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Prep volleyball: V-ball tourney comes to SCV

City to host high school volleyball event in summer

Posted: March 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

The Santa Clarita Valley may very well be volleyball destination, USA this summer.

At least that’s what the city of Santa Clarita hopes.

The city is pairing with Los Angeles Volleyball Academy to organize the inaugural version of a high school girls volleyball tournament to be held locally during the weekend of Aug. 10-12.

It will be known as the Foothill Invitational, and it will involve teams from around the Southwestern United States, according to organizer Nabil Mardini.

Mardini, the director of operations at LAVA, a collection of several junior volleyball clubs in Southern California, said this type of tournament is unique for the area.

For that reason, it has the chance to grow in coming years.

“I think it’s a great location because of the proximity of the high schools,” Mardini said. “It’s not too far, so you can go from one place to the next without having to drive too much.”

Normally tournaments like this are played in one day and confined to one location, Mardini added, but the Foothill Invitational is scheduled to host as many as 50 teams.

The size of the tournament requires the use of multiple facilities, which will include most of the local high schools.

Both the city and William S. Hart Union High School District have worked with LAVA to facilitate court rentals and event costs.

“Over the past year or two, we’ve been focusing on youth sports events that generate income for the local community,” said Russell Sypowicz, an economic development associate with the city who initially approached LAVA with the proposal last summer.

Since then, the event has attracted around 20 teams from all around the region.

Among those that have already committed are Alchesay High in Whiteriver, Ariz., Sierra Vista in Las Vegas and Clovis West in Fresno.

Local private and public high schools are also expected to participate, Mardini said, but the tournament is intended to attract schools from out of town.

“It’s great for Santa Clarita as a community because it starts branding Santa Clarita as a name,” Sypowicz said.

Once all the teams are signed up, the tournament will be split into two levels of competition — the Open and Festival divisions — where the Open division will feature the higher level of play.

The city is working out deals for hotel and dining discounts in the area for visiting teams during the tournament.

Within a few years, Sypowicz said he’s hoping the tournament will expand to a level akin to some of the bigger national volleyball tournaments in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

“It’s a very big deal,” Mardini said. “It’s good for the kids, good for the game of volleyball. It gives people something to do for three or four days.”

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