Fans Become the 7th Girl in the Stands at GJNC

June 29, 2013, 6:32 p.m. (ET)

Kristina Harter, USA Volleyball Communications Intern, Phone: (719) 228-6800 , Email:
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USA Volleyball Junior National Championships Interactive Page

USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships Results/Schedules

    NYC Juniors 12 Blue Fans                    Woodlands Wave 12 Under Armor Fans

DALLAS, Texas (June 29, 2013) – At the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Dallas, wins and losses can be unpredictable, but one thing that remains consistent is the undeniable fan support among each and every team.

An array of beads glimmer around the necks of a dozen passionate Woodland Wave 12 Under Armor fans. No, they did not mistake Nationals for Mardi Gras, but rather are carrying out a tradition to show support for their team.

Scott Draudt, who is a parent-fan of Woodlands Wave 12 Under Armor, explains the origin of their need for beads.

“Last year as 11s, we came to Dallas and wore beads and our girls got second place in a 12-year-old tournament,” Draudt said. “So, to rekindle that success, we are wearing the beads again this year.” 

After a Woodlands Wave 12 Under Armor outside hitter nailed a 12-foot line kill, another parent cheered, “Yeah, bring the heat.” It was evident that the beads were not the only thing shining.

Keith Anderson, Woodlands Wave 12 Under Armor head coach, has high hopes for his team this year.

“I feel really good about this team,” Anderson said. “We definitely are working for a top-five finish if not a national championship.”

Across the net from the beaded bunch lies NYC Juniors 12 Blue, which has seven girls on the court rather than the traditional six. Before contacting the tournament desk about the legalities of seven players on the court, understand that ‘The 7th Girl’ is actually a group of team dads wearing matching shirts who offer relentless support for their team.

“We have a bunch of obnoxious and rowdy guys, and every tournament we go to we yell and scream,” said Hadley Ford, who is one of The 7th Girl members for NYC Juniors 12 Blue. “One time, someone said we were like the 12th man in the football or the sixth man in basketball. So, we came up with The 7th Girl because we cheer so much on the sidelines - it’s like having an extra person on the court.”

Ford’s words came to life while NYC Juniors 12 Blue battled with Woodlands Wave 12 Under Armor. Positive cheers and constant applause were displayed among the fans throughout the match. Despite the loss, The 7th Girl group hooted and hollered for NYC Juniors 12 Blue as they shook the hands of the victors.

“They cheer us on win or lose,” said Molly Gottesman, who is a NYC Juniors 12 Blue player. “We are all just so excited to be here. They saw us win at regionals and all the other tournaments and other matches so I think they are just excited to see us playing against all these really good teams.”

Gottsman’s teammate, Qi Mei Schmidt, agreed and piped in.

“Our parents have been really supportive the whole year and they’re really helpful when we’re really down,” Schmidt said after their loss against Woodland Wave 12 Under Armor.

Despite the results, the teams and their fans agree that showing good sportsmanship is essential to the growth and development of the players both in character and physical ability.

“I think a good fan is someone who cheers for a good play no matter which team actually makes the play,” Ford said. “You have to be positive and uplifting for all the girls and show a lot of enthusiasm. It’s a great team sport for these girls to build some real character and confidence as they go out into life. It’s great to be here. It’s great for all the girls and we will cheer on for great games.”

Even at the age of 12, these players aspire to continue playing volleyball and look forward to another opportunity to come back to the USAV Girls’ Junior National Championships.

“It would be fun to continue playing volleyball and make it to Nationals as I get older and move up in divisions,” said Gottsman.

“Yeah, and I want to play in college,” said Schmidt.

As long as these girls continue their volleyball journey, their fans are sure to help them along the way.

USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships Schedule and Final Results
11 Patriot: June 28-30
12 National: June 29-July 2
12 American: June 29-July 2
13 National: June 28-July 1
13 USA: June 28-July 1
13 American: June 28-July 1
14 Open: June 30-July 3
14 National: June 30-July 3
14 USA: June 30-July 3
14 American: June 30-July 3
14 Patriot: June 30-July 3
15 Open: July 1-4
15 National: July 1-4
15 USA: July 1-4
15 American: July 1-4
15 Patriot: July 1-4
16 Open: July 2-5
16 National: July 2-5
16 USA: July 2-5
16 American: July 2-5
16 Patriot: July 2-5
17 Open: June 29-July 2
17 National: June 29-July 2
17 USA: June 29-July 2
17 American: June 29-July 2
17 Patriot: June 29-July 2
18 Open: June 28-July 1
18 National: June 28-July 1
18 USA: June 28-July 1
18 American: June 28-July 1