The 14th Annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard passed through Virginia on Tuesday, February 5 to recognize Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)
High School and its girls volleyball team for winning a state championship and earning a high national ranking.
Having upended North Stafford 25-23, 25-15, 25-16 in the VHSL Class 5A state championship contest, the 29-0 Cavaliers claimed their second state volleyball title in three years, earned the No. 22 ranking in MaxPreps' National Rankings
and played their way into the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Writers' Poll
at No. 17!
In order to be selected to the Tour of Champions, the premier high school sports award tour in the country, a team has to be "more than good…more than great. They've got to be relentless. They've got to be tenacious. They've got to be unstoppable!" And Princess Anne definitely fits that bill.
One of only 10 volleyball programs to receive an invitation to this year's TOC, the Cavaliers made frequent visits to the Jersey Shore, the hometown of head coach Craig Dooren, for team building exercises. They also embraced frequent CrossFit team workouts in the off-season to prepare for the season.
"What made this team so great was their cohesion," explained Princess Anne athletic director Robert Robbins. "I have never seen a team so cohesive in everything they do. It was awesome to see!"
Not only have the Cavaliers been chosen to this year's Tour of Champions, Princess Anne was the tour's 1,000th stop during its 14-year journey. Along the way, the TOC has had to overcome chemical spills, school lockdowns, ice storms and much more, yet it never wavered, but held true to its goal of honoring the premier high school sports teams in the country.
As MaxPreps and the Virginia Army National Guard were preparing to celebrate the Cavaliers for the third time in 14 years, they encountered another obstacle. A loud bang rang out as the school fell into a power outage. Robbins and MaxPreps representative Armand Milanesi huddled up to determine the scenarios, while the boys and girls basketball teams warmed up in a gymnasium without light. The first thought was to reschedule. But then Cavalier volleyball players and their proud parents began arriving wearing wide smiles. With all of the TOC personnel in place, including the videographer and photographer, Panera Bread meals for the coaches, players and their parents and the Virginia Army National Guard, the decision was made to honor the Cavaliers outside in front of the gymnasium.
In a race against darkness, Milanesi spoke briefly about Princess Anne's on-court accomplishments before handing the ceremony over to Sergeant First Class Darren Percy of the Virginia Army National Guard, who is no stranger to the Tour of Champions.
SFC Percy talked about honor, duty, respect, leadership and commitment to cause, shared character traits of the Army National Guard and a state championship volleyball team, before presenting Dooren and the Cavaliers with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy and a nationally ranked rafter banner. The Cavaliers, who join the 2010-11 and 2016-17 Princess Anne girls basketball teams as recipients of the TOC, wore their commemorative 1,000th Stop Tour of Champions t-shirts and took pictures, while Dooren and a few of his players conducted interviews following the ceremony.
Congratulations to the Princess Anne girls volleyball team! You were the perfect representative for our 1,000th stop on the TOC. You were more than good... you were more than great. You were relentless. You were tenacious. And you were unstoppable!
to view the Princess Anne TOC photo gallery and for more information about the Volleyball TOC, please visit the MaxPreps Tour of Champions site