Duo from Albert Lea competes at national AAU volleyball tourneyPublished 3:16pm Saturday, August 2, 2014
Both freshmen who made the Albert Lea volleyball team’s varsity roster last year had a chance to play the best Amateur Athletic Union teams in the nation this summer.
Julia Deyak and Camryn Keyeski’s AAU squads qualified for the national tournament in Orlando, Fla., and made it to the championship match.
“We played a lot of hard teams when we got to the finals,” said Deyak. “It just depends on who wants it most. Any team could come out winning it.”
On an individual level, both players were named All-Americans.
According to Deyak’s mother, Albert Lea coach Lisa Deyak, teams participated from across the country, including Hawaii, California, Texas, South Carolina and Puerto Rico.
Deyak, a member of the Mizuno Northern Lights 15-2 team, won the AAU 15 Premier League national championship on June 23 after entering the tournament as the No. 8 seed out of more than 90 teams in the division.
“They were playing some incredibly difficult competition and kept rising to do whatever they needed to do,” coach Deyak said.
Keyeski, a member of the Mizuno Northern Lights 15-Black team, finished as the national runner-up on June 20 after entering the tournament as the No. 5 seed out of more than 120 teams in the division.
“It was a lot of fun,” Keyeski said. “Our team had difficulties in the beginning of the year, but once we had some bonding time, that helped us get to the finals.”
Last spring, Keyeski and Deyak combined to finish in the top 10 of the Tribune’s seven-team coverage area in four of the five main statistical categories.
Deyak was eighth in kills (179), 10th in blocks (57) and third in aces (40) as a right-side hitter. Keyeski was second in digs (378) and fifth in aces (36) as a libero.
Coach Deyak said the early rounds of the AAU tournament were played at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, and the championship matches were played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on the Disneyworld complex.
The duo, who will be sophomores this fall, said they’re excited to start practice for the high school team on Aug. 11.
Albert Lea, a team that finished last year 15-10 overall and 6-3 Big Nine Conference, will look to improve on its first winning season since 2006.