by Marcos Aragon
SALT LAKE CITY — On championship Sunday, Hive 16 Gold captured the 16u Open title after defeating Club V 16, 25-20, 25-21 at the Triple Crown West Coast Invitational. Hive’s precision ball control was too much to overcome as they never let momentum shift to their opponents. When the team needed a kill, they easily found open space in the middle of the floor. This is Hive’s first tournament win.
“We are a big physical team, but I think what opens it up is our decisions — our choices on where we’re setting the ball and when we’re setting it up,” said Hive head coach Sarah Chism. “Our middles are very active, which opens it up for our outsides to go when they need to and be one and terminate the ball."
Jordyn Harvey explained that her team has a strong chemistry off the court, but the team’s true success is their ability to play as a cohesive unit.
“I think the strength of our team is we have really good hitters in the front row but really good passers in the back row,” says Harvey. “So when we connect, it really works because we can count on our team to get a good pass, and then count on the rest of the team to get a good kill or a good block.”
Margaret Mendelson noted that the team has had many close finishes but had been unable to bring home a championship, until today.
“We’ve needed a win. We’re always so close, we took third at Vegas and fifth at Crossroads,” Mendelson says. “We’re always right there. So to actually take one home is really awesome.”
Next up for Hive (Farmington, UT) are Nationals. After winning their first championship, the team is riding high with confidence. The team finished the weekend with a single loss to NE Elite 16 Top Gun, but Harvey pointed out that “anyone in this whole country is beatable.
Hive earned two impressive wins to reach the final, sweeping Absolute VBC and Texas Advantage.
“It definitely gives us a confidence booster to know that we’re a good team and we can go take this thing if we really want to,” Harvey said.
“This tournament was really important as a national prep for us, and I really like the format because it teaches us that we have to win all the way through, we have to be 1-0 every game,” said Chism.
“Our primary focus in this tournament is ‘survive and advance. 1-0, we focus on that immediate point, immediate set, immediate game right in front of us, and we’re able to keep our heads and not get too caught up in what’s down the road.”
Chism has high praise for the tournament, but even higher appreciation for the host city.
“I love that this tournament is in Salt Lake. Salt Lake is awesome,” she added. “People should come here, it’s a great location. The convention center was awesome, downtown is awesome, Utah is awesome. The weather is great, people should come to this tournament — this should be the premier tournament.”