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Hello! I wanted to take the time to introduce myself as a new member of USA Volleyball and the High Performance team. I’m excited to join the HP staff and join in on their wonderful work with volleyball in the US. I look forward to working with all of you and providing the best service possible. My main responsibilities will be working on the logistics of High Performance programs, including Coaches’ Clinic, HP Championships and various camps. I will also oversee VIK ordering for the Junior/Youth National and HP Championship teams, tryouts and camps. Additionally, I will be the liaison to the Olympic Training Centers and provide support for USAV programming at those facilities. I join USA Volleyball after having spent the last two and half years with the United States Olympic Committee. While working in the Operations Department at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I had the opportunity to oversee logistics and planning for multiple sports, including USA Volleyball. In 2010, I earned my masters of business administration from the University of Colorado-Denver with a focus in sports and entertainment management. I also have several years of experience in higher education, working at a small liberal arts college in the Student Life Division. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I also play soccer and basketball and enjoy hiking, road biking and mountain biking. I look forward to getting to know all of you and if I can be of help to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Favorite warm-up song: “Call Me Maybe” Scorekeeping or Line Judging? Why? Line judging ‘cause it’s fun to be overly exaggerated when you make a call and you can make people laugh. “Gotta have” snack between matches at a tournament: Snickers, hot dog and Gatorade If you could meet any current or past Olympian, who would it be and why? Aldis Berzins because he was the all time best passer or Lloy Ball just because he was the one I looked up to when I was growing up. Other sports/activites/hobbies: Soccer, reading, sleeping and ping pong (just ask Charlie Sullivan) When did you start playing volleyball? As soon as I was born! I was never too far away from a ball; it’s just how I grew up. What are your personal career goals? To be a head coach of a four-year college program. Are you from a “volleyball family”? Do any of your family members play collegiate or professional sports? That’s an understatement… my family is volleyball. My sister, Mackenzie, is a freshman setter at the University of Maryland. My parents have run Tampa Bay Juniors for 29 years and they also run the Big South girls’ qualifier. My dad coaches high school, not to mention my mom played as USF. I was born into it. Who was the most influential person in helping you to develop as a volleyball player? Definitely my family, but I’d say more specifically, my dad. He’s always there to push me and work on specific things when I need to. He never underestimates my abilities and he really believes in me. The cool part about him being my dad is I can go in with him at any point and work on specific things and we’ll be in the gym for hours trying to get a certain task done. My sister probably pushes me more than my dad though because she is always competing with me and I hate losing. Always when we’re practicing together, we talk so much smack through the net. There are times when my dad makes us run because of it and he refuses to put us on the same side of the net. The both of us coach each other and it really is a neat relationship that we have. We’re always there to push each other. My mom is kind of the unsung hero of the Dagostino’s. She’s always in the stands with my grandmas but she never misses an opportunity to give me a tip from the sideline. I couldn’t have asked for a better family because every single one of us coaches each other and helps each other out with volleyball. What part of your background best prepared you for playing at an elite level? Growing up in my family and never being more than 20 feet from a volleyball, not to mention how competitive our household is. What USAV HP Programs have you been involved in? Are these different from other programs you have been involved in? If so, what makes them different? Select A1, Youth A2 and I’ve been to three holiday camps. What makes it different is that everyone is playing at the highest level possible and the atmosphere is so competitive. It challenges each person to do their best. What is the happiest moment in your volleyball career? Playing in the finals at HP Championships against Chile. It was great just making the finals and playing in front of the crowd. It was really cool how I could play in front of my friends that were even back home in Tampa who were watching the live stream. Even now, there are a few people from my school that come up to me and say “Hey! I watched you play volleyball over the summer against Chile!” or something like that. That makes me feel accomplished, like I’ve done something with the opportunities I’ve been given.

’ Brush up on your skills this month because boys’ tryouts start in January! If you are interested in vying for a spot on a USA Volleyball High Performance National team, you should plan to attend a tryout. Tryouts are offered for men and boys: Men’s Junior National Age Group—Men born in 1993 or 1994 Boys’ Youth National Age Group—Boys born in 1995 or 1996 Boys’ Select Age Group—Boys born in 1997 or 1998 Boys’ Future Select Age Group—Boys born in 1999 or 2000 The 2013 boys’ tryout schedule is below. Register for a tryout by clicking on the tryout city! (All tryouts will close three days prior to the tryout date at 6:00 AM MST.) For more information regarding tryouts, visit or email

Jan. 6, 2013

Anaheim, Calif.

American Sports Centers

5-8 p.m.

