What is Excelsior Empire Regional Development Program?

With the restructure of what was previously called the USAV High Performance Program, or “HP”, into the current USAV National Team Development Program, or “NTDP”, the former HP Championship tournament for USAV Regions has transformed into the USA Volleyball All-Star Championship. This continues to be an elite volleyball event for regional all-star teams held annually at venues across the US. The 2023 championship was held in Fort Lauderdale from July 19-23. The Championship is open to USAV regional all-star delegations and international teams representing a National Federation of the FIVB.

This event is a flagship event designed to expose our top athletes to advanced competition and to expand their skill set and increase their exposure to collegiate coaches.  All-star teams from across all USAV regions are expected to converge in Des Moines to compete for championship titles. Approximately 100 all-star teams from USAV regions across the country are expected to converge on Iowa to vie for championship titles. Regions will select up-and-coming girls and boys athletes from clubs in their regions to represent them on the court in multiple age groups and divisions.

REGISTRATION LINKS: (Link Updated 4/26/24)

What is the All-Star Process?

  • Attend a Tryout – Register to attend an Excelsior Empire (XLVB) All-Star Tryout – A player may participate in as many tryouts as offered at the per tryout fee.
  • Fee per Tryout – $35 per tryout
  • Attend Team Camp or Training Sessions – Team Camp will occur during the week of July 8, 2024. Alternatively, training sessions may be used in place of a Training Camp.  The determination regarding a camp or training sessions will be made once facilities can be confirmed.
  • Travel to USAV All-Star Championships – All XLVB All-Star teams will travel to the USAV All-Star Championships in Des Moines as a group.

Age Divisions

We are planning to evaluate players for the development of four (4) total teams. We will determine based on the tryouts whether we can roster a team for the following age divisions:


  • U15 (Born in 2010 or 2011)
  • U17 (Born in 2008 or 2009)
  • U19 (Born in 2006 or 2007)


  • Boys U19 (Born in 2006 or 2007)
  • Boys U17 (Born in 2008 or 2009)

What is the Tryout Schedule?

Girls: All tryouts for the girls’ teams will take place at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse. They are as follows:

  • Friday, February 9th, 6:00 – 9:00pm
  • Friday, April 5th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm 
  • Friday, May 3rd, 6:00 – 9:00 pm


  • Friday, May 3rd, 6:00 – 9:00 pm – NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse
  • Friday, May 17th – 6:00 – 9:00 pm – Location TBD

Tryout time and location may be adjusted accordingly based on participant interest. Participants may take advantage of as many or as few tryout opportunities as they wish, however, to be considered for a team, at least one (1) tryout is required. Please continue to check the XLVB website page for any changes throughout the season.

What are the Participation Requirements?

  • All players must have an active annual membership with USAV and the XLVB Volleyball Region.  One-Event memberships will not be accepted.
  • All players must be rostered on an XLVB USAV Rostered Team.
  • All players must participate in one or more of the XLVB Region sponsored event tournaments – these include: Icicle Challenge, Syracuse Smash, XLVB Regional Tournament.

Information on Registration 

Registration:  Registration will be open on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

Click here for the registration link!

What is the team selection process?

Team selection will be made as noted below. Those players selected will be sent an invitation and will be given 3 days to accept or reject the invitation. Once an invitation is accepted, a deposit of 50% of the player fee will be required, with the remainder to be paid prior to team travel.

GIRLS: No later than May 10, 2024
BOYS: No later than May 25, 2024

What is Team Camp?

All players selected to a team roster will be required to attend a team camp or training sessions. Exact dates will be provided once the training schedule is finalized. Lodging and meals will be provided during any on-site training camp.

When is the USAV All-Star Championships?

The 2024 All-Star Championships will be held in Des Moines, Iowa at the Iowa Events Center from July 18-21, 2024

Other Important Information to note:

Per Player fee: Estimated $1500 per player

Team Travel: All players will travel together as a team to Des Moines and remain as a team throughout the tournament. Return travel will be made as a team, unless otherwise approved by the Championship coordinator. Jerseys, lodging and meals will be provided during the trip.

Parents are welcome to attend at their option and at their own expense.

Meet the Coaching Staff:

Girls Coaches:

Head Coach: Sandy Augstein-Collins
Sandy Augstein-Collins is a former college volleyball coach with over 35 years of high school, club and college coaching experience.  She supported the development of several AVCA All Americans at Union College and Russell Sage College.  Sandy received her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Russell Sage College, her Master’s degree in Teaching and Administration from Springfield College, and is pursuing her PsycD in Sport and Performance Psychology from the University of Arizona.  Sandy is a certified Mental Performance Coach, a Certified Positive Performance Mindset Coach and Performance Visualization Specialist.  She owns Summit Mental Training and is currently coaching high school volleyball at Niskayuna High School and a 14U travel club team.

Head Coach: Vanessa Volpe-Rivera
Vanessa Volpe-Rivera has been coaching in the Capital Region for 19 years. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the XLVB Regional Volleyball Association and is also on the Region’s Tournament Committee. She is a certified USAV official and an active adult player in the Region. Most recently, Vanessa was the head coach at The College of Saint Rose which participated in the NCAA Division II Northeast 10 Conference from 2016 to 2024. Prior to becoming the head coach, she was the assistant coach for 3 seasons at Saint Rose. Prior to that she coached at Hudson Valley Community College and Voorheesville High School. She also coached travel club for Albany area clubs. She has coached at numerous camps over the years and was the Assistant Director for the World Volleyball Training Center. Vanessa received both a Bachelor of Science (2005) and a Master of Science (2007) from The College of Saint Rose.  She currently resides in Green Island with her husband and 2 daughters.

Boys Coaches:

Head Coach: Mike DeForge
Coach Mike DeForge brings 27 years of experience playing high level volleyball and coaching for 2 volleyball clubs, most recently Syracuse Volleyball Club. Mike began playing on the beach locally and then competing from New York to Florida including the AVP Qualifiers. His beach game transitioned to indoor and he continued competing in national tournaments. He has spent the last 7 years coaching and mentoring young men supporting their transition from club into collegiate players.  He is passionate about the game and wants to continue the growth of the sport for all our CNY athletes.

Head Coach: Tom Giosa 
Coach Tom Giosa brings 15 years of coaching experience to our All-Star Championship coaching staff. He has played a pivotal role in developing successful programs both in the Capital District and the Long Island area. After relocating to the Capital District, Tom began competing locally with TeamLVC alongside members of TeamLVC’s professional men’s team. He has played an integral role in the development of TeamLVC’s boys program. Currently, Tom serves as the Boys Director for TeamLVC in addition to coaching TeamLVC’s 16u boys team.