That is “Dots,” VolleyballMag.com’s weekly take a look at 10 issues in membership volleyball, previous or current, that curiosity me and hopefully will curiosity you. Search for Dots each Tuesday by Junior Nationals this summer season:
• We start this week’s Dots, sadly, with terrible information from St. Louis, website of the President’s Day Traditional.
On Saturday night, Janae Edmondson, a senior DS from Smyrna Excessive Faculty in Tennessee, was struck close to the match facility by a automobile whose driver ran by a yield signal at 20 mph above the posted restrict. Janae was in St. Louis enjoying for MidTN Juniors after lately having dedicated to enjoying volleyball at College of Tennessee – Southern.
Janae was pinned beneath the automobile, which had flipped onto its roof, and he or she suffered important accidents, which required each of her legs to be amputated under the waist. In response to membership director Rhonda Ross, Janae will must be hospitalized in St. Louis for a number of weeks earlier than returning house.
The membership has arrange a GoFund Me web page at this hyperlink — https://www.gofundme.com/f/pray-for-janae — to assist pay for the large medical payments she’s going to incur.
Membership volleyball has seen its share of tragedies within the 25 years I’ve been masking it, however this one hits laborious. A younger woman, a lot life forward of her, within the mistaken place on the mistaken time, now dealing with a brand new actuality that might be together with her for the remainder of her life.
Janae, our hearts, our souls, our collective humanity exit to you. We pray for the therapeutic of your bodily wounds and for the therapeutic of your spirit as nicely.
• NPJ, OTVA Jacksonville, Momentous, AZ Sky, Surfside, Nebraska ONE, SCVC, Austin Skyline, Pohaku …These are simply a number of the groups that shocked this previous weekend on the Triple Crown NIT in Kansas Metropolis, essentially the most loaded match — there isn’t a dispute — within the nation.
The entire 9 golf equipment listed above had a number of groups within the quarterfinals within the 15s to 18s age teams at TC. WAVE didn’t have any. Neither did Mintonette, or KiVA, or Alamo, or Premier Nebraska.
Briefly, it is rather laborious, even if you’re an distinctive membership with distinctive groups, like WAVE and the others listed above, to run the gauntlet to the quarterfinals. To see so many new, rising and re-emerging golf equipment attain that degree is refreshing and a testomony to doing issues in observe which might be translating nicely to our sport’s greatest stage.
• Of the stunning golf equipment listed above, let’s put the highlight on the one one to emerge victorious: Surfside PV 16 Legends. The membership, which operates within the South Bay of Southern California, has been membership for a number of years, however is now working in the direction of elite standing because it competes for expertise with the likes of Mizuno Lengthy Seashore, Sunshine and SCVC.
Surfside went 8-1 for the weekend and scored wins over Houston Juniors 16 Elite, Milwaukee Sting 16 Gold and Dallas Skyline 16 Royal earlier than the ultimate day, the place it dispatched Nebraska ONE 16 Synergy, A5 16-1 Gabe and Houston Skyline 16 Royal for the title.
That is no Cinderella crew. Its anchor is 6-4 OH Kaci Demaria, among the best sophomores within the nation. One native membership director final month predicted that Surfside would win Junior Nationals. We now see what she noticed.
“A few of these women have been with us since they had been 11,” famous PV director and 16s head coach Loriann Perkins. “We as a membership have been rising into this place. We’ve been very intentional about how we’ve constructed the membership. We’re actually enthusiastic about all the work our women put in and I feel you will note us right here greater than as soon as.”
Perkins mentioned the key sauce to sustained success within the higher echelon of membership volleyball meant bringing in succesful coaches who knew the right way to practice women.
“We care about our children deeply and are exhibiting them we’re household first,” she mentioned.
Surfside was actually good towards Houston Skyline within the finals and overcame the relentless assault of OH Ella Lewis to win in two, capped by an ace from Isabella Jones.
Along with Demaria, a feared attacker; Surfside received terrific work from lengthy, athletic center Kalyssa Blackshear, freshman OH Simone Roslon and DS Kiana Greer.
Perkins had specific reward for libero Olivia Foye.
“New within the place she carried us in a superb method,” Perkins mentioned. “She reads, digs, her serve obtain is like no different…We are able to rely on her.”
• Arizona Sky had two separate groups within the quarterfinals: 17 Gold and 15 Gold, Each made the semifinals earlier than bowing out.
AZ Sky 17 Gold, led by sturdy center Aubrey Goodere, led 13-12 in Recreation 3 of the semi versus eventual champion NKYVC 17 Tsunami earlier than yielding three straight – two on kills from Sydney Barrett and a ultimate, overpass destruction from Lilly Gillespie – to fall in a heartbreaking method.
