USA Volleyball National Championship Wrap
By way of reminder, the 24 teams that the A5 Family qualified to compete in the USAV National Championship was second-highest in the U.S.. 20 competed over the past couple of weeks, as our three qualified U18 teams completed their seasons in April, and the Boys event was held in Dallas.
Our teams performed well on the sport's biggest stage:
A5 13 Karen was seeded 16th in the 13 Open Division. They finished pool play with a 3 - 2 record, barely good enough to remain in contention. But then something happened. They turned it up several notches - as if to assess the competition and conclude, "we belong here". They manhandled two fine teams in their Day 3 pool - so much so that in one of the matches the opposing coach said he had never in his life seen a U13 team play at that level.
The team wanted to win their Day 3 pool so as to postpone facing #1 seed Mad Frog - to whom they had lost in the opening pool. But wouldn't you know Mad Frog didn't take care of business, so 13 Karen had to face them in the challenge match anyway. This time they won the revenge match 25-19; 25-16 to earn their way into the Gold Bracket and assure themselves of a Bronze Medal or better.
Sadly, they lost the first match of Bracket Play 12 - 15 in the third set, so they "settled" for Bronze, bettering their seed by a significant 13 places. They are highest finishing U13 team in A5 history, and just the 8th A5 team of any age to medal in the Open Division at the USA Volleyball National Championship.
In other action....
- A5 11 Walter, competing in the 11 National Division, finished with a 4 - 4 record and in 27th place. They were seeded 27th..
- We had two teams qualify in the 12 National Division - A5 12 Jing and A5 12 Jake. 12 Jing won their first four matches, but was knocked from contention in Day 3, to finish 19th of 48 teams - four places shy of their seed. A5 12 Jake finished with a 4 - 6 record to finish 35th. They were seeded 10th and 40th respectively. The quality of volleyball being played by 12-year-olds at the National Championship Tournament was nothing short of astonishing.
- A5 13 Earl survived their initial pool, but was eliminated from contention on Day 3. They finished the year with integrity, however, winning their final three matches to finish 17th in the 13 National Division - one spot ahead of where they were initially seeded. They were 6 - 4 on the tournament.
- A5 14 Allison finished 4th in their initial pool, but unfortunately only the top three advanced. They finished with a 4 - 5 record in the 14 National Division - good enough for 29 place in a field of 48, beating their seed by 7 places
- A5 14 Helen was one of the real success stories of the tournament and indeed of the season. They opened strongly in Indy, taking over the top seed by knocking off TAV, who eventually finished second in the tournament. Seeded 32nd in the 14 Open Division, they finished the season with an 8 - 2 record against the best teams in the country, losing only to the eventual Champion and a Bronze Medalist. They finished in 9th place and they beat their seed by 23 spots..
- The boys played a lot of volleyball in Dallas. Indeed, A5 14 Carlos (boys) played 13 matches - winning 10 of them - but they lost a tie-breaker on day 1 which knocked them from contention. (Perhaps a coach or parent can explain to me the weird format in which 14 Carlos played only three matches in the first round, though six teams were in that pool. Suffice it to say that, from where I sit, it appears that we were screwed.) Still, the team performed remarkably - finishing 18th in a field of 49 teams.
- To the best of my knowledge, A5 15 Victor was the only "4" team participating in the USAV National Championships, and they knew they would be challenged. Competing in the 15 American Division, they finished 51st of 64 teams in the Division - within 3 places of their original seed.
- A5 15 Bob, competing in the 15 Open Division, won their first four matches to remain in contention following the initial pool play. They finished 2nd in round 2 pool play, but they were eliminated from contention in a challenge match versus Arizona Storm. One of the enjoyable aspects of spectating at the National Championship Tournament is that one can pick future National Team and Olympic Team members from the crowd, and I would put #3 of Arizona Storm in that category, as - at age 15 - she hit the ball as hard as any high schooler I have ever seen, and she was too much for our girls to handle. 15 Bob finished 13th in the Country at USAV Nationals, a nice follow-up to their Bronze Medal finish at AAU's..
