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placeholder February 5, 2018   •   VOL. 56, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA

A sign and the St. Elizabeth CYO team at the Jim Negri Mass.
Bill Ford/Special to The Catholic Voice

Sportsmanship wins at volleyball tournament

In an eighth grade semifinal game, top photo, No. 7 Jane Helfrich, St. Joseph, Pinole, spikes the ball with No. 34 Arsema Leoulekal, behind her. Lindsay Barella, St. Patrick, Rodeo, defends the hit. St. Patrick won. Below, Victoria Gonzalez, a Seventh Grader from St. Elizabeth, Oakland, passes under a tunnel created by her teammates.
All: Anthony DeLos Santos/
courtesy photos

A banner by St. Elizabeth CYO girls' volleyball players read: "Thank You CYO for Keeping Us United.." This banner was displayed in the front row of players at the opening Mass at the annual Jim Negri CYO Girls' Volleyball Tournament that brought together 25 teams from around the Oakland diocese.

Teams gathered to begin the day with prayer followed by exciting volleyball games, marked by outstanding sportsmanship. The Oakland diocese CYO Office sponsored the annual tournament, played at Moreau Catholic High School.

The tournament began with a special Mass in the gym, attended by more than 150 players and their families. Father John Fernandes, a retired priest of the diocese, celebrated the Mass. Players from the teams proclaimed the readings, led the prayers of the faithful and presented the gifts to the altar.

After the Mass, teams began a fast-paced tournament of skilled volleyball play. Individual, complete 25-point sets were played instead of the usual three-set matches. Because of the quick pace of play, each grade division, seventh and eighth grades, finished in three hours of competition between two gyms. Players were on the sidelines, waving signs and cheering for other teams, adding to the day's excitement.

Each year, the RC Camp Sportsmanship Award is awarded by a vote of the tournament referees to a team in each grade division displaying spirit, cheering and good sportsmanship. This year, teams from St. Elizabeth, Oakland were voted the award in both the 7th and 8th grade divisions. In a tie vote, the 7th grade team from Assumption, San Leandro, was also voted the 7th grade award. The award is considered the highest honor in the tournament and is named after the late RC Camp, a longtime CYO referee.

In the eighth grade division two teams from CYO's Northern League played for the championship with St. Patrick, Rodeo, winning the championship, 25-20. St. David, Richmond, finished as the runner-up. In an all-Metro League Consolation Championship game, Assumption, San Leandro, won the consolation title, 25-16 with All Saints, Hayward, the consolation runner-up.

In the seventh grade division, St Elizabeth won the championship title, 25-15, with St. David as the runner-up. The Consolation Championship was won by the Our Lady of Grace Blue Team, Castro Valley, 25-8, with Assumption awarded the consolation runner-up.

The tournament is named in honor of the late Jim Negri Sr., a former CYO coach and athletic director from Corpus Christi School, Piedmont. Negri was one of the founders of girls' CYO athletics in the Oakland diocese and began the tournament more than 40 years ago.

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