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'Once in a lifetime opportunity': Cherokee Bluff's Piland relishes winning Junior National championship with club organization
Sierra Piland
Cherokee Bluff High's Sierra Piland looks to block a shot during the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals on July 4 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Cherokee Bluff’s Sierra Piland has made lots of thrilling memories on the volleyball court. 

Winning a national championship certainly ranks right up at the top. 

On July 4, the rising Cherokee Bluff High junior was part of the A5-Stephen organization that roared back from the bottom seed to win the USA Volleyball Junior national title in the 16-Liberty division in Indianapolis.

With crowds bigger than most of these young players have ever played in front of, it created an environment of pure bliss to take the crown at the biggest showcase for junior volleyball in the country. 

“Everyone was in shock, crying when we won it,” Piland said. “And everyone was out on the floor cheering to celebrate.”

After spending a week on vacation with her family in Mexico after the victory, Piland is back home and sharing memories with her high school teammates about what it was like to have those volleyball experiences. 

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to do this,” Piland said. “And all my (Cherokee Bluff) teammates have been so happy for me.”

Also this summer, Piland’s travel-volleyball organization took second out of 192 teams at AAU Nationals in Orlando, Fla. 

Piland was one of 13 players hand picked to play club volleyball for this organization, shortly after the 2021 high school season ended with Cherokee Bluff advancing all the way to the Class 3A state semifinals. 

Playing at nationals came with plenty of perks for Piland. 

In addition to making memories for life with teammates, Piland also got exposure in front of the top college coaches in the country. 

While that might make for more nerves and anxiety to perform well, Piland said its a great platform for networking with the coaches who pull the strings with scholarship opportunities. 

At nationals, the crowd swelled for the main draw in the arena to far beyond what Piland ever expected to see in the stands. 

In addition, there were announcers at the venue calling the action for spectators in attendance. 

However, after rallying from the bottom seed to the final round, a little extra noise was not too much to handle for the rightside hitter from Cherokee Bluff. 

The final point in the championship, Piland said, came when the libero for the other team made contact with the ball. 

Winning a national championship was an experience comparable to making it to the Final Four during the 2021 high school season. 

With no time to rest coming off family vacation, where they celebrated her older brother Caleb’s recent high school graduation, it was back to the court for the team at Cherokee Bluff for first-year coach Tiann Myer, who is making the move over from the same position at West Hall. 

So far, Piland is thrilled with the direction of the Lady Bears’ program. 

“Our new coach has us working extremely hard,” Piland said. 

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