For the first time in history, a club volleyball team from San Francisco medaled at the USA Junior National Championships.
Roshambo, a San Francisco juniors club volleyball's 14-and-under team, finished in third place in last week's tournament in Dallas, ending a historic drought for a city that has produced its fair share of volleyball talent.
"It was a relief," Roshambo coach Erwin Chu said, referring to his team's bronze medal-clinching 25-20, 17-25, 15-4 win over Arrowhead of Arizona on July 2. "I don't even remember the last championship point, other than the fact that everyone rushed the court afterward. It was a very emotional moment, and something you'll remember forever. I'm just glad we were able to make history."
Despite a mediocre 5-4 record at the junior national championships, Roshambo won key tiebreaker matches along the way en route to earning a bronze medal.
"We definitely started a little slow," Chu said. "We lost our first match before winning two straight, then we lost another one. We were committing a lot of unforced errors, and it was hurting us. But the girls really came on at the end."
Especially Roshambo's Big Three of Tiffany Wong, Isabella Dominici and Isabella Legarza, who at 5-foot-10 is the team's tallest player. Legarza, a middle blocker, played superbly at the net, while outside hitters Wong and Dominici dazzled onlookers with their tremendous all-around skills.
The rest of the Roshambo roster includes Holland Carignani, Louise Hardiman, Reiko Harris, Lindsay Hom, Ciara Kosai, Sophia Plett, Taylor Rike, Jillian Roumbanis and Chloe Yu. The majority of the players on the team will be entering their freshman year in September at Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Ignatius.
Roshambo was probably the shortest and smallest team in the field, but what the team lacked in size, it more than made up for with its spectacular ball-control skills, defense and passing. Roshambo routinely dug up what looked to be sure-fire winners from the opposition, time and again turning defense into instant offense.
"There are times when it looks like we're scrambling just to stay in the point, and then we'll come up with a big defensive play and win the point," Chu said. "That's what our team is all about. We're not going to outhit or outjump teams, but we're going to be better at controlling the ball. That's what we've been doing all season long, and that's what got us the bronze medal."