Texas Advantage Volleyball, based out of Carrollton, features some of the top talent that North Texas has to offer.
Elite players from all over the area competed with TAV this past season, and it showed with various age groups either winning it all or finishing in second place when the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships came to an end earlier this month in Indianapolis.
One of those juggernauts, TAV 16 Black, rolled out a loaded roster comprised of highly talented players from Allen, Prosper, Frisco, Plano, Southlake and Trophy Club.
Led by former Lovejoy head coach Jason Nicholson, TAV 16 Black steamrolled the national competition en route to a second-place finish in the 16 Open championship match against Tstreet 16-Mike of Southern California.
Nicholson’s ballclub had defeated Tstreet earlier in the season, but he said his team was drained mentally and physically following two excruciating victories that led them to the final showdown.
In the first match of the day against COAST 16-1, TAV 16 Black survived in a three-set thriller that saw the unit from Texas escape with a 21-19 triumph in the final set.
Shortly after, TAV faced a familiar foe in Skyline 16 Royal of North Texas and even squandered the first set, 25-18. However, the crew from Carrollton battled back in set No. 2 and then won convincingly, 15-7, to qualify for the championship round.
“COAST was a team we had lost to before and ended up in a brawl with them,” Nicholson said.”We exerted a ton of energy but were able to pull it out. Even from a coach’s perspective, you’re sweating and fatigued by the end of it, so I know the girls were physically and emotionally beat up.
“Skyline is a team we have played a million times, and they came out playing extremely well and had us out on the ropes. We fought back and figured out how to win that one too and showed a ton of heart.”
Nicholson believes the showdown with Tstreet could have ended differently if his team hadn’t been through the ringer all morning leading up to the final.
“We then ran out of gas because of those two previous matches to get us there took a lot out of us,” he said. “With some fresh legs, I think we would have had a different match, but I’m definitely proud of the girls.”
TAV was led by Trophy ClubByron Nelson standout CharitieLuper and Southlake Carroll’s Natalie Glenn, who paced the team in touches throughout the tournament.
But many other girls on the roster that play for their respective high schools in various Dallas-area markets contributed a great deal to the immense success.
Plano West setter Ashley Le played an important role running the offense in TAV’s explosive attack while setting up players like Luper, Glenn, TyrahAraial of Lebanon Trail and Angelique Cyr and Natalie Cox of Flower Mound.
“Tyrah is one of the most phenomenal players I have ever coached,” Nicholson said. “Over the last two years, she has become probably a top five recruit in the country, and she will be the highest recruited kid coming out of Frisco in her senior year.”
Cox and Cyr also provided valuable experience of their own after coming off of a terrific 2018 campaign at Flower Mound that saw the Lady Jaguars hoist the Class 6A state championship trophy for the first time in program history.
Cox was named State Tournament MVP and displayed her versatility this summer by moving from outside hitter to right side for TAV, while Cyr became a six-position player that can do a variety of things on the court.
Other local players included standouts from District 9-6A in Allen junior libero Callie Kemohah and Prosper junior middle blocker Shaylee Shore, who are both poised for big seasons this fall.
“We’re very fortunate at TAV to have superstars on a lot of our teams,” Nicholson said. “We won multiple national championships this year and that just shows the talent pool we get to pull from.”