Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Octane 14U Showcases Courage and Passion for Volleyball

The Octane Panthers 14U team consists of only seven members, primarily from the junior varsity program at Portville High School in Portville, N.Y. Despite their small numbers and limited experience, they found themselves competing against the formidable TAV 14 Blue on the championship court at the 2019 USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships.

It may seem unlikely that this team made it to Indianapolis for the 14 USA division, but their love for the sport brought them there. They knew they wouldn’t win any awards or have an easy journey, but they were determined to participate. This kind of dedication and courage is what sets them apart.

Kelly Unverdorben, the head coach of Octane, is no stranger to the ups and downs of the sport. With years of experience, she has led the varsity program at Portville H.S. to numerous state titles and has taken an Octane program to nationals multiple times. However, this is a new experience for the players she is coaching this week. Unverdorben encouraged them to focus on personal growth and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing at the national level.

Despite the team’s losses in pool play, the girls are having a great time competing against renowned teams like TAV and Red Rock. Their journey to nationals wasn’t easy either; they had to raise funds to cover their expenses. Through various fundraisers and hard work, they managed to gather the necessary funds.

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Even though Octane hasn’t secured a win yet, they remain resilient and optimistic. Unverdorben believes that this experience will make them fearless when they step onto their home court in high school. Having faced tough competition at the national level, they won’t be intimidated anymore.

The Girls Junior National Championships continue this weekend, showcasing the talent and determination of young athletes across different age groups. The 14s division will have their first championship matches on Sunday.

Remember, Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events. Stay tuned for more thrilling matches and inspiring stories of courage and passion for the sport.


Q: How did Octane qualify for the 2019 USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships?

A: Octane qualified for the championships by winning the Western Empire Regional Volleyball regional qualifier.

Q: How did Octane fund their trip to the championships?

A: The team organized various fundraisers, including visiting local businesses for donations, holding a bake sale, and organizing a car wash.

Q: How are the girls handling their losses at the championships?

A: Despite the losses, the girls remain positive and are enjoying the experience of playing against top teams.


The Octane Panthers 14U team, composed of seven determined players from Portville High School, showcased their courage and passion for volleyball at the 2019 USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships. Despite the odds stacked against them, they faced off against strong competitors, demonstrating their dedication to the sport they love. Led by experienced coach Kelly Unverdorben, the team embraced the opportunity to grow as volleyball players and have a memorable experience. Through hard work and community support, Octane made it to the championships, exemplifying their resilience and commitment. Although they haven’t secured a win yet, their fearless attitude will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on their future matches. The Girls Junior National Championships continue, showcasing the talents of young athletes across different age groups.

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