AZ Sky 15 Gold additionally went three units within the semis earlier than shedding. Sky, which has standouts like OH Brooklyn Jenkins and MB Jordyn Joppru on its roster, rallied to tie SCVC 15 Roxy at 13-13 earlier than SCVC OH Audrey Flanagan slammed house the ultimate two kills to clinch its advance.
Nonetheless, for a membership that 5 years in the past had hassle being distinguished from fellow Arizona denizen Arizona Desert Sky; a membership combating for recognition in a saturated Phoenix market that features Arizona Storm, Aspire, AZ Revolution and Membership ONE AZ, AZ Sky’s ascension into the nationwide scene, with TWO groups, got here as a shock.
“It’s all the time the plan to be as aggressive as we will,” mentioned membership director Julia Larish, who purchased AZ Sky three years in the past. “I’d say we’d have gotten right here earlier than anticipated however it was all the time my expectation.”
Larish mentioned that Sky was all the time recognized for being sturdy on fundamentals at an early age however that the membership was shedding youngsters to different golf equipment as soon as they entered highschool as a result of not plenty of time and a spotlight was spent on recruiting. The membership employed an important recruiting coordinator, Jen Lenhart, and expended their focus from simply coaching volleyball to coaching the entire particular person.
“We put a ton of assets into that to assist youngsters to get to the following degree, but in addition coaching them to be their finest once they go to the following degree. We needed to prioritize coaching youngsters on the highest degree and placing them in conditions the place they need to carry out on the highest degree. We added nice coaches and we added “neurofuel,” so we actually try try to coach the youngsters mentally, bodily and emotionally, so that they’re getting the entire bundle.”
• The rating of Sunday’s bracket elimination match was 25-16, 25-20. However the victor was not A5 18-Marc, whose core group had gained 16s in 2021 and 17s final yr. As an alternative it was North Pacific Juniors 18 Forefront, from Salem, Oregon, essentially the most completed crew from the Pacific Northwest because the KJ crew with Courtney Thompson and Christal Morrison from 20 years in the past that we referenced final week.
NPJ made the ultimate eight within the 18s division, including to a yr wherein the crew has already double certified in 18 Open; regardless of being headquartered in a state not historically recognized for having excessive degree volleyball.
NPJ director Adam Ellis mentioned that his crew has reached the extent the place it expects to compete with and defeat the nation’s elite groups.
“We speak lots about staying in attacking mode,” he mentioned. “We need to put as a lot stress on groups as attainable.”
This 18s crew is constructed round a junior, setter Alexis Haury. The Washington commit, like Thompson, isn’t tall, at 5-9, however instructions the court docket. She will get nice manufacturing from outsides from out of state, Alex Acevedo from Idaho and Kyleene Filimaua from Washington, who play with excessive vitality and effectivity. Each hit over .400 within the A5 sweep. NPJ additionally received sturdy work from junior Chloe LeLuge, each of its middles and had been supported by a bench that matched the keenness of its coach.
• NKYVC 17 Tsunami made the 16s finals a yr in the past regardless of enjoying deeply shorthanded. The Northern Kentucky membership was all the way down to seven gamers when it managed to get by OTVA Tampa within the semifinals however had nothing left within the finals versus Dynasty, which administered a world class beating on them.
OH Sydney Barrett watched that loss from the sidelines, as she’d damage an ankle the primary day and, by the third day, merely couldn’t go on. Monday, Barrett performed a starring position from the left facet and behind the service line, within the semifinals and finals as NKYVC overcame OT 17 T Aaron, the identical core group it defeated within the semis a yr in the past.
Barrett had two aces in Recreation 1 of the championship match to assist reverse a 24-22 OT benefit. And her attacking and serving helped hold OT at arms size in a Recreation 2 win for the sweep.
“It feels good,” Barrett mentioned. “We’ve been working laborious all collectively at observe and it’s paying off on the court docket.”
MB Julia Hunt had the ultimate kill for NKYVC to seal the championship. Her sturdy play in Kansas Metropolis is a part of a tremendous winter for Hunt, a Washington commit. She stars on the Holy Cross basketball crew, which gained the Kentucky unofficial small state championship a few weeks in the past. Hunt, the small faculty state MVP, is averaging a close to double-double for her crew and, with just a few video games left this yr in Kentucky’s single-class state match and all of subsequent yr, she has amassed greater than 1,000 factors, greater than 1,000 rebounds and greater than 500 blocked photographs. Superb.
Hats off, by the way in which, to OT, a crew that doesn’t leap off the court docket at you with its spectacular dimension, however which simply fights. Setter Taylor Park and OHs Olivia Hart and Madison Loiselle led the way in which yesterday.