Jan. 11, 2013

San Mateo, Calif.

San Mateo Event Center

6-9 p.m.

Jan. 18, 2013

Rochester, N.Y.

Main Street Armory

6-9 p.m.

Jan. 21, 2013

Vernon Hills, Ill.

Adversity Volleyball Club Facility

6:30-9:30 p.m.

Jan. 26, 2013

York, PA

York Expo Center

6-9 p.m.

Jan. 27, 2013

Huntingdon, Pa.

Juniata College—Kennedy Center

6-9 p.m.

Feb. 1, 2013

Waukesha, Wis.

Center Court Sports Complex

6-9 p.m.

Feb. 1, 2013

Daytona Beach, Fla. Ocean Center

6-9 p.m.

Feb. 2, 2013

Phoenix, Ariz.

Grand Canyon University

2-5 p.m.

Feb. 3, 2013

Denver, Colo.

Johnson & Wales University— Wildcat Center

2-5 p.m.

Feb. 10, 2013

Anaheim, Calf.

American Sports Centers

5-8 p.m.

Feb. 15, 2013

Belleville, Ill.

Family Sportsplex

6-9 p.m.

Feb. 24, 2013

Vernon Hills, Ill.

Adversity Volleyball Club Facility

6-9 p.m.

March 3, 2013

Honolulu, Hawaii

University of Hawaii—Klum Gym

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

March 9, 2013

Raleigh, N.C.

Triangle Volleyball Club

6-9 p.m.

Describe some improvements you want to make in the coming year in the physical or mental side of your game. I want to continue to improve my defense, especially deflections off the block. I also just want to get stronger and faster in general. As for as the mental side of things, I think it’s important to continue to develop as a court leader and help my teams by being a key communicator. Do you want to play volleyball collegiately and/or professionally? Do you strive to represent the USA one day as an Olympian? Yes to all the above. It’s been a dream of mine ever since I met Lloy Ball and Tom Hoff when I was three years old and watched them play in the Americas Cup. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think what it would be like to wear that jersey, holding my flag, and listening to the “Star Spangled Banner” as the gold medal hangs around my neck.

As an athlete, you burn countless calories, but even so, you're not immune to gaining weight. While food fuels your muscles, it also feeds your feelings. When eating is triggered by an emotion rather than physiological hunger, it's known as 'emotional eating'. It comes at a cost to your health and here are some of the causes, dangers and solutions.

Emotional hunger

Emotional eating is distinctly different from physical hunger. It strikes suddenly, whereas the rumblings of physiological hunger occur gradually. Emotional hunger is a psychological need to fill a void and generally involves a craving for a specific food, i.e., a 'comfort food'. On the other hand, physiological hunger can be satisfied by any variety of foods and isn't focused on one particular item.

Comfort Foods

Comfort foods are foods that you crave to obtain a good feeling when you're in negative mood, such as when you're angry or depressed. But you may also reach for comfort foods to sustain good, positive emotions, such as when you're happy, relieved or elated. Comfort foods become dangerous when they're unhealthy choices. The most popular comfort foods for women are ice cream, chocolate and cookies, whereas men tend to gravitate towards pizza, steak, casserole and chips.



When physiological hunger is satisfied, you're more likely to stop eating, whereas when you're eating to satisfy an emotional need, you're more likely to continue eating past the point of being full. Emotional overeating often results in feelings of guilt and defeat if you're trying to lose weight. These feelings can trigger yet another emotional eating binge.

The Dangers

When you're eating emotionally and not when you physiologically need food, you'll tend to consume more calories than your body needs. If these extra calories aren't used, they'll be stored as fat which can eventually lead to health problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Managing Your Emotions Children who are given food as a reward or to cope with emotions, such as cookies or ice cream to 'cheer them up', never learn to manage their emotions. When food becomes their friend and their only strategy to resolve emotional distress, they risk the associated dangers of overeating and unhealthy eating. Know Your Triggers

Take ownership of your emotions and health. Dealing with emotions is a skill that's learned. Triggers often include: loneliness, boredom, sadness, fear, frustration, stress, depression, deprivation, anxiety, shame, lack of control, avoidance, and defeat. When you have the urge to eat emotionally, consider the following alternatives to cope: Express your emotions rather than shove them down with food. Call a friend or write about your feelings in a private journal. Get physical or productive. Get some fresh air! Go for a walk, play with your pet or play a game. (Exercise helps release endorphins that trigger feelings of well-being.) Wash the car, help around the house, do laundry, or redecorate your room. Calm yourself. Do yoga or meditate. Seek help. Individual or group counseling may be effective in coping with emotional stress. Find ways to have fun and laugh.

