Porter heads to Florida to play in National AAU volleyball

Sarah Porter (left) and Kayla Brandon of the Illinois Central Prime Time 18 Blue which will be playing in the at the National AAU Volleyball Tournament in Orlando, Florida. It’s the biggest AAU volleyball tournament in the country.  

ARMSTRONG — Armstrong-Potomac’s Sarah Porter will be playing in the biggest Amateur Athletic Union volleyball tournament in the country.

Porter is playing for the Illinois Central Prime Time 18 Blue in the at the National AAU Volleyball Tournament in Orlando, Fla. More than a thousand teams are expected to participate in the tournament.

The tournament started on Monday and goes through Thursday with three matches played each day. 

Porter and her teammates had been practicing since November to get ready for the tournament.

“Recently we’ve been doing game-like situations so we can prepare for the stronger teams that will be at nationals,” Porter said.

Porter said serving will be key in their first few games in the tournament since the team struggled in the beginning of the season.

“We’ve gotten a lot better with serving and placement of the ball,” Porter said.  “Moving the ball around is what is going to help us out a lot against those bigger teams.”

This will be Porter’s third time participating in the tournament. She and her team played in it last year as well as in 2017.

Porter expects the team to put on a good performance in the tournament given how much work and improvement the team has shown throughout the year.

“I think we’ll do pretty well,” Porter said. “Our team has progressed really well over the whole season, so we should do pretty good at it.”

Kayla Brandon, who is also on the team, shared Porter’s view and believes the team will compete in the tournament. 

“I just think we’ve been preparing all season for AAU, so I think with all the work we have put in we can perform really well,” Brandon said. 

Porter said they expect to improve after every match because each team will be different and force them to be on their toes when it comes to strategy and making plays.

“It’s a lot different skill levels all put together,” Porter said. “It helps all of us progress.”

Porter’s father, Mark Porter, said that having another chance to play in the National AAU Tournament is a great opportunity for his daughter. 

“It’s a great experience for the girls,” Mark said. “It gives them great exposure if they want to go play in college. Hundreds of college coaches will be there.”

This will be the final season and tournament for both Porter and Brandon. Porter will be going to Millikin University in the fall whereas Brandon will be attending Parkland .