New volleyball club finds early success | Sports

Arizona Outlaws Volleyball Club is an upstart program created by coaches Steven Ortiz and Kris Smith aimed at creating an affordable and great experience for young women in the West Valley.

“We decided to actually start this out here in the West Valley,” Ortiz said.

“We just didn’t think there were enough clubs that were affordable here in the West Valley. A lot of the West Valley talent goes out east. “

The Outlaws have five teams (three regional and two national) with girls ages 13 to 16.

This is the club’s first year, and in its debut, the 14s national team won first place in the MLK Fiesta Classic USA Volleyball Tournament, which features the best teams in Arizona and the United States.

“It felt really good,” said Addyson Fullerton, a right-side hitter on the 14s national team.

“It was hard, but we had to push through,” added Reina Smith, a teammate and setter.

“And we knew we wanted it more, so we had to show that we wanted more. It wasn’t fighting for yourself; it was fighting for others as well. It was fighting as a team – with our five the team, ”said outside hitter Alyssa Ortiz, the coach’s daughter.

Coach Ortiz said the club has been successful thanks to hard work and dedication.

“We just don’t work out, we just don’t practice during the week – we also have a strength and conditioning that we go to twice a week,” Ortiz said. “So, keeping the girls in shape, but then also practicing, I think, gives us a benefit over a lot of clubs that don’t do that.”

Ortiz said he is strategic about costs to keep membership fees low.

“We do a lot of things in-house. We do all of our own apparel, in-house jerseys. We have parents to do professional photography, ”Smith added.

“On top of that, we do a lot of volunteering within the club. We source different schools that we can go and practice in and basically try to keep our fees right at or barely above what it costs us. “

A majority of the coaches are volunteers, Smith said.

“They’re here for the girls,” Smith added. “They want to do what’s best for the girls and help them in their adventure. We feel that when you’re in it not for the money and when you’re coaching to be all about the girls that you’re more passionate about it. “

Additionally, the girls volunteer in the community as a team-building exercise.

By creating this bond, the girls feel tight.

“Everybody knows each other,” Fullerton said.

“And if you’re new to it, it is something that’s definitely welcoming, which you don’t see a lot when you go to a club. It’s often like everybody knows each other, and you’re never able to get in. But here’s, like, automatic, everybody’s welcoming. You’re invited to everything. And everybody’s always with each other. “

Alyssa Ortiz added, “I feel like we all are comfortable with each other. We all can talk to each other about anything. We all text in the group chat; we send each other TikToks. We’re friends on and off the court. “

Ortiz is a veteran coach who has helmed teams for about 20 years and volleyball for two years. He oversees recruiting at Desert Edge High School.

“One of my missions here at this club is to work on recruiting for these girls in the volleyball scene,” he said about Arizona Outlaws.

“I spend a lot of time contacting coaches, speaking to coaches. Recruiting in volleyball starts as early as sophomore year in high school. (We have) Hudl for the recruiting part, not just to break down film but be able to show film to college coaches. That’s something that we’ve worked on and we’ve accomplished.

“I’m just excited to see three, four years from now where these girls land.”


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