The annual event will draw nearly 8,500 athletes from 788 club teams to the Minneapolis Convention Center to compete in a variety of age divisions. Alvino, an agile setter with a vast knowledge of the game, will try to lead her Club Pacific Volleyball Club 18 Black team through the 18U division in a hunt for the gold. Having never placed higher than fifth, she is eager to finally win a spot on the podium.
"At the beginning of the season my team and I talked about going to JOs and finishing as high as we can, but it's kind of an unsaid thing that we all want to try to earn a medal. That's why we go," Alvino said. "We recently lost two players, one to injury and one to school, but still we're pretty solid and we work well as a team. I think we have a pretty good chance."
After a season with Golden Bear Volleyball in Berkeley, Alvino opted for a closer program and "a change of scenery" with Club Pacific in Stockton. Her coach and the program's executive director, Dave Johnson, is also the assistant coach of the University of the Pacific women's team. Johnson took the helm of the 18 Black team midway through the season, but soon the players proved they could adjust to change.
"It was weird at first," Alvino said. "I'd never had that happen before - having a new coach take over in midseason. Dave's coaching style and our previous coach's style were like night and day. They had totally different theories of the game. But it didn't take long before we were all on the same page. Now we're really strong."
Each team is guaranteed at least 10 matches during pool play, which takes place July 3 through 5. The top teams to advance to the championship round on July 6 for a chance to medal.
Regardless of the outcome, the end of Alvino's eight-year club volleyball experience is a matter of days away. "It's definitely going to be weird not playing club anymore," she said. "But I'm excited to move on to the next level."
For Alvino, the next level is the Division II Chaminade University team in Honolulu, where she will step in as the team's starting setter.
As she remembers back to her first year in the club volleyball system at age 10, she can't help but credit the experience for her current success.
"From that very first year I just fell in love with it," she said. "Since then I've learned so much, not just about volleyball but about life and working as a team, getting along with other people and knowing how hard to push yourself."