Midwest Penguins Volleyball Club, in partnership with E.C.H.O., will host the fourth annual Big Ball Bash at Center Court Sports Complex in Waukesha. The two-night event will raise money for Penguins Teams headed to USAV Nationals, as well as E.C.H.O., or Empowering Change Through Healthy Opportunities, a nonprofit organization that provides individuals and families with educational programs and recreational activities to promote health and fitness.
“We’re thankful to everyone who has participated in the event in the past, and who has helped make it so popular,” said Anne Slattery, MWP Club Co-director and Co-founder of E.C.H.O. “Due to the demand, we’ve scheduled the event for two Friday nights this year, May 6 and May 13, to provide more opportunity for people to choose and participate.”
Teams of adults 18 and older are encouraged to sign up, and select which day they’d like to play.
More than 50 teams have registered in previous years, so teams are encouraged to sign up early.
Teams will compete in a cross-over volleyball tournament during the event using a massive 4-foot inflatable volleyball.
“It’s fun, and entertaining, and actually quite the challenge taking on the four-foot ball,” said Slattery.
Volunteers, including Midwest Penguin National Team Athletes, and sponsors help make the event possible.
The 36th Annual USAV Girls Junior National Tournament will take place in Milwaukee and Indianapolis this year, and several Midwest Penguin Teams plan to participate.
Center Court will provide food and drink specials for the evening, and Penguin teams have generously donated baskets for a drawing valuing between $100 and $150. A silent auction will also take place.
“Join us for a family friendly evening of fun and activity. Sign up a team or just come to watch, it’s a fantastic event, and we promise you’ll have a good time,” said Slattery.
Teams must register before the end of the day on Friday, April 22 to participate in the matches. Everyone is invited to come and watch.
Brian Drew- MWP Coaching Development Coordinator
Midwest Penguins Volleyball Club has always been committed to providing the best skill development and coaching services to its athletes. Part of that goal means providing the best possible resources for MWP Coaches.
Brian Drew has been with Midwest Penguins Volleyball Club for more than a decade, and this year has taken on the role of Coaching Development Coordinator. He’s tasked with providing the Midwest Penguin Coaching staff with the necessary feedback, advice and training needed in order to provide the best possible service to Penguin Athletes.
“I’ve had the opportunity to get advice and learn from a lot of other coaches,” Drew said. “I wanted to share what I know with other coaches”
In addition to their own expertise, it’s nice for coaches to have additional sounding boards and resources to ask questions, bounce drills off of and incorporate into their practices, Drew said.
Drew’s goal throughout the 2015-2016 season is to work with Midwest Penguin Coaches to help them where needed. Early in the year, Drew observed team practices and has continued to work with coaches to document growth, and ensure, club-wide that we’re focused not only on overcoming our weaknesses, but bettering our strengths.
“Our goal is to constantly work on improvement,” said Anne Slattery. “We want to be the best we can be. Brian’s hire has helped us do that. He’s a great asset, and one we can rely on to always have the club and our athletes’ best interest in mind. We’re hoping that with this addition, we can continually grow and expand to meet the needs of the volleyball community.”
Our coaches are committed to pushing themselves to learn more. They are constantly working to become better coaches, Drew said.
“Better coaches make better players which make better teams; better teams make a better club, and that’s something we are striving for,” he said.
In addition to observing team practices, Drew has also hosted several clinics where coaches can come together to discuss team challenges and exchange drills and ideas as well.
“We have a great staff, and a good mix of coaches that bring a lot of different experiences to the table,” Drew said. “It’s nice to bring together those kinds of resources. We all have the same goals of making all our athletes the best they can be.”
More integrated capabilities are now available on the Midwest Penguins website thanks to an acquisition in the industry.
Sport Ngin, the web services platform Midwest Penguins and other volleyball organizations use to host our website, has acquired Advanced Event Systems, the leader in volleyball competition and event management technology. The acquisition was made in an effort to provide better, more integrated services to the companies’ volleyball customers.
“AES is the most powerful suite of volleyball competition and event management technology and services in the industry,” said Justin Kaufenberg, co-founder and chief executive officer at Sport Ngin. “When you combine their technology solutions, their value added services and their team with the Sport Ngin platform, you have a really exciting whole product solution for all levels of the volleyball market.”
Volleyball has been one of the fastest growing sports using the Sports Ngin platform. Like, Midwest Penguins Volleyball club, who joined the Sports Ngin platform in 2012, clubs are looking for a more integrated approach to tournament management and tracking.
“This new relationship will make it even easier for athletes, parents and college coaches to keep track of our athletes’ careers,” said Janice Siebert, Co-director of Midwest Penguins Volleyball Club. “Having the integration technology to include the AES schedules and rankings directly in the Midwest Penguins website will help make our site a one-stop shop for information our parents and coaches are looking for.”
Midwest Penguins Volleyball club has added the AES Regional Club Rankings on its homepage to the right. Additionally, team rankings, and schedules have been added to the Midwest Penguins Team Pages with the goal of making those pages for parents and families much more interactive, Siebert added.
Regional and National Rankings are calculated using scores and information submitted by coaches throughout the industry. Win loss records are taken into account as scores and information are submitted from different tournaments across the country.
The acquisition of AES just adds to the suite of capabilities available to Midwest Penguins and other organizations using Sports Ngin.
“As we’ve grown, we always knew that providing the best experience to our customers would require us to either put significant investment into scaling our applications, or we’d need to join a technology platform.” said Brad Preston, AES owner. “In the end, we knew that our customers would benefit far more by joining Sport Ngin. Together we’re going to significantly enhance the way volleyball clubs, tournaments, and leagues run. I couldn’t be more excited.”
The Final Four of the annual Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Padre Serra Invitational was held this weekend, and several Penguin athletes came away winners.
St. Mary's Hales Corners, which includes Penguins, Angela Rinelli, Julia Jones, Maddie Hoch, and Katie Hoch, came away winners in the championship game on Sunday, March 20.
Additionally, Penguins Camryn Keys, Belle Lutz, Hannah Wiese, and Bella Huschitt, made it to the elite eight with their teams before being eliminated.
"It's great to see our athletes competing at high levels in all their sports," said director, Anne Slattery. "Hard work should be rewarded, and we recognize dedication in all our athletes and families. It's just great to see."
The first Padre Serra Invitational was held in 1959, and was at the time called the "Catholic Midget League Play Off." It was held at Gesu Gym under the direction of Father Max G. Mankowski, S.J. and Jack Andrews, assisted by Joe Harden, Homer Cook, William Kucinski, and Don Sweeney.
Over the years, the invitational has grown and is one of the longest running invitational basketball tournaments in the area.
Congratulations to all our Penguin Athletes!
Teams from all over the region rallied together to show support for a fellow athlete who suffered a concussion during one of her matches. Teams wore green during practices and tournaments to support Kayla and brain injury research the weekend of March 12-14.