volleyball Association, one of the VLA's event partners and friends! Bri was an all star setter in her playing days collegiately and professionally, and now she's approaching her tenth year full time at the JVA. We get into how this unique year has affected our two organizations, what the JVA has done to support its members during the pandemic, how awesome the event partnership will be between the JVA and VLA, and how generally there needs to be more eyes on the high level men's game. Bri was an awesome guest and we love the JVA and their support!
VLA Kickoff Classic All-Tournament middle blocker Brandon Poindexter (@brandonp428) joins the show after his Chicago squad's win at the Kickoff Classic a month ago, getting into his volleyball origin story on the east coast, his figurative and literal growth as a player, and how he stays in such spectacular shape. He also has a fascinating and unique perspective on the whole Kickoff Classic weekend, from what it took to get back up to game speed, to how technically he broke down his blocking reads, to how he uses his emotion and energy to fuel his team. Despite some weird audio issues towards the end, still a great chat with a player who has been ALL OVER the highlight tapes on the VLA YouTube channel lately!
Phoenix Ascension libero CJ Suarez (@cjsuarez_) joins the show a few weeks after a stellar performance at the VLA Kickoff Classic to talk us through his volleyball journey. He tells some great stories about being an MVP caliber outside hitter in high school at only 5'10", grinding incredibly hard to make his college team at Cal State Northridge, becoming the starting libero by the end of his college career, and his connection to the Phoenix Ascension. After the standard rapid fire questions, he takes us through each Phoenix match of the Kickoff Classic and wraps up a really positive weekend for his squad. Great interview with an energetic libero with a ton of confidence who's just so much fun to watch.
New York Legion middle blocker Mike Marshman (@mikemarshman) returns to the show, with a weekend of VLA volleyball and an all-tournament award behind him, to talk about his team's weekend at the Kickoff Classic. We get into LVC's habit of going to 5 sets, what it takes to shake off rust and build team chemistry quickly during a tournament, what big takeaways New York had from the weekend, and how bright the future of the VLA is. Marsh also announces his return to Cambrai Volley in France, now having moved up to the French A league, and realizes a long time goal of his to play in a league of that caliber. We also touch on the shocking news of Stanford cutting their men's volleyball program and talk about what all you listeners can do to help: click the link in Marsh's instagram bio to sign the petition!
The Deep Corner is back! Chicago Icemen outside hitter and recently crowned MVP of the VLA Kickoff Classic Dave Wieczorek (@davewieczorek) joins the first show since last weekend's event to talk about everything in his volleyball life. He gets into each match the Icemen played throughout the tournament, plus his college career, time spent in the USA gym, and how no matter what, there's #AlwaysMoreAngle. It's been great to get to know a guy who's so talented, hard working, and is now a huge ambassador for our league. Don't miss it!
Live volleyball is happening this weekend! Yes, seriously! VLA Director of Digital Operations Vince Zanzucchi (@vzanzucchi10) rejoins the show to give a preview of what everyone can expect starting Thursday evening, July 2 all the way through Sunday July 5. Make absolutely sure you're subscribed to the VLA YouTube channel, where the Thursday pre-stream and all ten matches throughout the weekend will be streamed live and available on demand, and follow @vlavolleyball on instagram so you don't miss a moment of the action!
A new addition to the New York Legion roster for next weekend's VLA Kickoff Classic, outside hitter Cody Kessel (@codykessel) joins the show in anticipation of returning to volleyball in a week. He talks about growing up in Colorado where there's barely any boys' volleyball, having USAV legend John Kessel as a father, taking a gap year between high school and starting at Princeton, switching from opposite to outside hitter as a pro, and playing abroad with a record setting number of Americans on a team. We also get into his long standing connections with Team LVC and what a great opportunity being able to play next weekend is. Great chat with a big name in the USA Volleyball world.
Phoenix Ascension setter Zach Melcher (@zach_em_smack_em) joins the show to talk about his quarterback-like approach to the setter position, his transferring from Cal Baptist to Grand Canyon JUST before Cal Baptist's program was cut, his first professional season overseas in the Czech Republic, and much more. An impressive rapid fire question performance is followed by some Ascension talk - what it's like to have Joe Kauliakamoa as a teammate, what it's like to keep playing with/for Vince Zanzucchi, and how quickly the Ascension are going to be able to shake off the rust before flying east to play in a couple weeks. Great show with a stud setter with a ton of personality.
VOLLEYBALL IS BACK! That's right, real, live, professional sports are back on the schedule! VLA Director of Player Relations Tim Falknor rejoins the show to talk a few quick details about the event now on the calendar: July 3-5 at the Ball Sports Academy in Angola, IN. Stay tuned to the VLA social media platforms for many more details!
Rob (@rstclaire1) goes solo again this episode to break down the play and commentary of a match from last year's FIVB World Cup between the US and Brazil. You'll definitely want to watch the video for this one on the VLA YouTube channel!