Be Aware of Your Behavior

Be careful not to substitute your emotional coping mechanism (eating) with one that can lead to another negative out-of-control (addictive) behavior, such as shopping or drugs/alcohol.


The solution to emotional eating is to first recognize it as well as identify a pattern. The next time you have the urge to eat: Stop and ask yourself if you're physically hungry. Then rate your level of hunger on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being ravenous and 1 being barely hungry). Next, rate your mood. Are you happy, sad, lonely, bored, stressed, etc.? Then note what food you're craving. This exercise will help you identify whether your need to eat is emotional or physiological, which emotions trigger you to eat, and which emotions are associated with particular foods.

Exercise control

It's not necessary to completely eliminate comfort foods from your eating plan. Eat them in moderation. If you can satisfy a craving with a few spoonfuls of ice cream versus a whole pint, then that's okay. The key is to learn how to manage your emotions and control the cravings. Karen Owoc is a clinical exercise physiologist and professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine and International Society of Sports Nutrition. She is a long-time volleyball parent and currently works in cardiac rehabilitation. Karen also promotes health and fitness through various forms of media and can be reached via

by: - The Official Recruiting Tool of USA Volleyball Now that the holiday season is here, it is easy to sit back and enjoy your free time. However, if you want college volleyball to be in your future, here is a checklist to keep you from getting behind and instead, put you ahead of the pack! 1. Research What do you want your college experience to look like? The answer will help you start to figure out what direction you want to pursue when it comes to the next level. Do you see yourself moving out of state, playing in a certain division, or pursuing a specific major? Consider what is important to you in a college experience, and think broad! 2. Talk with your Parents This may not be your favorite step, but it definitely is an important one. Take time to sit down with your parents and talk through your options as a family. It is key to be realistic about what you are capable of athletically (division), academically, as well as what your family can financially afford. Of course it would be great to go across the country to a high level university where money isn’t an issue. However, reality for most of us is that finance is a huge contributor. It’s no secret that volleyball scholarships are out there, however, only a small percentage of players will get a full ride. Once you and your parents get on the same page, you can start exploring your options. 3. Target List Time With over 1,500 programs that sponsor women’s volleyball, there are way more options then you might initially realize. Keeping your criteria in mind, come up with a list of 25 - 50 schools that meet your needs. Don’t be shy during this step. It doesn’t hurt to be aggressive and adventurous. Make sure to consider things that are important to you; location, major, division, size, etc. Seems intimidating to make that big of list? You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be! Recruiting Tools like have done all the leg work for you. Using the school search feature, you can simply punch in the aspects that are important to you, and the system will generate a list of all the programs in the country that meet your criteria. 4. Make a Recruiting Video There are three types of video college coaches request: A skills video (drills that pertain to your position), a highlight reel (the best of your competition footage), and unedited footage (raw, un-edited game footage). This video is the hook you use to get coaches on your court, watching you play in person this upcoming season. It’s ESSENTIAL that you are prepared with a recruiting video BEFORE your first major recruiting tournament. Video can be a pain to deal with and rather time-consuming so don’t put it off. If you're not tech savvy, it’s usually worth your time and frustration to look into professional help. members have access to our team of video experts who can help edit professional skills videos and / or highlight reels. We use isolation effects in each clip to help coaches identify you from your teammates and competition immediately. See sample. 5. Promote Yourself The MOST important step in your recruiting process is how you choose to promote yourself. This is the dealmaker or breaker! College coaches have an endless list of players that they are evaluating. How can you stand out and how can you increase your chances? You MUST put yourself in front of the college coaching community. Just playing club volleyball won’t cut it. Start by sending your target list an introductory email that links to your recruiting video and player profile. members utilize a built-in messaging system to contact college coaches. When coaches receive your message, a link to your full profile and video is automatically included that gives coaches instant access to your video, stats, contact info etc - everything that is hosted on your online player profile will be visible to the coach with the click of a button. (

’ 2012 Programs: Boys’ Youth A2 Assistant Coach, Boys’ A3 and Training Camp Head Coach in Vernon Hills, Boys’ Future Select Camp Assistant Coach in Colorado Springs IMPACT Certified

