AVON PARK – The XCEL Volleyball Club had five girls who recently graduated from high school and will be moving on to play at the collegiate level.
For some girls it is their first year with XCEL but for others it has been years. All the young ladies agree that XCEL has enhanced their game and skill levels.
“This year it is special because five young ladies are going to college to play volleyball,” said XCEL and South Florida State College Coach Kim Crawford. “I am proud of that. Being the director of XCEL volleyball and having the ability to provide an avenue for the kids to play volleyball and move on. It has been super rewarding because a couple of the ladies have been playing since we started. It is a proud moment for XCEL Volleyball. I’ve watched them grow into astonishing young ladies and I can’t wait to see them play at the next level.”
Three of the five young ladies will play for the Panthers, while two are headed to Webber International University.
“XCEL has been the hometown club for a long time,” said Sebring’s Emily Vickers. “It was always the better option for me because it is close and a good environment. This was a nice start for me and I just fell in love with it. I have been playing for XCEL for ten years now. I will be playing at South Florida and I’m super excited. I know how Coach Crawford coaches and I am super excited to continue my journey with her. This has been my goal since I started playing volleyball. My parents have been my biggest support and my mom has never missed a game.”
XCEL teaches the fundamentals of volleyball and how to take athletes skills to the next level.
“I’ve been part of XCEL for nine years and it is a good kick-start for people who want to play volleyball,” said Gabrielle Ouverson. “Emily Vickers got me into volleyball. Way back in elementary school she joined XCEL and asked me to go to one of the camps with her. I loved it from there and I have been playing ever since. I am walking on at South Florida State College and I am excited to continue playing volleyball. It is important to me because I love it so much. My grandparents have been my biggest support. They push me through it, they pay for it, they want me to succeed and they have been with me since day one. Playing in college will be different but I am ready for a challenge.”
XCEL launched in 2012 at South Florida State College. It is a great place to play volleyball and to achieve goals. XCEL is part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
“I have already switched over to college format and plays from day one with XCEL,” said Avon Park’s Julia Crull. “Coach Crawford has shown me so many new things. This is my first year with XCEL but I was a part of Highlands Heat before and I wanted to experience a different coaching style. I knew how good Coach Crawford is and wanted to play for her. Getting this scholarship to Webber means a lot because I have worked hard and I am motivated. This will make me work harder because the harder I work the more return I get. My family has supported me throughout this journey. My mom didn’t want me playing again after an injury but she knew how much I loved the game and the sport. She was always there to support me and helped me get back into the game.”
XCEL will have camps throughout the summer in Panthers Gym and on the sand courts.
“Before I joined XCEL I was supposed to go to a college in Kentucky,” said Avon Park’s Kate Bonini. “When that didn’t work out Coach Crawford helped me contact other colleges and put me out there. She prepared me in the gym and brought me from that middle high school level to above college level. It was really exciting having someone who really knows the game as my club coach. I was playing at another club that I loved but wanted to play somewhere else with a different coaching style. Once I played with XCEL I fell in love. Coach Crawford is charismatic and has the same sense of humor as me. She has that worth ethic that I really needed, someone who has played and wants to have fun. I need someone to push me at a higher pace and to get me ready for that next level. I am very grateful and blessed to have this opportunity to play. Webber is already so loving and accepting. This will push me to go hard and move on to bigger places. My parents have supported me and didn’t let me give up. Even when I didn’t make the middle school and high school team a couple of years they wouldn’t let me give up. It makes me want to work harder knowing they are in my corner.”
These five young ladies have been a huge example of what hard work and determination will get you. XCEL campers will have the opportunity to have the Panther players teach them the last week of camp.
“We started XCEL camp last week,” said Crawford. “These kids hear me talk about these girls moving on and going to college. I think it is motivational for these kids. It is something for them to look forward too and it makes them want to go to the next level, whether that is the middle school team or high school team. This is definitely my livelihood and this is the start of my seventeenth year. I’ve had kids as young as six that are so excited to just be in the gym. They fall in love with it and are happy to play. It is a welcoming place to come play volleyball and to learn.”
It is not too late to sign up to join XCEL. If interested or for more information, contact Coach Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 863-835-2377.