From USYVL to NCAA; Katie Ristow’s Volleyball Journey Started Here!


It’s not often one recognizes one of their earliest youth sports coaches some fifteen years later. Katie Ristow, the Marketing & Events Manager for Pepperdine University, experienced déjà vu when she crossed paths with USYVL Co-Founder Randy Sapoznik at the recent Pepperdine-hosted USYVL Kids Night. Ristow, a former Miami area volleyball champion and record-setting Outside Hitter for Division II Franklin Pierce University, got her start playing volleyball with USYVL. USYVL Co-Founders Randy Sapoznik and Dale Hoffman were Ristow’s coaches throughout her first season with USYVL, and Sapoznik quickly remembered Ristow, whose mother’s presence and support of the program stood out.


At the urging of her mother, Ristow signed up to play volleyball at USYVL’s Ventura site when she was nine years of age. During her time with USYVL, Ristow not only built a strong foundation of the skills and fundamentals needed to excel at the sport, she also built many memories and a lasting love of the game.

“There are so many great memories from my time playing with USYVL. My first coach, Dale Hoffman, taught me the fundamental skills of volleyball,” Ristow recently said. “I loved that my teammates turned into friends that I was able to play with season after season with USYVL.”


Ristow, who initially turned to volleyball due to her advanced height at such a young age, recalls memories of the little extras offered by USYVL. “Being able to meet Dain Blanton after he won the gold medal during the Sydney Olympics was pretty cool!


 “I fell in love with volleyball after I attended my first college volleyball game at Pepperdine University during my first season with USYVL,” she stated. “I told my mom that night that I wanted to play volleyball in college and the rest is history!”


After Ristow completed her time with USYVL she went on to play in high school and club. When she was 16, her family moved to Miami, Florida, where she became a member of the Killian Sr. High School Varsity Volleyball team. Ristow excelled as the team’s starting Outside Hitter and was a part of a team that won the Greater Miami Athletic Conference in 2004. In 2005, Ristow and Killian Sr. High won the District and Regional Championships, going undefeated until the semi-finals of the Florida High School State Championships.


Ristow went on to start for four years as the Outside Hitter for Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, where she received her B.S. in Professional Sports Management and a minor in Marketing. While serving as a Graduate Assistant in the Marketing Department for Athletics at Florida International University (FIU), Ristow obtained a Master of Sports Management for Athletics. After a promotion to Assistant Marketing Director at FIU, Ristow moved back to Southern California and took on the Marketing & Events Management role for Pepperdine University.


Volleyball Pros Support USYVL 

Over the years, the United States Youth Volleyball League (USYVL) has enjoyed great support from many professional players, USA National Team members, Olympians and top college athletes. These appearances and clinics inspire USYVL players and volunteers, and showcase the talents and generosity of these accomplished volleyball players. Certainly, their interest in growing the game they love is evident.  

 Over the years, athletes who have appeared at USYVL sites include Olympic gold medalist, Phil Dalhausser, 3-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May Treanor, gold medalist Dain Blanton, gold medalist Donald Suxho, and gold medalist and King of the Beach Sinjin Smith. Others include Canyon Ceman, George Roumain, Alicia Robinson, Curt Toppel, Tom Hoff,  Jeff Nyggard, Chris Harger,  Billy Allen, Janelle Ruen Allen, Dustin Watten, Gary Sato, Bibiana Candelas, Tracy Morin,  John Mayer,  and Braidy Halverson. 


At USYVL, we can’t thank these tremendous athletes enough for sharing their time and techniques with us.


Look for more clinics and appearances from the nation’s top volleyball players soon!

Learning proper techniques from the outset can be important for many disciplines, and volleyball certainly is no exception. United States Youth Volleyball League’s (USYVL) proven teaching methods help kids develop proper form in a fun, supportive environment. With Clinicians – our experts in volleyball instruction -- at each site overseeing the teaching curriculum, ensuring that our coaches are utilizing the most effective coaching methods, the kids are given a proven system for success. There is nothing more fun than watching the joy kids have while they learn, and improve upon, their volleyball skills. 


Many of the kids in USYVL go on to play volleyball in high school and college. More importantly, all players take with them the spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship, which has benefits well beyond the boundaries of the court.   


