Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seattle VB | Ellis leaves SU; Junior Volleyball gears up

Shannon Ellis leaves a strong legacy at Seattle U
Girls and boys club volleyball tryouts in full swing

Shannon Ellis is a class act.

Shannon Ellis
-photo by Eric Badeau for Seattle University
Since taking over the helm of the Seattle University volleyball program in 2004, Ellis has always been a bright light on the Seattle-area volleyball scene.

With the recent birth of her third child, Ellis announced last night that she is stepping down to focus on raising her family.

During her tenure, Seattle U moved to Division 1, spent several seasons barnstorming as an independent, and finally landed in the whacky Western Athletic Conference, where schools come and go like passengers on a train platform.

Through it all, she has remained unfailingly optimistic and upbeat, a trademark grin almost always on her face. She embraced the presence of her big brother up the road—national power Washington—by adopting several UW innovations while adding touches of her own.

Mostly, we remember her for reaching out to kids in her summer camps, often serving those who are just learning the game and others who might otherwise be overlooked. Her outreach is consistent with Seattle University’s strong community service mission.

Seattle U will now conduct a national search for a new head coach, but may need to take a long look at the man who has headed the team during much of Ellis’ maternity leave: Teron Uy. “T”—like Shannon—is another of the good guys in Northwest volleyball.

Club tryouts arrive with blinding speed, and many spots for youngsters 8-18 years old are already filled. But there are still spaces available. Visit the excellent website for the Puget Sound Region of USA Volleyball for details.

Pepperdine's Matt West (1)
The fastest-growing segment of the Northwest volleyball community is the boys’ program. Director Allan Chinn is busy spreading the word that the number of clubs is expanding, and the talent level is growing. Local product Matt West, for example, is now playing at Pepperdine, where he was one of the nation’s top collegiate recruits.

In addition to the Puget Sound Region website, Chinn has a Facebook page and a blog, both with plenty of information.

And when you attend Wednesday’s Arizona State @ Washington match, you’ll see a boys’ volleyball exhibition during the break between the second and third sets.

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