Photo courtesy of Julie Taylor
The 14-U Rose City Mizuno Volleyball Club is regional champion.
Photo courtesy of Julie Taylor
The 14-U Rose City Mizuno Volleyball Club is regional champion.

The Rose City Mizuno Volleyball Club has been a juggernaut — as much as a bunch of good-natured 7th and 8th grade girls can be an overwhelming force.

Here are the elite team's numbers for the November-May season: A 42-1 record, with the only loss coming to a team of girls four years older; 86 sets won, only 10 lost; seven of 8 tournaments won, including two for girls two years older. It all added up to a regional championship.

Half the team have been attending Portland Catholic schools and 10 of 12 players will be heading to Central Catholic in an attempt to sustain a Ram volleyball dynasty.

The team practices in the gym of the old St. Stephen School in Southeast Portland.
The team was all new this year but fit together well. "In volleyball, chemistry is important," says Julie Taylor, who has been Rose City coach for 20 years.

Taylor is in her 18th year as a varsity assistant at Central Catholic. A Parkrose High School graduate, she was a standout first-team all-league volleyball and softball player at Clackamas Community College. She took her competitive drive to coaching. But Taylor knows her work is about more than sport.

"It's about life skills," says Taylor. "It's about self esteem, especially as a young woman. There is quick decision making. There is risk and reward. You can take risks because you are in a supportive environment."

Taylor wants her players to be great at volleyball, but also prepared for life.   
A member of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Southeast Portland, she works in online products for Oregon Catholic Press, which publishes this newspaper in addition to liturgical music.

As an assistant to Central Catholic head coach Rick Lorenz, Taylor has had a hand in five state championships, six state runner-up finishes and two third- and fourth-place finishes. In 2010, she was inducted into the Central Catholic Hall of Fame.

Taylor also coaches the volleyball camp at CYO's Camp Howard. This fall, she'll add her daughter's third grade CYO team to her list of coaching duties.

She and husband Thad have three children who attend Central Catholic and St. Therese school. The family lives on 10 acres in Troutdale, where they have a Christmas Tree farm. Taylor recently earned a degree in Human Development, graduating with honors.    

In addition to the volleyball win, it's been a big month for faith in the Taylor clan. Daughter Mallorie received first Communion. Son Keegan was confirmed and asked big brother Koby to be his sponsor.