Batavia junior libero Maddie Jaudon recently helped her Sports Performance 16 Blue club volleyball team to a first-place finish at the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Fla. Sports Performance topped a tournament that included 46 teams, highlighting another strong showing for the program in the Sunshine State. Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley caught up with Jaudon about the experience for the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat. The following is an edited transcript:
How would you describe the Orlando experience?
Our club goes every year. It’s really exciting. When we get down there, we don’t play right away, so Sports Performance gets houses for all the teams. You get to play in a big-time environment that’s high-energy the whole time.
How much do you see of beaches or tourist attractions?
We swim a lot because all the houses have pools. Then the last day is our team free day, so the teams go wherever they want for that whole day. … We play for four days but we’re down there for six.
What have you thought of your development as a libero?
It’s been going really well. I think [each skill has] progressed pretty well equally. … I think it’s about just a lot of confidence on the court and making sure that everyone knows what they’re doing. Serve-receive is really important and you have to keep the energy level high because you have to run the back row.
Is keeping the energy going ever a chore given how amped volleyball players can be?
It’s usually not hard with volleyball players because we’re usually excited all the time. There sometimes are points you have to pump it up, but usually the girls are good because they’re always excited to play.
What did you take away from contributing to the varsity as a sophomore?
The skill level is a lot higher and you see a lot of different types of play. There’s a lot more planning involved, and scouting is a lot more important at the varsity level.
What’s the outlook for this season for Batavia? Any remaining club tournaments?
I’m just really excited for the upcoming season. I think it’s going to be a good season this year, and I’m just excited to start. ... Club ended at nationals and so usually girls go to one or two camps with their club and devote the rest to their high school teams.