The history behind
Capital Area Volleyball Club
Capital Area Volleyball was founded in 2008 by Jim Dietz and Stephanie Merano because the club programs in the Springfield region were meant to help specific schools rather than the sport of volleyball or else were profit-driven, meant to make a living for the club owners. To that end, Capital Area was different from the start—the intent was to make club affordable for everyone without exploiting the hopes and dreams of parents and young athletes.
Shortly after the club’s founding, Joe Reuben came on board as a volunteer. This proved important because Stephanie Merano moved on shortly after Capital Area’s first season finished to take a new teaching job, to get married, and to begin a family. When this happened, Jim and Joe decided to expand Capital Area to multiple teams, splitting coaching duties between the two. Off the court, Joe handled administrative duties and served as treasurer while Jim handled recruiting and college contacts as well as educating parents about the recruiting process.
A year after this, the Capital Area League began. This was held at Cass Gym and was meant for athletes who wanted to play ball but were multi-sport athletes who didn’t want to play club during basketball, were eight graders seeking to get used to HS net height and speed, and others who couldn’t do the travel/financial commitments of a club season. The League helped LLCC VB with its fundraising as its athletes served as coaches for the teams—providing leadership experience to young women who also served as role-models/examples to the athletes.
Depending on the year, the League had anywhere from 80-150 girls participating on Wednesdays and Sundays (usually paying $100/athlete for 8 hours of practice and 20 matches of competition). Girls received a t-shirt uniform.
Over time, Capital Area expanded to up to six travel teams. Additional coaches were added though most served only one or two years. One coach (joining in 2013) wanted to get more involved and began helping Joe with administrative duties—this was Amber Stephens who is now the club director.
Alison Dyer founded the Ambush Volleyball Club in Springfield in 2002. CAVC and Ambush combined in 2013. She spent 19 years runnig our youth league on Friday nights during the late winter at Glenwood Intermediate and Our Savior's Lutheran gym. The league is now run by Amber out of Springfield Racquet and Fitness Center.
In 2016, Joe had to step down from his active duties due to a switch in jobs and leaving the Springfield area. It was a joke at the time for a title, but Joe was declared ‘director emeritus’—a title that remains in place today.
In 2018, Jim and Joe attempted to merge the club with a different club with substantial resources. This wound up a spectacular failure as the other club failed to deliver on the promises it made and after the 18-19 club season, Capital Area returned to being wholly independent.
During this same time period, Jim began work on setting up a different business and stepped back from active coaching as well, so that he only handled recruiting-related issues. When Capital Area went ‘independent’ again, Jim retired from club coaching, though he still served as recruiting advisor.
Shortly after, Brittany Stewart re-joined Capital Area as an assistant director (2019) — she had coached previously, but her two sons were too young for her to take on a larger role. Once Brittany came on board, Jim stepped down completely and joined Joe Reuben as ‘director emeritus’.
In 2022, after speinding 5 years coaching with CAVC, Brooksana McKinney was named an assistant director.
Joe remains involved in volleyball as an official and coach in Washington state and served as the US Maccabi Games volleyball coach, winning a Gold Medal in 2019 by defeating the host Israeli team.
Jim was forced to step down from Lincoln Land for health reasons, but has recovered to be able to coach high school volleyball in addition to running a not-for-profit company designing games and raising funds for educational purposes.