News and Highlights


Dig It! Volleyball Program -

DIG it! Volleyball Inc, an acronym for "Developing the Inner Girl" is a 501(c)3 female empowerment program founded by High Performance STL VBC that provides free after-school volleyball training for low income girls in the St. Louis area.

Our mission is to use free after-school volleyball training, mentoring programs, networking events, and character development training to educate and empower socially & economically disadvantaged girls and inspire them to make heathy choices in every aspect of their lives.

2017 DIG it! Volleyball Needs:
·  KNEEPADS: A lot of the DIG it! players do not have kneepads. In an effort to provide as many participants with the proper equipment we are running a kneepad drive where you can donate any old, new, or gently used kneepads.
o Please drop these off or mail them to C4 Competitive Courts (12691 Conway Rd Creve Couer, MO 63141) ATTN: DIG it! Volleyball
·  NET SYSTEMS/BALL CARTS: We are in need of 4 new net systems and 5 ball carts. If your school, program, or club has any old net systems that you are looking to get rid of OR if you are interested in purchasing one for one of our teams please contact us at
·  COACHES/VOLUNTEERS: We are in need of coaches, mentors, and photographers for our 2017 season. We need coaches and volunteers throughout the week as well as on Friday’s between 6-8:30PM. If you are available to coach on Fridays at our matches, or would like to volunteer throughout the week please contact us immediately. 
·  MONETARY DONATIONS: The DIG it! Program is funded solely on grants and sponsorships. All monetary donations go towards transportation, net systems, scoreboards, volleyballs, t-shirts, kneepads, academic scholarships for players, healthy snacks, and other program expenses. To make a tax-deductible donation please CLICK HERE.

Two Pairs of National Champions from the Gateway Region!

Milwaukee, WI (July 24, 2016) - Congratulations to the pairs of Murphy/Williams and Garmon/Williams for earning National Titles in their respective divisions at the USAV Girls Junior Beach National Championships. Mackenzie Murphy and Ally Williams fought through 20 teams over 3 days to earn their National Championship title in the U12 Club Division. Likewise Bria Garmon and Alexis Williams picked their way through a 40 team field in the U14 Club Division to earn their gold medals.

Karen Schmitz Honored by AVCA - Boys Coach of the Year

Karen S

You don’t have to play in highly competitive leagues to have a strong impact coaching volleyball. At High Performance in St. Louis, Schmitz runs the U8s and U10s programs that teach both skills and the love of the sport. Many of the older boys that go on to play at a higher level in the area have at one point played for Schmitz. “My goal in coaching is for all children to learn something positive about themselves as a person and as an athlete,” she said. “Also for the children to make new friends and find confidence in their talents.”

Karen Davis to be Inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 29, 2016) -   The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce the 14th annual AVCA Hall of Fame class.  Kathleen Brasfield, Karen Davis and Joan Sitterly will all be honored in ceremonies at the 2016 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon, held in conjunction with the 2016 AVCA Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

When it comes to impacting the lives of high school girls, Karen Davis has a track record like none other. In 21 seasons at the helm of St. Joseph’s Academy (St. Louis, MO), Davis registered an astounding 611-138 record, eight state championships and four semifinal appearances. Many of her players have gone on to earn All-American honors, college scholarships, and their team GPA never dipped below 3.5. To read the full article:

The AVCA annually recognizes those individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their profession and the sport with the AVCA Hall of Fame.  The first AVCA Hall of Fame class, a total of 23 individuals who had earned either the AVCA Founders Award or AVCA Excellence in Education Award, was honored at the 2003 AVCA Convention. These three will make a total of 73 members in the AVCA Hall of Fame.

2 St. Louis Natives selected to USA Mens Olympic Volleyball Teams!

Congratulations to Murphy Troy, a St. Louis Native, for being selected to Represent Team USA in Rio this Summer, as a member of the US Men's Olympic Volleyball Team. Murphy, a 2007 St. Louis University HS Grad, Attended the University of Southern California where he was a 4 year starter from 2008-2011. Read the full announcement here:

And a hearty Congratulations to Dan Regan, for making the roster to Represent our USA Men's Para-Olympic Team in Rio! Read the full announcement here:

USAV Junior Beach Tour: The Inaugural 2016 Gateway Open

The Gateway Region hosted a USAV Sand Doubles National Qualifying Tournament for Junior Players over the Memorial Holiday Weekend! Regardless of the Holiday Weekend, this Inaugural Gateway Open Beach Qualifier was filled to capacity, with over 80 junior boys and girls teams over 2 days in glorious sunny 80 degree weather.