Find out more about programs in your area. If you do not have a USYVL program in your community, and would like to help start one, give the USYVL National Office a call at (888) 988-7985.  Click here to view the list of existing programs. Registration is open.


On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, professional beach volleyball players Billy Allen, Andrew Fuller and Janelle Allen took a stroll to the Hermosa Beach USYVL site.


They took this opportunity to do some volleyball skill demonstrations for the kids, show them what playing volleyball at a higher level is like and topped it off with some cool prizes.


The players graciously stayed to watch the kids play their scheduled games and at the end signed autographs for each one!


Thank you to Billy, Andrew and Janelle for making it a very special day for the Hermosa Beach USYVL kids!


USA Men’s Volleyball Visits USYVL

The London Olympics were just around the corner and it was a perfect opportunity for two of the USA Men’s National Volleyball Team members to visit USYVL.

With the Norceca Men’s Qualifier happening the week of May 7 at the Long Beach State Pyramid, Will Price and Antwain Aguillard took the opportunity to visit a USYVL site.  They did some demos and spent time on the court with the kids on a sunny Wednesday afternoon on May 2.

It was a fabulous experience, not only for the kids but for the coaches and parents!

Will Price is a former Penn State player who was the 2009 – AVCA First Team All-American ... NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team.

Antwain Aguillard was named the 2010 All-MPSF Third-Team and led the team in blocks.

We wish the USA Men’s Volleyball Team much success in the Olympics!





Twice during the year, USYVL holds training at their national office located in Torrance for all their new and returning Clinicians (volleyball instructors).

On Saturday, August 13, USYVL Clinicians had the opportunity to be trained by two of the best, Marv Dunphy and Tom Hoff. 

Marv Dunphy, one of the most successful volleyball coaches in the United States and current coach for the Pepperdine Waves Men’s Volleyball Team. 

Tom Hoff, an Olympic Gold Medalist and one of the best middle blockers for the United States Men’s National Team. 

Thank you to Marv and Tom for making the training a special day and an absolute learning experience for all involved!

Dain Blanton, Olympic Gold Medalist, addressed over 200 clinic participants about the importance of education in his life and the path to success in volleyball.

Clinic participants at the 2011 Sharefest had the opportunity to hear Dain’s story, ask questions and even hold the gold medal! 

It was exciting for the kids to hear how he and his partner battled the Brazilian team for the gold medal and how all of that contributed to his career as a sportscaster and motivational speaker.


USYVL runs a volleyball clinic at the Sharefest Youth Development Academy!

The clinic took place Thursday, August 11 at California State University Dominguez Hills.  Over 200 middle school students had the opportunity to learn volleyball skills from some of the best volleyball players.

As a special treat, Dain Blanton, 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist of Men's Beach Volleyball, stopped by to talk to the kids, work with them in learning the sport and signed autographs!

The Laguna Niguel Clinician staff had a great addition this Spring, Tom Hoff!

He is bringing his experience playing and coaching volleyball to the volunteer coaches and players at the Laguna Niguel USYVL.  You might say that program is lucky! 

Tom was a standout at Ohio state and then Long Beach State where he was the AVCA First-Team All-American in 1995 and 1996.  

To top it off he was one of the most dominating players on the United States Men's National Team and won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. 

Tom Hoff USYVL



Audra started playing at the Pasadena, Maryland USYVL and played for a number of years during the Spring and Fall seasons!  Since leaving USYVL’s league, Audra attended The Catholic High School of Baltimore.  She made the varsity team as a freshman.  She worked her way up and played setter position for her sophomore and junior years. Audra won the Spirit Award in her junior year for her motivation in getting the team to the conference championship.  As Captain and outside hitter in her senior year, the team was able to have an undefeated season resulting in 2009 being added to the Volleyball banner, after a 17 year absence. This resulted in her being named an IAAM League All Star.   “My goal during my high school years was to get a year up on the banner.”  

During the spring sessions of USYVL, Audra volunteered at the Pasadena, Maryland site as an assistant coach for the 8-10 year olds.  “I love working with the younger children and it gave me experience in leadership.”  

Audra is now a freshman at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois studying psychology.  “Since Illinois State is a Division 1 school, I decided to play intramural volleyball so I can concentrate on my academics and not lose my scholarship.”  



