MCALLEN (KVEO) — It has been an incredible ride for the 13U McAllen Fierce volleyball team this season, but the most excitement happened within a 12-day span.
“Last weekend was crazy,” said Yaneli Rocha of McAllen Fierce.
The Fierce team earned a bid earlier this season to the USA Volleyball Junior National Championships while competing in a tournament in Houston.
Fierce placed 4th in the top 5 teams to earn the bid. A very rare, notable accomplishment. One that not many RGV teams have done.
After winning the AAU Junior National Championship title, Fierce had a quick turnaround to compete at the USA tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“We’ve just been training really hard the last few weeks, days,” said Abryella Ysquierdo, who plays outside hitter for Fierce. “It’s just been amazing, the feeling of playing with all of them, it’s really been amazing.”
Jahaziel Cano has been head coach of McAllen Fierce since the very beginning of this team’s existence three years ago. His daughter, Izabella Cano, plays Libero for Fierce.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” said Izabella Cano. “But you know, we still went out there and played our hearts out.”
Fierce didn’t have expectations heading into the big tournament in Las Vegas. After all, they are used to being deemed the underdog on the court. A term that they’ve proven wrong with each set they’ve played all season long.
“We started off really well the first and second day, the third day, our first game we had lost but we were all tied, but we ended up on top,” said Rocha.
The Fierce went 6-0 through the first two days. They lost a game early on the third day, but found themselves back in it, after fighting through the challenge bracket and earning a spot in the Gold bracket.
“The next day, we went out and played really hard,” said Rocha. “Championship game was just, it was different the atmosphere was a lot bigger than what we were used to and when we went to the third set it got very nerve wracking and that last point was just something to remember.”
Fierce found themselves face to face with a team who they beat earlier in the tournament, SASVBC from Hawaii. Fierce took SASVBC in two sets, 25-10, 25-22 on day 2. The rematch between the two was a much different story than the prior matchup.
“That last team we had already played and we had beaten them in two, but this game, they had wanted revenge and you can tell because they were just out to get us. The second set is where we just had a little bit of miscommunications and we gave it to them. But that third set is the one we needed and we came out on top”
Fierce beat SASVBC (25-22, 20-15, 15-13) to win the USA Volleyball Junior National Championship in 13 American.
“A lot of people you know weren’t expecting us, you know, to get bids or win these types of tournaments,” said Ysquierdo. “And it just feels great to prove them wrong and just to show them that we can actually do it.”
Fierce put a bow on their record-breaking season with not one, but two national championships. They said that every step towards every accomplishment they’ve had this season couldn’t of happened without big time support.
“I’m very grateful for the girls on my team,” said setter Aleena Zuniga. “And my coach especially for all of the hours and all the dedication that he’s put in to help us get better and help us get ready for all these tournaments and all the parents for always taking us to practices and extra trainings.”