At the end of this past June and the beginning of July, The Island Volleyball Academy boys and girls teams spread their wings across the country to compete in USA Volleyball's Junior National championships. The girls traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana while the boys were off to Dallas, Texas.
Competing in the Junior National Championships is an honor for all teams that attended because they made it there by winning enough throughout the season to earn a bid. However, making it there is only part of the battle, because once you are there, you are facing all of the top teams from around the country. There are no weak teams and your best is counted on every match of every day.
This year Academy is proud to have sent eight (8) teams to the Junior National Championships and each team represented Academy honorably. Following is a quick round-up for each team.
First up are the Girls 12 Red who enjoyed their trip to nationals for the first time. The girls were excited to experience volleyball in such an intense atmosphere, facing teams from as far away as Colorado, San Francisco, and Hawaii. The girls played an exciting three set match against the Rockford Volleyball Club (Illinois). They dropped the first set in extra points (24-26), but came back to win the second set in dramatic fashion by winning 25-8. They eventually lost the match in the third set. Congratulations to the Girls 12 Red team on their first trip to Nationals!
Also in Indianapolis for the GJNC was the Girls 13 Red. The Girls 13 Red took full advantage of their time in Indiana as they went for a ride around the track at the Indy-500 in an official track car and also had a chance-encounter with Hoda from The Today Show! On the court, the girls were focused against their competition. While the girls played in many competitive games, their best match came against the NI Thunder (Northern Idaho) in a three-set victory. They opened the match with a 25-18 win, but the Thunder came back in the second as Academy dropped the set 17-25. In a winner-take-all third set, the Academy Girls 13 Red pulled out a victory by taking the set 15-13.
Meanwhile, over in Dallas, Texas, the Boys 14 Red team was competing in their first Nationals. The boys had a rough first day dropping all three matches, however they rebounded on the second day going 2-1 with victories over BRYC (25-23, 23-25, 15-13) and Central California (25-21, 25-21). The only match they dropped on the second day was to the Richmond Volleyball Club (12-25, 28-26, 13-15). In sports, earning the respect of your peers is the best compliment a team can get. That was the case between these two clubs as players from both teams bonded afterwards. There is no doubt these teams will have many more competitive games over the next several years. After dropping two matches on the third day, the boys finished the tournament by defeating the Pacific Rim (California) and Panther (Pennsylvania) volleyball clubs in their flight bracket, before falling in the finals to the Madfrog (Texas). Congratulations to the Boys 14 Red team on a strong performance at Nationals.
Also competing in Dallas was the Academy Boys 15 Red team, who had a very strong tournament. The boys opened the tournament going 2-1 on the first day with victories over the Milwaukee Sting (25-12, 25-19) and Bay To Bay (California, 29-27, 25-13) and one match dropped to 949 (California). The Boys 15 Red had a tough second day as they dropped all three of their matches. Although they didn’t have the result they wanted in those matches, the boys were very competitive in every match – as each set went right down to the wire. Their game against the Cincinnati Attack featured two sets that went to extra points – 28-26. The boys were both on the winning and losing side of those sets. They were back at it again on day three, going 2-1 and earning a spot in the Bronze bracket. In the Bronze Bracket, the boys defeated MVVC (California) in two straight sets (25-21, 28-26) before falling to High Performance St. Louis in three sets (25-16, 28-26, 15-7). The Academy Boys 15 Red team placed 15th overall – Congrats to the boys on a successful tournament.
The Academy Boys 16 Red team came into the tournament and immediately was placed in a pool with some of the top teams in the competition. In their second match of the first day they played the eventual national champions, 949 (California). While the boys lost the match, they took the second set 25-19 – it would be one of only four sets that 949 would lose all tournament. On the second day of the tournament, the boys picked up a thrilling victory over Pace (Rochester, NY) in three sets (25-23, 24-26, 15-13), while splitting games on the third day with MVC and Ocean Bay (Florida). The boys dropped the match against Ocean Bay, while picking up a victory over MVC (Milwaukee) in two straight sets (25-17, 25-23). Great job by the Academy Boys 16 Red!
Back to Indianapolis and the Academy Girls 16 Red team. The girls earned a bid to compete in the National division of the Junior National Championships. The girls had a tough first day dropping three matches. Like the Boys 15 Red, while the girls may not have had the result they desired they were competitive the whole way through. This includes an opening set against Adrenaline (Iowa) that went to the final score of 31-29. On the second day of the tournament, the girls picked up a victory over the Celtic Force (Illinois) in two straight sets (25-14, 25-19). The Girls 16 Red team also picked up a big victory over Sky High (Illinois) in three sets (16-25, 25-23, 15-12). Great job to the Academy Girls 16 Red!
The Academy Girls 17 Red team also earned a bid to compete in the National division of the Junior National Championship tournament. The girls started the tournament by going 1-2 in pool play. Their first match was a three set thriller vs. Tejas (Texas). The first set of the match went to extra points by the score of 28-26, as did the second set (26-24) before the girls fell in the third set to lose the match. They picked up a victory over Six Pack (Iowa) in two straight sets (25-16, 25-23). They split their matches on the second day losing to EC Power (Pennsylvania) and winning against Rockford (Illinois). The girls finished out the tournament by picking up victories over Lanakila (Hawaii) in two straight sets (25-20, 27-25) and Xcel (North Carolina) also in two straight sets (25-22, 25-23). Congrats to the Girls 17 Red for their performance at the tournament.
Returning to Dallas for our final recap for the Academy Boys 18 Red… The Boys 18-Open field at Nationals this year was an exceptionally strong field, which featured upsets in every pool on every day. Playing in their last tournament as a team, the boys came out of the gate strong the first day. While it is rare, playing five matches on one day can – and did happen. The boys picked up victories over the Hitmen (Illinois) in two straight (25-18, 25-18) and NCVC (California) in three sets (25-23, 20-25, 15-12). The boys fell to SG Elite (California) in two (25-21, 25-15), Ultimate (Chicago) in two (25-18, 25-19), and Santa Monica (California) in three (23-25, 25-17, 15-9). After 12+ hours of playing, the Boys 18 Red finished the day 2-3. The boys were not able to regain their footing after that marathon first day; however, after one of the most highly successful boys’ club careers, they will now soon embark on their college careers. All of us at The Island Volleyball Academy wish them luck on the next chapter of their lives.
NEWS & NOTES:
There is still time to pre-register for a spot in one of Academy’s upcoming summer camps, but spots are filling up fast! Acad camps are a great way to improve your skills and get a jump on the upcoming high school season. To learn more as well as to register for a camp, please visit our camp page on our website.