Gig Harbor High School senior Marin Malich took home a national title last month in New Orleans as part of the 17U Lake Tapps Volleyball Club.
There were about 60 or 70 teams in the 17U division, Malich said. In the championship game, Lake Tapps dominated, beating a team from Hawaii in two games, including a comfortable 25-17 win the final game.
For Malich, it was a satisfying end to a long club season, which runs from November through July.
“I definitely think we deserved it,” Malich said. “We’ve been working really hard. We took a few dips during the season. I think the whole team really brought it. The first day was a pretty easy day. The second day was the hardest.”
And in the finals: A blowout.
“We just creamed the team,” Malich said. “Our adrenaline kicked in and we were ready to fight and win.”
Malich’s dedication was rewarded. Driving to Lake Tapps nearly every day — a 45-minute drive each way — on top of completing schoolwork, and playing softball in the spring, wasn’t easy. During softball season, Malich wouldn’t get home until around 11 p.m., she said.
But winning the 2015 USA Girls Volleyball National Championship made the long, grueling days worth it for the 6-foot middle blocker and right side hitter.
“I always just go out and play my hardest, leave it all on the court,” Malich said.
Traveling to New Orleans was a different experience for Malich, who had never been there before. She wasn’t blown away.
“I was excited,” she said. “It wasn’t my favorite place just because it was so hot and muggy. The food was good. By the time you’re playing volleyball, you just want to go to bed. Some of us loved it and some of us didn’t. It was a cool experience.”
The girls got to explore a bit of the town, including NOLA’s legendary Bourbon Street, the main drag of the city’s oldest neighborhood, the French Quarter.
“It was crazy there,” Malich said.
Malich will have a short break before she switches gears to high school volleyball season in the fall. The Tides took seventh in the Class 4A state tournament last season, led by an experienced, senior-heavy roster.
“It’s going to be hard losing last year’s seniors,” Malich said. “Our entire starting lineup was me and all the seniors. I think we’re going to throw together a good, scrappy team. We have some younger girls this year, which will be good for the program.”