A5 Wins Two More Bids ....Both at the Highest Level

A5 12 Jing and A5 13 Karen Indy-bound

April 22, 2019 -

A5 Wins Two More Bids
....Both at the Highest Level
A5 12 Jing and A5 13 Karen Indy-bound
A5 Family,
 
The end of the Qualifier Season is near.  We've got teams all over the U.S. this weekend, and the weekend following is the Southern Regional Championship, where we typically earn most of our bids.
 
Teams qualifying in the Open division are precluded from competing in the Regional Championships - a rule I refer to the "A5 Rule", since when the rule was made, A5 was the only club in the Southern Region ever to have qualified a team in the Open division.
 
One bit of good news about this rule is something you may not know.  The Region pays the USAV entry fee for teams winning its Regional Bid Tournament.  Believe it or not, the entry fee for Nationals is now a thousand bucks per team.  ....so there's a real monetary reward for winning Regionals.  It follows, then, that teams precluded from playing in regionals because they are qualified in the Open division should have their entry fee paid as well, and this is indeed the case.  ....girls, it might be a good time to hit mom and dad up for a raise in your allowance..  ...just sayin'.
Big South Highlights
 
Most of our younger teams were in attendance at Big South last weekend, and they got all the competition they could say grace over.  Three of our teams medaled at this highly competitive event.
 
A5 13 Karen's journey will not be soon forgotten by those who witnessed it.  With ten teams entered in the 13 Open division, just one bid was available.  Two teams had already earned bids.  13 Karen started strong, winning their first five matches before dropping a three-setter to previously qualified Top Select 16-18.  That record was good enough to get them into the four-team, gold medal pool. That's where the fun began, as both of the previously qualified teams also made
the gold pool.  The thinking was that, barring some unusual circumstance, A5  had to finish third or higher to win a bid.

 
13 Karen dug themselves a hole right out of the gate by losing to top-seeded and previously qualified Boiler Juniors.  Still, barring a tie or a last-place finish by previously qualified Top Select,our thought was that they needed to win just one of the two remaining matches to qualify.  
 
They did better than that.  They won both of their next two matches.  However, the "unusual circumstance" referred to above occurred - Boilers dropped a match and Top Select finished the pool 0 - 3, which created a three-way tie for first place. 
 
A5 played their final match in pool play knowing that a) they had to win to remain in contention for a bid; and b) they had to win in two sets and by a significant point differential to earn a bye in the tie-breaker scenario.  13 Karen took care of business, winning in straight sets by a significant margin, earning the bye.  Thus, Triangle and Boilers would have to battle it out to see who would play A5 for the Championship.  
 
But wait....  Big South staff had other ideas.  "Since Boilers already has a bid,", they said, "lets just have A5 and Triangle play for the bid?"  "Not gonna happen," responded A5 Leadership. "Our girls earned that bye, and besides, they want to play for the Championship, not just the Bid.  Only after conferring with USAV did Big South staff allow the pool to finish out in accordance with Qualifier Manual protocol.
 
Our exhausted girls avenged their earlier loss to Boilers, bringing home a rare Big South Championship in the Open Division in addition to a coveted bid to Nationals.
 
A5 12 Jing's journey was someone more mundane but no less thrilling.  Similar to 13 Karen, they won their first five matches, which was good enough to land them in the four-team gold bracket.  With a previously qualified team on the other side of the bracket, all 12 Jing had to do was win their first match for a bid, and they played a barn-burner, winning 25-23;  22-25; 15-13 to bring home a bid in the 12 National division - the highest division offered for 11's and 12's.
 
Why, you ask, did 12 National conclude their 8-team division with a four-team bracket, and 13 Open conclude theirs (9 teams) with a 4-team pool - a format that had teams playing each other two and three times?  You can add that question to several weird anomalies I noticed about this year's Big South.
 
Though A5 11 Walter didn't earn a bid, they did finish with Bronze Medals, and they are well positioned to earn a bid to the 12 National Division at Regionals.
 
Lastly, we had a few teams who made the gold medal bracket, but fell short of a medal or a bid:
  • A5 12 Jake
  • A5 14 Allison
A5 14 Helen finished atop the Silver Bracket of the 14 Open division with a 7-1 record. How that should happen in a field of 12 teams is one of the anomalies to which I referred above


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