National Volleyball Tournament offers locals a chance to recapture competitive edge

Published: Friday, June 1 2012 9:05 p.m. MDT

"I'm on a mission," said Daniel, who believes that it just needs more exposure to win participants and fans over to the game's virtues. "I want to dramatically grow boys volleyball in Utah. I want to give back to the community and I want them to have opportunities that we didn't have when we were growing up."

He hopes people will take some time Saturday to come watch the final day of action, which will include this squad, and see how exciting the game can be.

"It's fast-moving, anything can happen and there are a lot of rallies," he said. "The ball is moving, depending on the division 50 to 70 miles an hour and when people get out to watch, they really enjoy it. This type of tournament is good for both men's and women's volleyball."

Daniel said McGown's system, which helped the U.S. men's team win a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics is the reason BYU is so successful.

Van Schalkwyk was part of that first NCAA sanctioned BYU squad. He'd moved to the U.S. in hopes of earning a college scholarship playing volleyball and after signing a letter of intent with San Diego State, he traveled to Utah to visit friends of his parents.

That's where he met McGown who, after seeing him play, asked him to comet to BYU in the fall.

"It was painful," he said laughing. "We were like 2-22. We learned how to lose like men. Every one of us were true freshman and we were competing against all the top teams. Five or six years later they won a national championship, so I guess we started something good, but we weren't part of it."

He's hoping that while he's not the player he once was, he still has enough athleticism to help the Utah Valley 40s to a title.

"The thing about competitive athletics is that you love to compete," he said. "You learn to love winning; you hate losing. And whenever you win it's a real adrenaline rush. Figuring out how to win has been so fun."

Daniel said the team is very fundamentally sound, and now that they've seen the competition, they have high hopes for the team's potential. The squad will play several games today, starting at 9 a.m. The championship for the over-40 division is 3:45 p.m. today and admission is free.

The members of the Utah Valley 40s are Scott Amussen, Dave Breinholt, Mike Clark, Brad Collins, a former UVU player and an All-American; Jim Loveland, CEO Xactware; Mark Robins; Steve Vail; Van Schalwyk, former BYU player; Royce Van Tassell, former BYU player; and Bob Ward, former UVU player and UVU coach.

The players are hoping today will bring a few more spectators out to what promises to be an interesting day of competition.

"I'd love to be playing in front of a crowd," said Van Schalkwyk.

email: adonaldson@desnews.com

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