Oakdale, NY – The 2017 USA Volleyball Junior National Championships are officially in the books as this past late June/early July, six Academy teams competed this years tournament. For the girls, the tournament was held in Minneapolis, MN where the 13, 16, and 17 Red teams competed. The boys national championships were in Columbus, OH where the 15, 16, and 17 Red teams competed.
Every team who competes at the Junior National Championships had to qualify to be there. That’s why this tournament is the most competitive of the club season. The teams at this tournament represent the best teams from around the country.
Girls 13 Red
First up is the girls 13 Red, who had a very strong season in qualifying for the national tournament. Playing in the National division the girls split their matches on the opening day of the tournament as they picked up a win over Club V and dropping a match to Aspire.
During the second day of the tournament, they dropped matches to Circle City, MDJRS and 915. However, they rebounded on the third day of the tournament with a three-set victory over NAVC (25-16, 17-25, 15-11). In their playoff bracket, the girls defeated Niagra Frontier in three sets (26-24, 17-25, 115-11) before falling in the finals to the NYC Juniors.
Boys 15 Red
The Academy Boys 15 Red went to Nationals with a roster of 7 boys, but displayed plenty of heart. Experimenting with a new format by USA Volleyball, the boys opening round pool was played with six teams and split out over the first two days of the tournament.
The boys went 1-3 against the four teams they played, picking up a win over Ku’ikahi (Hawaii). However after the opening round was completed, there was a three-way tie. The boys needed to play two tie-breaking sets before the field could be separated. In the tie-breakers, the boys defeated Phoenix 15 Red in convincing fashion, by a score of 25-13. The second tie-breaker game was against Ku’ikahi, which the boys won 25-23.
After the first two days of the tournament, the boys were still in contention for the Gold bracket, however they dropped three matches on the third day of the tournament to San Clemente, Hitmen, and OCVC. In their playoff bracket the boys fell to Rise in three sets. Overall the boys finished 23rd in the country. Finishing in the top 25 with only 7 boys is a great accomplishment!
Girls 16 Red
Also playing in a six-team pool (played over two days) was the Girls 16 Red. On the first day, they split their matches, going 1-1, picking up the win over Northside Out Chicago in straight sets (25-22, 25-21). During the second day of the opening round of pool play, the girls went 1-2 as they defeated RVC 16 National, while dropping matches to A5 South and Dynasty 16 Black.
During the second round of pool play, the girls dropped matches to Club One and AJ Storm, which set them up for one more match on the day (a challenge match to determine their playoff seeding). In this match, the girls defeated C1VB 16 Elite in straight sets (25-21, 25-15). In their playoff bracket, the girls faced the Celtic Force in the opening round, who they defeated in two straight sets (25-16, 25-14).
The girls advanced to the finals of their playoff bracket, where they fell to the Asics Willowbrook 16 Gold.
Boys 16 Red
The boys 16 Red team arrived at nationals coming off a tournament win at the Boys East Coast Championships in Richmond, VA. The boys had a rough first day at Nationals as they went 0-3, dropping matches to Seaside (California), SB Coast (California), and NV Elite (Puerto Rico).
The boys were resilient in coming back to go 2-1 on the second day of the tournament as they picked up wins over Bay to Bay (25-20, 25-18) and MAC (25-21, 25-19) and dropping a match to LBVC. During the third day of the tournament the boys defeated a team from Florida, 352 Elite, in three sets (25-18, 21-25, 15-9) while dropping their match against High Performance St. Louis.
Those matches set up the boys for their playoff bracket, where they defeated Vanguard in the first round (25-15, 25-19) before falling in the finals to Pulse Athletics. The boys capped off a very successful season by finishing in the top 25 teams in the country (23rd overall).
Girls 17 Red
The girls 17 Red team had a rough start to their tournament as they went 0-3 on the first day of the tournament, dropping matches to Club One, CVC, and Manoa Beach. After that start, the girls were able to re-focus and come back strong on the second day of the tournament as they went 2-1, picking up wins over Volley FX (25-17, 25-16) and M1 (25-19, 18-25, 15-10).
The girls won both of their matches on the third day of the tournament, picking up wins over Paramount (25-17, 25-25) and Brandywine Blackout (20-25, 25-16, 15-11). These victories set the girls up for their playoff bracket where they fell to the Top Select 17 Elite in two straight.
Boys 17 Red
The boys 17 Red team opened their tournament the same as many of the other Academy teams began their tournament – by going 0-3 on the first day, dropping matches to Torimar, Coastal, and Coast.
However, like many of the other Academy teams, the boys were also able to re-focus and come back strong on the second day as they picked up wins over LVC (20-25, 25-23, 25-12) and Yorktowne 17 Blue (15-25, 25-21, 16-14), dropping their only match of the day to LIVBC.
The third day of the tournament, the boys won both of their matches ], notching a win over the Milwaukee Sting in two straight sets (25-19, 25-17) and Eden Mizuno (25-19, 25-19). With those two wins, the boys qualified for the Bronze “A” bracket where they fell to the MB Surf Asics in the first round in three sets (26-24, 11-25, 16-14). The boys played strong throughout the tournament and finished 17th overall.
This completion of the Boys and Girls Junior National Championships officially ends the 2017 Club Volleyball season. For some of the players on the 17s teams, this was the final tournament of their club careers as they are graduating from high school and moving on to the next phase of their academic and athletic careers.
Academy Volleyball would like to wish all of those players good luck and much success in all you do. Please share your success stories with us and come back and visit.