The Momentum 12 Black Team, including two players from Castle Pines (CP) made a splash on the national stage last month in New Orleans. Back row, left to right: Jasmine Vaughan, Nevaeh Banks, Izzy Sommers, Reece Randall, Sydney Harkness, and Emma Ziegler (CP); Front row, left to right: Coach Liz Klumker, Marissa Cohen, Ashley Rants (CP), Peyton Dunn, Bella Vezzani, and Coach Makaila Adams.
By Lisa Crockett; photos courtesy of Liz Klumke
Rocky Heights seventh grader Emma Ziegler and her Momentum Volleyball Club 12 Black Team headed to New Orleans last month for the Girls Junior National Championships. Teams, leveled by age brackets ranging from 12 to 18, spent four days playing the best of the best from around the country. For the 12 Black team, the tournament is the culmination of nearly a year of hard work, dedication and determination.
“I’ve played volleyball for six years, but this is my first year with this team,” said Ziegler. “Our coach sets amazing goals for us, and then works with us to get there, which is a lot of fun.”
Though most of the players on the team have some volleyball experience under their belt, this is the team’s first year together. That, combined with several health and injury challenges, made making it to the national tournament seem like something of a long shot. At the Junior National Qualifier held in Denver last month, the girls pulled out a seemingly impossible win at the last minute, beating a team that had bested them in several prior games.
“I’m most proud of how hard they’ve worked,” said the team’s coach Liz Klumker. “I really love to see how they’ve come together as a team and work together.”
Ziegler’s teammate Ashley Rants, who also lives in Castle Pines, said that team spirit is what makes this team truly special. “I love to play volleyball, and I love that this year I’ve improved on my power and blocking,” said Rants. “But it’s not just the game. I love to be with the girls on my team, and it’s a lot of fun for us just to be together.”
As of press time, the results of the tournament were unknown. What is crystal clear, however, is that this new team is likely to see further success in the years to come, if dedication to teamwork is any indication.
“Learning new skills is kind of hard, but I love it,” said Bella Vezzani, who has played with Ziegler for several years on previous teams. “When I learn to trust the other girls on the team and we work together, it is amazing to see what we can do.”