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Rimrock Nationals team wins annual alumni tourney
Organizers say event has strongest field ever
Hannah Troutman goes up for a kill during the Rimrock Alumni Tournament last Sunday. Troutman plays on the Rimrock Nationals OVC team which won the tournament.
January 03, 2013
When Crook County head volleyball coach Rosie Honl began organizing the annual Rimrock Alumni Volleyball Tournaments several years ago, she had no idea what the tournament would become.
Honl, who runs the Rimrock Volleyball Club, started the tournament with a handful of teams. Since then, the tournament has grown into a 16-team, all-day event that pits current and former Rimrock members against each other.
“I thought it was the best,” Honl said. “It just keeps getting better every year.”
This year’s tournament included a current college All-American, several all-league performers, a national champion, and a former member of the Australian National Team.
Teams included four alumni teams, a team from COCC, seven current Rimrock club teams, and a team of Crook County High School players who are not playing club ball.
When the dust finally settled, the Rimrock Nationals team defeated Alumni Faith, a team primarily from Bend, in a close, three-set match to win the tournament championship.
“Every year, I think it gets better,” said Rimrock Nationals coach Joel Kent. “Playing against college players makes us smarter. I think it’s extremely important for our season because it gives us an upper hand to see what we need to work on before our first big tournament next weekend.”
Rimrock Nationals won all eight matches they played during the tournament, but that doesn’t mean the wins came easily.
Alumni Faith gave the National team all they could handle in the finals. Rimrock came from behind to win the first set 25-23. Alumni Faith came back to win the second set by an identical score, setting up a third set to 15 points. In the final set, Rimrock’s size and youth proved to be too much for the alumni squad as they went on to win 15-10.
“We won every match and only lost two games,” Kent said. “Both of those were close. We have new setters who are going to have to learn to set smart and we’ve got players who have not played together. That’s when we fell apart is when our communication fell down.”
Rimrock Nationals slipped by COCC and Alumni Krissi to reach the tournament championship while Alumni Faith defeated Rimrock Red and Alumni KC to reach the finals.
Kent was quick to point out that he enjoys the tournament both because it helps his current team get ready for the upcoming season and because it lets him see the players he has coached in the past.
“What this tournament really does is all our setters to connect with our hitters, which is a big thing because they have never played together before,” he said. “The tournament gives us an excellent opportunity to do that plus it’s also great to see every kid that I’ve coached for years. There are kids that are playing here that I coached from 1998. It amazes me. I said, ‘I saw flashes of old, but sometimes I saw more old than flash.’”
Current Rimrock Nationals members were also pleased with the result of the tournament.
“It was intense because we were playing against collegiate players,” said Crook County and Rimrock star Makayla Lindburg. “I think it will prepare us for the speed of power league when we get there.”
Teammate Hannah Troutman agreed.
“We worked better as a team throughout the day than we did at the beginning,” she said. “It’s a good tournament because we can see what everybody’s strengths and weaknesses are and work through those.”
Although the competition was fierce during the tournament, it wasn’t all about winning. It’s also a chance for former club members to get together and for the younger members of the Rimrock Club to see what they can become with enough hard work.
“It was really fun,”?said Rylee Troutman, who at age 10 was the youngest player in the tournament. “I liked playing against all the older girls.”
Troutman was part of the Rimrock 12U team, which finished third in the lower bracket of the tournament. The Cowgirls won the lower bracket, knocking off the Rimrock Red 16U team in the championship.
“It was just so much fun,” said Honl following the conclusion of Sunday’s tournament. “The girls all came up to me afterwards to say how much they love it. They are all going to be sore tomorrow because they haven’t played for a while. Joel was so afraid that the Nationals team wouldn’t be ready because there are so many of them kids who have never played his system, but Hannah and Makayla were just amazing and their team just got stronger and stronger as the day went on.”