• Main 24-23 within the first set of the 18s ultimate versus Drive Nation 18 Purple, Coast 18-1 tried to make two subs. The San Diego squad had constructed an 18-5 lead within the match, however had seen its benefit wither to a scant level due to shaky serve-receive passing. Therefore, the necessity for subs at this most crucial juncture. Cate Schnell, a 6-1 OH who was a major passer for Cathedral Catholic in its nationwide championship highschool run final fall, made it in. However Bella Rittenberg couldn’t enter for RS Alexis Glover as a result of the crew was out of subs.
Schnell made the right go and setter Zoe Rachow, who’d come up large within the set with a few beautiful blocks, set the again row assault to…Glover, who was not imagined to be in there. The Oregon signee unleashed a vicious left-handed assault that ate up Drive Nation’s again row for the sport winner.
“A few of God’s biggest presents are unanswered prayers.” — Garth Brooks
By the way in which, Drive Nation rallied to win the ultimate two units to take the title. Each middles, Reese Robins and Leah Ford, performed distinguished roles within the ultimate two units, with Robins smashing house the ultimate level after a present free ball go straight to her.
Robins additionally was liable for the block that eradicated defending 18s champion Munciana Samurai in a three-set semifinal. Samurai, as soon as once more, overachieved – shouldn’t we cease calling that now? – led by junior OH London Wijay, who comes from Southern California to play the large tournaments for the Indiana membership.
• A5 is a monster membership, rated finest within the nation by Triple Crown Sports activities, however the group that this yr comprised the 16s crew had not been its finest. It completed ninth out of 32 groups on the Central Zone Invitational, a discipline that was not particularly sturdy with the Northern Lights Qualifier the identical weekend.
“The crew has not had a tradition of successful previously,” coach Gabe Aramian defined. “It has needed to be re-done just a few instances. My greatest aim this yr is to compensate for our lack of expertise.”
It was admittedly fairly stunning to see A5 16 Gabe, which was not within the prime energy pool, within the semifinals after it got here from behind to oust final yr’s 15s champion, 1st Alliance 16 Gold, within the semifinals. OH Abby Vander Wal had been dominant a lot of the match for 1st Alliance however A5 discovered simply sufficient rally late in Recreation 3 to win, on successive blocks from Gigi Smith and Camryn Jeffery.
“This match they’ve gone far past what I anticipated,” Aramian mentioned earlier than the semifinal match with Surfside. “I do know their athletic capability is there however their expertise isn’t. They’ve actually simply stepped up. To achieve success we have now to have 3-4 gamers each match play their perfect they usually have achieved that since bracket play yesterday.”
Jeffery, a 6-1 RS, improved her inventory with an important weekend, however nobody on A5 16 Gabe rose greater than 6-1 OH Asia Harvey. She was in every single place athletically, received nearly each set and destroyed most, evoking photos of Baylor star Yossiana Pressley together with her athletic capability.
• Dallas Skyline 15 Royal edged SCVC 15 Roxy for the 15s title, 16-14 within the third, on a combo block from 6-4 freshman center Keoni Williams and RS Layla Austin. The match, between evenly-matched groups, got here all the way down to who had the nice luck appeal on their facet.
Seems it was this man, the daddy of energetic libero Kiley Brooks. Dad’s been “bluer than blue” apparently since entering into membership volleyball. Being a superfan typically means sharing your blueness after massive wins like this with Austin.
Oh by the way in which, there was a shoe throwing incident after the ultimate level involving Skyline head coach Yun Sangyong. OK it was actually a thrown shoe. Now we have the video! Gotta lace ‘em up tighter, coach!
• AZ Storm Elite 16 Thunder is perhaps the most effective 16s crew within the nation. Led by outsides Teraya Sigler and Devyn Wiest, Storm made it to the semifinals earlier than dropping two deuce units to Houston Skyline 16 Royal. Storm had late leads in each units earlier than falling. There may be hope, nevertheless, as Storm made the semifinal spherical whereas enjoying with out its beginning setter, who was on a scooter defending her injured ankle.
• TCU head coach Jason Williams spent a part of his Sunday at Triple Crown in Kansas Metropolis watching an 18s court docket. He was taking a slight break from recruiting to observe Dallas Skyline 18 Royal setter Harley Kreck dish to her teammates. Harley is his niece and he or she has signed with Baylor. Therein lies the story.
Williams, who was an assistant coach at Baylor earlier than hiring on to TCU in December of 2021, and Kreck are a part of a tremendous Baylor connection. Williams is married to the previous Corey Sivertson, a Corridor of Fame setter at Baylor from 1991-94. Her sister, Sarah (Harley’s mother), performed at Baylor from 1994-98.
Williams additionally has a daughter, Callie, who can also be a setter. She broke custom by signing with Tennessee earlier than transferring to, you guessed it, Baylor, the place she performed for her dad for 3 years.
It’s a lot Baylor I can Bearl-y stand it.
Till subsequent time …