Let’s just get this out there: Us girls love an excuse to shop. And going back to school is perhaps the best one of all. Brands start rolling out their new lines mid-summer when we haven’t even had a chance to wear all of our bathing suits yet, malls do a myriad of promotions to get us in the door, and the fashion magazines are thick with the latest trends. This is all well and good, but as an athlete I also want to know what is out there for athletic wear and what I can look forward to picking up for the next season.
This is where our annual Shoe & Gear Review comes into play. And as our cover proudly proclaims, this is our biggest and best review yet. Our staff test drove sneakers, pants, tee’s, padded shorts and much more, so that you can use this as a guide for your fall shopping excursions. We were impressed by new styles from brands like Under Armour, Nfinity and New Balance, and pleased to see classic pieces with new and improved features from old standbys such as Mizuno and Asics. The more volleyball gear available to female players the better, is how we feel about it.
In this issue we also celebrate the collective force that girl’s volleyball represents, by taking a fun look at three colossal events that took place this summer: USAV Girls’ Junior National Championships, AAU Girls’ Junior Nationals, and the Volleyball Festival (p. 50). Tens of thousands of girls played in these massive tourneys, and we here at the magazine love to see girls getting out there and being tough on the court. It is pretty clear to us – girls rule.
And while masses of girls across the United States get ready for their fall high school seasons to begin, we will all have our collective eyes turned towards the NCAA DI Women’s squads (NCAA Women’s Preview). This is the first year in many where a clear favorite is hard to nail down. Sure, Penn State won an unprecedented fourth National Title in a row last year, but they lost a lot of muscle going into this season, and it will be exciting to see who is going to work hardest to take them down. Our guess goes to either Nebraska, Hawaii, USC or Texas. Any one of those squads could show us something incredible this season.
So here’s a toast to you strong and powerful volleyball girls: Keep playing hard and make the volleyball community proud.
Originally published in September/October 2011