Our Region is looking to host the event again next Spring/Summer, and may be bringing additional tour events to the St. Louis Area! Inagural Gateway Open event results will be posted once final results are verified by USAV Beach. Info and results may be found by clicking here!

Gateway Referee Chair Augie Werner Honored by USAV

For his work and dedication to USA Volleyball, our Region's Referee Chair, Augie Werner was choosen as the receipient of the USAV Regional Referee Chair of the Year 2016 Award. Congratulations for the recognition of all your hard work!



The Passing of a Volleyball Legend

From St. Louis Today:

The St. Louis volleyball community is mourning the death of Janet Baier Howes, who died from a heart condition on Wednesday April 27, 2016 at the age of 62.

Howes, who graduated from McCluer High in 1972, devoted her life to her family and volleyball and is a member of the United States Volleyball Hall of Fame.

She began her volleyball career with the North County YMCA. After high school, Howes played at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Mich., under legendary coach Mick Haley, who is now the coach at the University of Southern California.

From there, Howes went to SIU-Carbondale, which at the time didn’t have a varsity women’s volleyball team. That didn’t stop her from making the 1980 Olympic team, but she and her teammates never got the chance to compete due to the boycott.

“She did it on pure grit and determination,” said Tim Neels, the USA Gateway Region Volleyball Commissioner. “That was before women’s sports had two-a-day practices and they were in the gym for eight hours a day. Back in that day, the high school I went to didn’t even have girls sports until 1977.”

Howes was on the US National team from 1975 to 1983. Marty Prochko, Chairperson for the St. Louis Board of Collegiate Officials, remembered Howes’ trips back home from the team’s training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Whenever they would come home, she would work out with guys on the North County Y team, the top area team,” Prochko said. “Whenever she would come home, she would bring the cutting edge training techniques they were using with the national team and teach them to the guys back home.”

Howes went on to coach volleyball on many different levels. She brought the same passion coaching a 12-and-under team as she did coaching a NCAA Division I squad. She even coached St. Louis University in the 1980’s.

Howes was also a volleyball official, presiding over matches anywhere from 12-and-under to Division I. She also officiated postseason Division I matches.

In fact, Howes was officiating a high school match the night before her passing.

“Her loss is one that will be felt by many,” said Paul Scovill, Director of CYC Sports and a fellow volleyball official, in an e-mailed statement. “She was a link to the past and the present, starting in the 1970’s and still being involved in 2016.”

Howes and Scovill were classmates at McCluer and they were volleyball teammates in various leagues.

Howes leaves behind a husband, Alan, and two children, Emily and R.J. Arrangements are still pending.

“She was a role model, just a passion for the game, a passion for the sport,” Neels said. “She never lost it. She was just always around the game. To be around someone like that, with that passion, it’s contagious. It spreads.”

Prochko, like Scovill, was also a high school classmate of Howes. He said she was also a very accomplished musician and still had her cello to this day.

“She loved volleyball,” Prochko said. “It was a huge part of her life. She was a great ambassador for the sport and an icon in the sport. And the only thing she loved more than volleyball was her family.”

Gateway Region PVL Team Information

Gateway VC (M/W)
Facebook Link:
Twitter Link:
Gateway Region Link:

Phone: 314-324-2691

General Manager: Frank Masek
Assistant GM: Cary Cusumano
Men's Head Coach: Mike Lotz
Women's Head Coach: Melissa Stokes
Women's Associate Coach: Sara Thomas

USA Volleyball Digital Magazine

USA Volleyball has launched a digital version of Volleyball USA. Members are encouraged to check out the new digital publication. The magazine can be accessed by clicking here. To login - username: volleyballusa password: sum11usavolley. Enjoy!

Board Meeting & Junior Forum Minutes

Minutes from the General Board meetings and Junior Forums can be found on the Publications page

Upcoming General Board Meetings:

Friday August 5, 2016 - 6:30pm - Kirkwood Community Center
Friday December 2, 2016 - 6:30pm - Kirkwood Community Center
Friday March 3, 2017 - 6:30pm - Kirkwood Community Center
Friday May 5, 2017 - 6:30pm - Kirkwood Community Center