What led you to become a coach? While playing at Loyola, I really found a passion for coaching when I would help out during the summer at our boys’ camp and at camps at Purdue University. What is the best thing about being a coach? When you can see the eureka moment in a player’s eyes when a skill that had felt like a rubik’s cube suddenly or gradually becomes connect the dots to them on the court. What has been the biggest influence in your career? Coming up just short of Loyola’s first-ever MIVA tournament title my senior year in 2010 has provided much of the determination within me to continue to improve as a coach daily. My experiences playing professionally in both Greece and Austria truly opened my eyes to volleyball beyond our NCAA to U.S. National Team system and pipeline. That experience helped broaden my perspective on the sport. What or who has been most inspiring to you, either personally or professionally? My grandmother was truly the organizational leader on my mother’s side of our extended family, and when she suffered a stroke she lost the ability to speak (except for the word for “yes” in Latvian). In the following years that she lived with our family, she still always kept my brothers and I in line throughout our high school years and wielded much the same authority within our family as she had before her stroke. What do you do in your free time? Play volleyball (beach in the summer), ride my bike, read the “Time Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century” and touch –up on my Spanish. What are your personal career goals? I hope to help bring Loyola its first ever NCAA Championship What does the future hold for you - any exciting plans, developments? The 2013 NCAA season is right around the corner. The first days of training right after Christmas still bring that feeling of excitement and anticipation to showcase just how hard the guys have worked to prepare all preseason. Describe some of your most important career accomplishments. As a player, I was truly honored to compete with and against some great guys throughout my playing career, but honestly, the happiest day in my playing career was when I was able to fly back to my house for fall break my freshman year and tell my dad that I had made the team at Loyola at his 50th birthday party. As a relatively young coach, being chosen to help organize and head coach the USA HP camp at Vernon Hills was truly a great experience. The opportunity opened my eyes to many of the intricacies and decisions that change from being an assistant coach to a head coach, and I hope to build from that experience moving forward. What book is a must-read for all coaches? For players? “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein for both coaches and players. “That which you manifest is before you.” Do you have any advice to offer parents? As a player, I had to walk-on at Loyola and came one poor open gym performance away from being cut my freshman year. What truly allowed me to stay focused and confident in that situation were the values that my parents had instilled in me since I could remember walking, which were remaining 100 percent committed until the job is done, always evaluate and learn from both failures and successes, and be confident that anything I put all of my energy and focus into was achievable.

’ 2012 Programs: NCVA Regional Youth Boys’ Head Coach, USA Girls’ Future Select A1 Assistant Coach, USA Girls’ Youth A3 Assistant Coach IMPACT Certified; CAP III Pending What led you to become a coach? The coaches I had in my career taught me to be a leader and to love the game of volleyball. I wanted to share my knowledge and passion for volleyball. What is the best thing about being a coach? The opportunity to change a players life for the better. Being a coach has also changed my perspective, outlook, and who I am as a person. I find myself being more open and understanding of different perspectives. What has been the biggest influence in your career? My experience coaching for USA Volleyball has changed my coaching philosophy. I have become more accountable and responsible for my coaching decisions and actions. What or who has been most inspiring to you, either personally or professionally? What has inspired me is a combination of people, events, and athletes. My greatest influences growing up were Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice. These were two phenomenal athletes who were driven by more than money or success. They were the first ones in the gym or on the practice field, and the last ones to leave. What do you do in your free time? What free time? On the rare weekends I have off, I watch football and baseball. I have three fantasy football teams, and two fantasy baseball teams. What is your coaching philosophy? I am a big proponent on two way communication in regards to teaching volleyball. I want my players to have a full understanding of the reasoning behind developing a certain skill. My philosophy is to teach the technical side along with the passion to compete. What are your personal career goals? To be a head coach of a four-year college program. What does the future hold for you - any exciting plans, developments? Major expansion of my youth volleyball club, that I founded seven years ago. We will have 16 teams this year, and a long term commitment to a volleyball facility. I am excited that we have held true to our mission statement of providing players the opportunity to play volleyball. We are successfully growing the game. Which is the hardest thing you ever had to do as a coach? Cut a player What are you most proud of as a coach? Developing players that have gone on to play in college. Also passing on my love of volleyball and helping players understand that volleyball can be a life long passion, whether it is playing, or coaching. What are some important lessons learned? Compromise, patience, and understanding is key. Be consistent in your message to players.

