Stories & Testimonies from A-Town Volleyball Academy

Follow Where AVA goes and What we are doing!  Also, see real stories about those who are involved!  From JR's to Adults we love sharing our Adventures!  If you go somewhere take a picture and send us your story!  If you have been impacted by A-Town share your encouraging story with us so Others Will Be Encouraged!! We would love to add your story to our wall! 

Angela Going to USA National Tryouts again! #SecondTime2015

Angela had the honor of going to the USA National tryouts last year and has been invited to return again this year!  Tryouts are held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  Last year Angela was recovering from a tibia break in late June and had just began to walk when she started her training in mid September of 2013.  With only 5 months of training Angela felt good going into tryouts in Feb 2014.  She was the oldest participant by 10 years and told the USA staff media that knowing she was returning from a major injury and being older them most at the tryout should be a testimony to ALWAYS follow your dreams no matter what happens in life!  If you would like to be a sponsor to help send Angela again this year click on the form link below.  More to come on her story from last year and coming soon her new adventure!

The last seat on the bus to the training center was next to me!  Karch the King of volleyball!

Best Shape of my life.  Knowing the USA National tryout was a chance of a lifetime I did not want to look back with any regrets.

Great time spent with local players from Clemson University and UNC-Asheville!

Read more about the trip under facebook page for Feb2014.  Daily journal about the adventure.


Coach Jim has taken AVA training to a whole new level!  We have always had a program to help the players advance in speed, jump vertical, and body awareness but this season Coach Jim has brought a new level to the concept.  As the Core Training Director Jim takes pride in teaching the players the true meaning of Self-Discipline!

self-dis·ci·pline (noun)
The ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

ATown to the "Mother-Load" in Colorado

If you have been in the volleyball world you know about the "BIG" tournaments around the nation.  Here in South Carolina we have the "Clash" & "Crown" in Columbia, up north the "Pottstown Rumble" in Pennsylvania, or the "Mother-Load" in Colorado;  these are the road trip kind of tournaments.  Last year ATown Nites Tournament was on its way with 24 nets and over 150 teams.  Many of us around the area have talked about making the trip for "The Mother-Load" after 4 of us took a 16 hr road trip to the "Rumble" back in 2011.  One of our own made the trip this summer to Colorado.  Dennis took ATown with him and represented us proudly!  Hear more about his trip and his life story! What an amazing VIEW!

12 Yr Old Huck taking Volleyball by Storm!

  At the A-Town 7.5 Angela played with Huck in his first A-Town Adult Coed Doubles tournament.  At age 12 he was the super-star in the BB.  The team went 6/0 in pool and then lost in the quarter-finals to the team who ended up winning BB.  Not too bad!

  At 5'5" Huck jump served all day and hit well on the Men's height net which is amost 8".  He has a dream of going to college to play and then trying out for the Men's National team.  He has set his goals high and is making steps at such a young age to reach them.  Huck played on the boys team with Club South Upward Stars for 2 years during the travel season in 2014 & 2013 and will be training with AVA throughout the summer to better his skills. 

  During the day Angela and Huck talked about court position and strategy.  Huck already has great control of his offense and would hit shots as Angela would make the call for him.  His sets, both passing and hand-sets were on point making it easy for his partner to also run a great offense.  During the day he really came out of his shell starting to show confidence and communicating with his partner during plays.  It was an Epic day to watch such a young player take charge of the game both physically and mentally.  Fun story is that at the end of the day Huck comes running over to Angela and says, "I lost a tooth!".  What a kid!

I asked Karen Zdonek, Eli Mom to give me some background on how he got started and his playing experience.  She writes:

"Jesse and I played pick up volleyball when the kids were younger.  They would go with us to the gym and hang out while we played.  Eli seeing us play wanted to do something while sitting on the sidelines.  We would bump the ball with him in between games or while one of our teams was sitting.  He was probably about 8 at that time.  He would bump and hit against the wall for hours while we played. 

The other adults at the gym were kind enough to let Eli in a game or two.  Eli was able to hold his own out there, passing well, serving and hitting.  Because he was so short it was an advantage when digging hard hit balls.  He was already so low to the ground.  He was able to start to gain an understanding of the game.  He would ask us questions about plays, coverage on the court, and general questions to understand what the game was about. 

Having seen and attending outdoor tournaments with Jesse, he wanted to play with his dad.  Jesse told Eli once he could serve the ball overhand and get it over they would play some outdoor tournaments.  When Eli was 9, they played their first outdoor tournament.  He played the Summer Heat Volleyball Tournament.  Eli was hooked!  A love for the game was driving Eli to play whenever he could.  Peppering in the backyard with one of us, hitting against the wall while his sister was at volleyball practice, jumping into practice while we were playing games, and sharing his knowledge of the game with others just was fun for him. 

  Jesse and I started looking for other outlets for Eli to play with boys his own age.  We knew that men played volleyball, but he was only seeing junior girls volleyball. We felt it was important for Eli to see boys volleyball and that it was not just a sport for girls.  We wanted to cultivate his love for the game by playing with other boys while improving his skills.  A friend of ours told us of a boys club in Atlanta, Southern Storm. Did we want to make the commitment to drive to Atlanta every Sunday for our 10 year old son to play volleyball?  Playing college tennis, Jesse wanted to make sure that we didn’t burn Eli out at an early age by over traveling and high pressure situations.  We did go down to meet the other boys and see what it was all about.  We didn’t join the travel team but did attend some practices over the next year.  He was invited to go to Nationals with them in 2013.  Huck has planed in some Outdoor Tournaments  including the Clash the past 3 Springs, Summer Heat twice, Pass It On 4 Springs, 3 Atown Tournaments, and a Clemson tournament.  Eli has played with both adults and other juniors.

Future Plans:

Eli loves the game.  He is willing to work hard to improve his game and wants to improve his game.  He would like to play an outdoor tournament with an A player, which he just did.  He would like to play for a boys volleyball team in high school and eventually in college.

Sponsors for A-Town

SPALDING is the Newest sponsor to A-Town.  We are excited they are on board!  We have Balls for $35!

Lake Murray Camp Adventure!

(Angela Traveled to Columbia to help with Lake Murray Camp on June 9th - June 11th with the South Carolina's Head Volleyball Coach Scott Swanson)

I had a wonderful invite by my Volleyball MOM, Sue Dillon to come and help at the Lake Murray Volleyball camp ran by South Carolins Volleyball Coach Scott!  What an amazing time had by all.  Sean Dillon was my asst. coach all three days and WOW what a coach he will be with his eyes for the game, amazing will and heart for the game, and loving attitude.  We had two groups of girls (Love all of you!) during the three days of camp.  Sue Dillon has raised most of us around the game of volleyball and taught us so many life lessons, it was an honor to give back to her club girls.  After the first day the girls came back ready for more.  Each one grew over the three days in different ways.  My favorite moment was watching the girls play agains the coaches!  Great Group!  See you guys soon!