UC Irvine Players Sign Autographs for USYVL Kids

What a great opportunity to watch high level volleyball and be able to talk to the players.  That was what happened at the UC Irvine International Volleyball Tournament. 

USYVL players from Orange County sites had their game day at UC Irvine's Crawford Field.  Prior to the start of their games, they received a special treat from the UC Irvine Men's Volleyball Team.  

The team played a short exhibition game and then signed autographs for the kids.  Thank you to UC Irvine and David Kniffin for making this a special day for USYVL!

Becca was 8 years old when she started playing for USYVL, and learned early on that she really liked spiking the ball.  It didn't always go where she wanted it to for a few years, but it still felt so good to hit the ball HARD!  After many years of USYVL she moved on to club volleyball, played all through high school, and is now finishing up her senior year at Hendrix College, in Conway, Arkansas.  She was a starting outside hitter all four years at this NCAA Division III school, where she set the record for All time Career Kills and was second in All Time Career Attempts and Most Kills in a Season.  Becca still loves playing volleyball, and also loves coaching volleyball.   Look for her at USYVL summer camps in the near future!

Hannah was one of the very first USYVL kids, starting at 6 1/2 years old.  She especially loved playing defense, digging and chasing balls was her specialty!  She grew into not only an excellent defensive player, but worked very hard to become an outstanding setter, as well. 

She continued to play competitively through middle school and high school, earning numerous awards as setter for Thousand Oaks High School including  1) Ventura County Player of the Year and 2) Marmonte League Player of the Year (twice!) 

She is currently a sophomore at the University of the Pacific, where she is the starting setter for their NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Team, playing in the Big West Conference.  She also loves playing beach volleyball and is looking forward to the spring, for the first season of NCAA Women's Sand Volleyball.    From early on, Hannah has loved the game, and credits USYVL for starting her on the path to playing at the highest level!

It's Official!  The Fall 2010 season has ended.  Thank you for a great Season, we look forward to seeing All of you in the Spring!


USYVL Volleyball Team Red

F un

A ction

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The USYVL is all about good sportsmanship by learning and playing volleyball in a fun, safe, supervised environment.  "Every Child Plays" and is automatically a starter when they sign up to play in the USYVL. USYVL Instructors and coaches teach the proper volleyball skills and teamwork.  


Join a team today! 



Recently we invited AVP pro beach volleyball players Braidy Halverson and John Mayer to talk about their careers as professionals and to demonstrate their skills to the kids on game day. John taught the kids some setting techniques while Braidy stole the show with his spiking ability.


It was great to see the pros in action and we look forward to more pros coming out and showing the kids their skills! Thanks, John and Braidy!


Pro Beach Volleyball Players Braidly Halverson

AVP and FIVB beach volleyball star Phil Dalhausser stopped by USYVL Oxnard to show the kids his 2008 Olympic Gold Medal! Needless to say, the kids AND the parents were thrilled to see 6'9" Phil signing autographs and handing out golden volleyballs while demonstrating skills on a very low net. Thanks for coming out, Phil!

Phil Dalhausser Youth Volleyball Day



Misty May & Kerri Walsh Volleyball


We would like to thank everyone who came out to this first-time event! Friday through Sunday, July 25-27, was a huge hit with kids, parents, and players!


The USYVL booth was in constant action with USYVL beach balls to every visitor that came by the booth. For our USYVL kids, we had a special shirt which read, "Look Who Signed My USYVL Tee!" with space underneath for every AVP professional to autograph. We received lots of great comments from the pros about how cool the shirt was for the kids to have and for the players to sign.




Face-painting was a huge hit with the kids. USYVL Program Coordinator, Nancy Ciullo used her artistic skills to paint volleyballs, USA flags, and many more fun things on kids' faces and arms. She was so good, we thought the line of kids would never end! Among our favorite Nancy-illustrations were the Brazilian and Mexican flags, a vanilla cupcake, and a tiger.


On Saturday, two-time Gold Medalist Misty May stopped by the USYVL booth for an autograph session and, after winning the tournament, took a group picture with all the USYVL kids and their cool autograph shirts! Not only is she the #1 player in the world, but she's a great person too. Thank you, Misty!