What are some important lessons learned? Keep everything you say short and meaningful. How would your players describe you as a coach? Passionate and focused. Do you have any pet peeves? Not hitting the floor on defense. What are you most proud of as a coach? Having the pleasure to coach an AVCA All-America Second-Team and former teammate in opposite, Joe Smalzer. What’s the best advice you could give to someone getting into coaching? As a former player moving right into coaching, the most important thing that I had to learn was that you have to get comfortable with not having the ability to control and physically make a play to help your team succeed. As a coach, the focus really has to shift to making sure your players and team are in a comfortable mindset psychologically and emotionally on the court to make those plays. How do you define success? At the end of any day/match/season, if you can look at yourself in the mirror and honestly not have a single “what if” thought regarding your own effort, desire or preparation, then you are following your passion and enjoying. What motivates you? A focused inner desire to improve daily and to be the best at anything I set my mind to. Whether it is tic-tac-toe or volleyball, I love to compete, and hopefully, I can continue to improve at cultivating that desire any time I have the opportunity to coach. What is your coaching philosophy? When players enjoy the “grind” built into the process of quickly learning from collective and individual missteps and successes then wiping the slate clean for the next play, you often find yourself with a successful, dedicated and focused team.

How would your players describe one of your practices? Structured and dynamic. Do you have any pet peeves? Walking in practice, missed serves, and players saying "I know" or "I can't". Describe some of your most important career accomplishments. My most recent accomplishment is being the head coach of the NCVA Boys’ Youth Regional Team who earned a silver medal at the USA Volleyball HP Championships in the Regional Division in 2011, and a second silver medal at the USA Volleyball HP Championships in the National Division in 2012. Developing and recruiting players who went on to win a NAIA Conference Championship. What book is a must-read for all coaches? For players? “Mind Gym, An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence.” The mental side of a players game is a skill that needs to be taught and nurtured as well. Do you have any advice to offer parents? Support and encourage your players in a positive balanced manner. What’s the best advice you could give to someone getting into coaching? Surround yourself with experienced coaches who are willing to share their philosophies. Keep an open mind to new teaching techniques. Attend as many clinics you can, and go through the USA Volleyball CAP Certification process. How do you define success? Developing players to the best of their ability, and transferring those abilities to competition. Athletes reaching their goals. What motivates you? Success as previously defined. When a player or program acknowledges my efforts with a "Thank you coach.”

6. Meet with your Club Coach Make sure your club coaches are up-to-date about your goals and target list. If your coach is aware of your list and in tune with what you want, they can contribute! Understand that most club coaches will not do your recruiting work for you. However, they can give you suggestions on what division you should aim for, speak with a college coach about your strengths, character and work ethic on your behalf, and communicate with college coaches regarding your program interests. 7. Be Proactive…Constantly Don’t settle. If you think you have everything done that will get you recruited (even this list), you aren’t finished. It is a constant process that you must be aggressive about. You can always make your target list longer, update your video, email more coaches, go on campus visits, call college coaches, and train harder. If you are constantly proactive, it will pay off. Go get busy this holiday season! All HP Athletes receive $50 off any Recruiting Package using the code “HP2012” at checkout. View Recruiting Package Options here: View Sample Highlight reels here: Check out more articles in our Free Recruiting Guide here:

My love for volleyball began during my senior year of high school. My friends and I made it a point to be the biggest supporters of our high school’s volleyball team. We attended every game as our girls’ team made their run to the state championship game. The excitement I had watching volleyball inspired me to go on and play in a “peach fuzz” intramural boys’ volleyball league, which our team would ultimately go on to win. My interest would only continue to grow as I began to follow the collegiate and international volleyball scenes. I obtained my undergraduate degree from Colorado State University in mass communications; however, my passion has always lied in working with you and working in sports. I went on to become a sports coordinator for a YMCA in Arvada, Colo. There we ran volleyball clinics, camps and leagues and I often found myself in the role as a coach or camp director. There I moved on to a director position for adult sports in Glendale, Colo. The first program I built while at this position was an adult volleyball league. The sense of community, camaraderie and pure excitement of volleyball was easy to sell as we saw our league numbers far exceed expectations. During the time I worked for Glendale, I successfully completed my master’s program in Sport Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. My dream has always been to be involved in the Olympic movement and that dream was realized as I began to work with USA Boxing’s high performance department, and then with USA Weightlifting in a similar capacity. Working for USA Volleyball is an honor that I take quite seriously and I am determined to make the most of this opportunity. I look forward to interacting with many of you and gaining invaluable knowledge that I will carry on with me as I begin to move forward at USA Volleyball.

Tom Pingel Senior Director

Denise Sheldon Manager

Collin Powers Senior Manager

Tim Ambruso Coordinator

Phone: 719.228.6800 Fax: 719.228.6899

Monica Sedillo Assistant

Heath Hoke Manager

Brandon Dyett Coordinator

Inside HP - November-December 2012  

Monthly newsletter on USA Volleyball High Performance