Broadalbin’s Cassy Bown competes at USA Volleyball’s High Performance Championships

Even when the high school sports season ends in June, many student athletes continue preparing for the next one. For Broadalbin- Perth’s Cassy Bown it meant taking her game to a whole new level, and one that had a dramatic impact on her volleyball career.

Last month, Bown travelled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to compete at USA Volleyball’s High Performance Championships. Held at the Broward County Convention Center from July 18-22, 2017, the HP Championships featured over 100 boys and girls USA Volleyball Region High Performance teams from across the country, and welcomed international teams from all over the world. The HP Championships are one of USA Volleyball’s showcase events.

“It was life changing,” Bown said. “And so much fun.”

Bown participated in tryouts and spent the first week of volleyball camp at SUNY Brockport before traveling to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for only one day of practice and then on to the tournament where her IREVA club team was part of the Girls National Youth Division at the HP Championships. The IREVA club team consisted of players mostly from central New York and was given the name Iroquois Girls Youth (IWI) team.

During the opening round of pool play, the Iroquois Girls (IWI) team faced opponents from Oklahoma, Hawaii, and California. The first day wasn’t a very good one for Bown’s team as they won only one game over the first three matches. But, as the tournament continued things improved for the team.

“We just wanted to get better,” Bown said.

And they did. Bown’s team found more success on the second day in round two against three different opponents. After dropping a three game match to the Sun Country SCY team (25-21, 27-25, 25-22), the Iroquois Girls (IWI) team took the Oklahoma Youth White team to five games before falling 25-15, 19-25, 25-20, 21-25, 11-15, and then picked up their first match win of the championships defeating another team from New York, the Iroquois Girls Youth (IIL) team 25-14, 24-26, 15-25, 25-11, 17-15 in comeback fashion.

Day three was also a better showing by Bown’s team. After battling the NCVA Youth Red team from northern California to four games (22-25, 21-25, 25-13, 22-25), the Iroquois Girls (IWI) team picked up their second win over the Iroquois (IIL) team in four thrilling games; 25-16, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20 and earned an overall record of 2 wins and 6 losses, good for 15th place. The team showed improvement winning two of their last three matches including 10 games overall, nine in the last two days of tournament play.

Asked where should rate the experience in her volleyball career so far, Bown said, “It’s definitely number one…It was so much fun. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to try out next year.”

Bown stayed in touch with her teammates from the Broadalbin- Perth High School varsity team through her Twitter page, and when she returned was back in action at the Sacandaga Summer Volleyball League, just in time for the last two matches of the season. She came through with six kills and two blocks in Broadalbin-Perth’s semi final win over Mekeel Christian Academy, and finals win over Mayfield to claim the 2017 Sacandaga Summer Volleyball League title.

“I missed my teammates,” said Bown of the BPHS team. “It felt good to see everyone again.”

Bown enters her junior year at BPHS when the school season begins. The Broadalbin- Perth varsity volleyball team has reached the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) final four championships two of the last three seasons, making it to the finals in 2014. Bown, senior Olivia Casey, and sophomore Madison Fariello are the only remaining members of the 2015 BPHS varsity team that played in the NYSPHSAA championships, and have the most playoff experience. Incoming juniors including Tesa Brody, who also tried out for the IREVA club team, Eliana Frasier, and Kayla Weaver add plenty of depth to the Lady Patriots roster. Getting back to the state finals is a goal for the Lady Patriots team.

“We definitely want to get back to states,” Bown said.

The experience of playing at the High Performance Championships could help Bown, and her teammates in reaching that goal.

USA Volleyball is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of volleyball in the United States and is recognized by the International Federation of Volleyball, and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). It is the mission of USA Volleyball to lead, serve, and grow all areas of the sport of volleyball.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.