HENDERSONVILLE – Success is nothing new to members of Xcel Volleyball Performance’s 18X Select team.
This level of success is a different story though.
Xcel won the ASICS Big South National Qualifier tournament Sunday in Atlanta. It carries with it an automatic bid to June’s ASICS national event in Indianapolis.
Xcel’s tournament victory is believed to be a first at this level of the ASICS circuit, which is considered the most prestigious competition in non-scholastic youth volleyball.
All of the Xcel players hail from mountain high schools — Taylor Houck (West Henderson), Caroline Marsh (North Henderson), Alex Boone (Mountain Heritage), Mary Catherine Ball (West Henderson), Emma Raleigh (Smoky Mountain), Destynee Galloway (West Henderson), Kasey West (West Henderson) and Sierra Jones (West Henderson).
“It was so exciting,” said Galloway, who played libero in Atlanta.
“We’ve all practiced and worked so hard all season. It felt like it all came together and we really clicked as one group (last weekend). It’s a great feeling to win a tournament like this. It still hasn’t even hit me. Being able to play with this group of girls is so amazing. We’re all so close, and that makes everything that we accomplish that much better.”
Houck is a senior who has signed with Tennessee Tech, while Marsh (UNC Wilmington) and Boone (Charlotte) have made early college commitments as juniors.
Overall, this team is the mostly the same one that won the AAU national tournament as a 15U team in 2014. Xcel was one of 118 teams in the Big South tournament and won an AAU Super Regional event the week before. All told, Xcel went 11-0 in its matches and won a combined 40 out of 43 sets in the two tournaments.
The coaches are Rick Moore (head) and Jack Stewart (assistant).
“We’re getting better with every tournament,” Moore said.
“The chemistry is really coming together and the girls are finally starting to jell as a team. It all came out over the weekend.”
Xcel is based out of Henderson County and can count approximately 200 players in its travel program. A youth academy has about 270 girls involved.
Other tournament finishes for the program at the Big South tournament were as follows – Xcel 18C Select (17th place), Xcel 16X Select (fourth), Xcel 15X Select (fifth) and Xcel 14X Select (fifth). Every division had 100 or more teams.