Riverton volleyballers bring back state title, next stop: Nationals

CASPER – Even though the high school volleyball season may be over and spring may have brought flowers as well as spring sports, the nets were still up and some local girls were still putting the knee and elbow pads on. 

Those girls played for the Riverton Volleyball Club (RVC) and this past weekend, thirteen of the young volleyballers won the AAU U14 State Championship in Casper in the Gold Bracket. 

“For these girls this is huge,” Coach Christa Hauser said about the big win. “They are beyond excited and are hoping they can attend if they raise enough money to go … every single girl on this team have grown in skill and experience.” 

The girls, with a mix of seventh and eighth graders, merged to form one team after a full season of splitting into two teams during tournaments. That was due to the teams “really wanting to make sure the girls learned how to play together as one team” according to Coach Hauser, something they focused on all year long because they “never focused on A or B team” priorities. 

This all came after a year where the RVC saw a huge increase in players enrolled, over sixty, in their travel club after a brief hiatus due to COVID and other factors. They now head to Nationals as a travel team for the first time in nearly six years, ever since the U16/18 team won and headed to the biggest tournament stage. 

Sadly, getting to that stage can take a toll on wallets and wheels, which is why the RVC has started to fundraise for their trip to Phoenix, Arizona in late June. 

The U14 girls celebrated their first-place finish and their trip to Nationals this summer (p/c Christa Hauser)

“We would love to take all 11 players and two coaches,” Coach Hauser said. “This means more opportunities for girls to follow their dreams and apply a multitude of skills towards growing a positive, all-inclusive community.” 

RVC’s community includes teams from all age ranges spanning from U10 to U18 and included kids from Riverton and Lander, almost all of whom got extremely far into the postseason rankings alongside the state champion U14 team. One U12 team took first place in the silver bracket while another took second in the gold bracket, a U15 group took third in the gold bracket and their U18 team took third in the silver bracket. 

All the teams had different coaches but after the way the U14 girls dominated their way to Nationals, all coaches had plenty to say about them: 

Coach Saltsgaver’s brought home the gold medal in the silver bracket (p/c Christa Hauser)

“Hard work, blood, sweat, and tears doesn’t even cover the amount of dedication these girls have put into achieving this,” Sheryl Carpenter, a U14 coach said. “They are truly deserving of this achievement as they have worked so hard to transform their thinking with a growth mindset and have become a positive, all-inclusive, powerhouse!”

“Attitudes are contagious, theirs are worth catching,” Alyssa Saltsgaver, a U12 coach sad. “The two things we can control are attitude and effort. Both of which won these girls the State Championship!”

These U12 girls took home second in the gold bracket (p/c Christa Hauser)

“During the season we hit a few challenges but each time these girls ended up being a better person and player,” Coach Hauser said about her team. “Winning this gold bracket … was something I have known all season this team had the ability to do and I am beyond proud of them and all their hard work.” 

So now what? The girls and coaches are all fundraising so they can cover the cost of transportation, food, lodging and more for the young girls that have deserved to be seen on the biggest stage. 

If you would like to help the volleyballers get to Phoenix on June 22nd you can do so by contacting Coach Hauser through email at tchauser14@gmail.com or by dropping by 612 E. Main Street at Shelle Anderson Photography. 

By: Shawn O’Brate