- A5 15 LA finished 25th of 48 teams in the 15 National Division. They won their final two matches - both in three sets - to finish their season on a high note. They were seeded 25th.
- 4th-seeded A5 16 Gabe finished with a 10 - 2 record against the 16 Open field, but the losses relegated them to the Silver Bracket, which they won handily. They finished 9th in the Tournament.
- Seeded 17th in the 16 National Division, A5 16 Liang opened the tournament with four straight wins before surviving their Day 2 pool and a challenge match to make it into the Gold Medal Bracket. They lost in the first round of bracket play to finish their season with a 6 - 9 record, good enough for 5th place.
- A5 16 Stephen, competing in the USA division, finished 21st in the tournament. They were seeded 33rd. They finished their season on a high note, winning their final two matches.
- Closing out the season with a 5 - 5 record in the 16 American Division, A5 South 16 Charlette finished 33rd in the 64-team division. They were seeded 40th.
- A5 South 16 Jason followed a trajectory similar to 16 Gabe's in that they won their opening pool, with their only loss coming at the hands of the eventual champion. They survived Day 3 but lost their challenge match to finish out the year in the Silver Bracket. 16 Jason finished 13th in the 16 Open Division - the highest finish ever by a team from an A5 sister club.
- A5 Chattanooga 16 Duane entered the 16 American Division as its 34th seed. They finished with a 5 - 5 record, to include a three-match winning streak to end their season in 41st place.
- A5 16 Angel (boys) was 5 - 6 on the weekend, good enough for 19th place in the 16 USA Division. They beat their seed by 7 places.
- A5 17 Jing raced from the starting gate, winning their first four matches before dropping the 5th match 13 - 15. They were knocked from contention on Day 3 by Mizuno Long Beach 14 - 16. (See how every point counts?) They won their last three matches of the season, finishing atop the Bronze Bracket of the 17 Open Division - in 17th place.
- A5 17 Jordan finished with a 6 - 4 record in the 17 American Division - good enough for 33rd place in field of 64 teams. They were seeded 29th.
- "Stayin' Alive" was the mantra of A5 17 Scott. Competing in the 17 National Division, they stayed in contention with a 3 - 2 record in pool play, finished 2nd in their Day 2 pool and won their challenge match to earn their way into the Gold Medal Bracket. They finished 5th in the tournament - a whopping 26 places above their initial seed to pace the A5 Family in that category..
- A5 South 17 Joe didn't make it out of the initial pool in the 17 National Division, but they won their final four matches of the season, finishing 33rd. They were seeded 29th.
- A5 18 TNol (boys) won their first match, but won just two more after that to finish 25th in the 18 USA Division.
AAU All Americans and All Stars
In the last newsletter we recognized AAU All Americans and AAU All Stars for all age brackets except U16, which had just finished playing. By way of reminder, the difference between "All American" and "All Star" is that All American Designation is given to those athletes competing in the Open Division, and those playing in other divisions are denoted "All Stars"
Though this is an individual award not unlike an all-tournament award, I have always viewed these as team awards, since they are generally not given to individuals on teams that don't finish in the Gold Medal Bracket.
We've added 16's to the list in bold font.
AAU-All Americans or All Stars
- Anabella Tolone, A5 16 Gabe
- Jacque Boney, A5 16 Gabe
- Kalissa Greene, A5 16 Gabe
- Erykah Lovett, A5 South 16 Jason
- Ellis Crawford 12 Jing
- Asis Harvey 12-Jing
- Morgan Cobb - 15 Bob
- Cailey Dockery - 15 Bob
- Joy Screen - 14 Helen
- Will Boney - 14 Carlos
- Savannah Bray - 17 Jing
Congrats to all!