Stahl makes training team for national junior volleyball squad

She's one of 24 players who will vie for 12 spots on U.S. women's junior national squad.
Posted on May 11, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — Azariah Stahl has earned another national honor, which brings with it another challenge.

The Central High School sophomore has been informed that she will be on the USA Volleyball Women’s Junior National Training Team that is expected to be announced next week.

She’s one of 24 players chosen nationwide among individuals born in 1994 and ’95 — and the training program that accompanies the selection will serve as the final tryout for the 12-member 2012 USA Indoor Women’s Junior National Team.

“It’s definitely nerve-wracking,” Stahl said Friday afternoon about the level of competition that awaits her at the training program. “To think you might be able to play overseas and represent your country, it’s a huge honor.”

The expenses-paid training program is set for July 15-29 in Des Moines, Iowa, culminating with a championship tournament.

“I was kind of surprised,” Stahl said of being chosen. “I didn’t feel I did too well at (a March 30 tryout in Vernon Hills, Ill.). But I’m very pleased to be given this opportunity. I’m kind of ecstatic, but I know I’ve got to keep preparing myself, keep working.”

Stahl’s workout regimen includes “lots of (volleyball) reps, lifting weights and plyometric exercises.”

The 12 players ultimately chosen to the junior national team will compete at the Aug. 19-27 NORCECA Continental Championships in Nicaragua. The team is expected be determined July 22, in the midst of the training program.

As she does not turn 17 until June 21, Stahl will be among the younger players on the training team.

A 5-foot-11 outside hitter for the Blue Blazers as well as a member of the Circle City 18 club team, Stahl has been playing volleyball for only about five years, but has received offers from 13 NCAA Division I programs, including seven Big Ten schools.

She said she is not necessarily close to making a decision on what college she will attend.

“Definitely,” Stahl said of whether she has aspirations of someday playing in the Olympics. “Part of my dream has been to be on the women’s national team, so that would hopefully go with it.”

Stahl notched her first national honor from USA Volleyball in 2009 when she was named to the Select A1 team, recognizing the top 50 players born in 1994 and ’95.

The daughter of John and Central volleyball coach Yolanda Stahl, Azariah also has been recognized among the nation’s top players in her class both as a freshman and sophomore based strictly on high school play.

While she’s also been an aspiring writer both of stories and songs, with an interest in designing clothes, too, Stahl said she is now thinking about studying psychology in college with an eye on becoming a therapist.

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