City scores big during volleyball tournament - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

City scores big during volleyball tournament

Volleyball players celebrate during the Heart of Dixie Girls' Volleyball Tournament in downtown Montgomery. Volleyball players celebrate during the Heart of Dixie Girls' Volleyball Tournament in downtown Montgomery.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Step inside the convention center at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and you'll see 700 players, thousands of parents, and tons of volleyballs.

"It gives a whole bunch of people the chance to see that volleyball is a big sport," says one player.

It's all part of the Heart of Dixie Girls' Volleyball tournament--bringing folks from across the southeast to square off in the capital city.

"Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas," says Ken Blankenship, Director of the newly formed Central Alabama Sports Commission.

But the girls aren't the only ones scoring big points.

Blankenship says the tournament helps Montgomery make a name for itself in the sports world.

"Not only are we talking about looking at this as economic development, but we're going to use this to project a positive image of Montgomery," he says.

Event organizers expect to double the size of the tournament next year, but they say that all depends on whether the fans and players like what they see when they come to Montgomery.

"That's why it's so critical that we do a good job of hosting," he adds.

From the sounds of it, many are sold on the volleyball and the venue.

"There are several tournaments around this time, but we chose Montgomery because of the 14 courts that are here.  It's a huge tournament compared to several of the smaller ones around," says Atlanta resident, Cathy Chappelle.

"It's got a national, or a regional tournament feel to it, but it's such a small atmosphere. It's just really enjoyable," adds Steve Messig, also from Georgia.

Directors and tournament goers alike hope this smash hit is here to stay.

"We will definitely come back to Montgomery," adds Chappelle.

The commission is currently conducting a study on all Montgomery sports venues to see what changes are needed to bring them up to date.

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